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Library, Information and Documentation Centre


The NiZA Library, Information and Documentation Centre (BIDOC) has an extensive collection on various issues in the southern African region.

The collection contains more than 5000 volumes, ca. 40.000 other publications (especially articles, reports, papers and other grey literature), and more then 200 subscriptions on periodicals from and/or about southern Africa. The collection is catalogued in an computerised database.
De library also contains an extensive audio-visual collection, like photo’s. slides and videos.

The collection concentrates on political, socio-economic, cultural and development issues of the region. The collection centres on South Africa, and, to a lesser extent, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

The special quality of the collection stems from the fact that it originated from the documentation departments of a number of anti-apartheid and solidarity movements which merged into NiZA:

  • Anti-Apartheid Movement Netherlands (AABN): 1961-1994 (including the former Comité Zuid-Afrika)
  • Institute for Southern Africa (IZA): 1994-1996
  • Holland Committee on Southern Africa (KZA): 1960-1996 (including the former Angola Committee)
  • Eduardo Mondlane Foundation (EMS): 1974-1996.

In addition, the collection contains also the archives of the Dutch support group for the ANC's Radio Freedom, the Omroep voor Radio Freedom.

Parts of the archives of other organisations and private individuals are also stored at NiZA-BIDOC. Among them, a part of the document collection of the (Holland) Shipping Research Bureau.

Interesting features of the collection are:
  • the historical documents, in particular from the period of the international sanctions against South Africa

  • documents of the liberation movements in southern Africa and international anti-apartheid movements

  • many publications from southern Africa itself, which include various reference books, , atlases, directories, statistics, government publications, maps, etc.

The collections of IZA, KZA and EMS are largely integrated. The complete collection of periodicals measures about. 100 metres, with many hundreds of titles from the 1960s on. A large number of the spare copies has been donated to libraries and documentation centres in southern Africa.
A list of current subscriptions can be downloaded.

Books are mainly obtained in the Netherlands and southern Africa, but are also acquired through donations from various institutes and private individuals.
Clippings of articles from Dutch newspapers are kept since the beginning of the 1960s. The extensive collection of photos and other audio-visual documents is partly catalogued and access to them is, therefore, limited.


NiZA-BIDOC disposes of two computerised databases. First, the izadoc-database, started in 1991 and closed at the end of 1998. This database contains over 36.000 records, with short abstracts of more then 30.000 catalogued documents. The database can be searched through categories-keyword combinations. A list of sources from the subjects which are most often required, is available.
1999 NiZA-BIDOC started using new library software – Adlib – with which now al documents are indexed. Material from before 1991 can be accessed through card index.
A test version (Feb 2007) of the catalogue is can be accessed here:
  • NiZA online catalogue.


    The library co-operates with other libraries and documentation centres in the Netherlands, Europe and southern Africa, like the library of the African Studies Centre in Leiden and the library of the South African Institute/Dutch South African Association in Amsterdam.