Novelist Dan Brown, known for his runaway bestseller The Da Vinci Code (2003), has donated ??300,000 ($338,000) to the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, aka The Ritman Library, in Amsterdam. The money will be used to digitize the library's core collection of about 4,600 early printed books (pre-1900) and about 300 older manuscripts. Once they are digitized, the collections will be freely available online on the library's website. The Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds also contributed ??15,000 to the project.
The Ritman Library was founded by Dutch businessman and book collector Joost Ritman in 1984. The library specializes in hermeticism, as well as the related fields of Rosicrucianism, alchemy, gnosis, esotericism, and Kabbalah and is widely considered one of the finest collections of its type in existence.
Brown visited the Ritman Library several times while conducting researching his novels The Lost Symbol and Inferno. Brown "considers it a great honor to play a role in this important preservation initiative that will make these texts available to the public."
The author announced his involvement in a YouTube video (in which he appears from behind a revolving door in his personal library):