Netherlands University May Lose 17th-Century Books After Fire

May 17 (Bloomberg) — A fire that destroyed the architecture- faculty building at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands may lead to the loss of 40,000 books and illustrated works from as early as the 17th century.
As many as 300 people had to be evacuated on May 13 after the fire, the cause of which is unknown, started on the sixth floor of the building, the university, located in the central-western Dutch town of Delft, said on its Web site. There were no casualties.
The demolition of the 13-story facility will take place in such a way that the library, located in the adjacent low-rise building, can be entered to try to recover material, Karen Collet, a spokeswoman for Delft university, said today in an interview.
“The chance we’ll be able to empty the library isn’t very big, but we’re going to try,” Collet said. “The material may have water and smoke damage.”
The library’s collection includes old plans of Dutch towns and cities, topographical prints and architectural drawings, according to the Web site. Firemen managed to rescue the faculty’s collection of chairs, including work from Dutch architect Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, and a large part of the scale-models collection.

To contact the reporter on this story: Martijn van der Starre in Amsterdam at
Last Updated: May 17, 2008 12:12 EDT