Ever since its beginnings in 1683, Brill has been based in Leiden, home of the oldest university of the Netherlands. Founded during the golden age of Dutch history and culture, Brill has had a rich publishing history, including the publication of Bayle’s influential Dictionnaire Historique et Critique, the inception of one of the first scholarly journals in Chinese studies T’oung Pao, the publication of the Nag Hammadi codices for UNESCO and a wealth of major reference works in our areas of specialization. The international nature of our publishing program is perhaps best exemplified by the Encyclopaedia of Islam, a work now into its 3rd edition and still founded on the principles of international scholarly collaboration and review.


Whilst the company's original activities included running a composing room, print works and bookshop, nowadays only a flourishing publishing house remains. However, Brill has always been an important international publisher. In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century authors, editors and correctors from the four corners of the world came to work for the company in Leiden. In the last fifty years, strong working contacts have been established with the world's most important centers of academic research.


Brill’s core activities lie in specialized market niches in the humanities and international law and, to a restricted extent, in the sciences. The company supplies a wide range of high quality, professionally relevant literature to libraries and individual academics. Providing service to authors and readers and to all those in the intermediate chain who are of importance is the core competence of Brill.