Brill Academic Publishers, also known as E. J. Brill, Koninklijke Brill, Brill, is a Dutch international academic publisher of books and journals.

Brill Publishers
Parent companyDe Gruyter Brill
Founded1683; 341 years ago (1683)
FounderJordaan Luchtmans
Country of originNetherlands
Headquarters locationLeiden
DistributionTurpin Distribution[1]
Publication typesBooks, academic journals
ImprintsGlobal Oriental, Hotei Publishing, Brill Nijhoff, Brill Hes & De Graaf, Brill Rodopi, Brill Wageningen Academic

Brill was founded in 1683 in Leiden, Netherlands. With offices in Leiden, Boston, Paderborn and Singapore, Brill today publishes 600 journals and around 2000 new books[2] and reference works each year, "all Brill Open Access articles are subject to external, single or double-blind peer review."[3] In addition, Brill provides primary source materials online and on microform for researchers in the humanities and social sciences.[4]

Main office building of Brill, Leiden

Areas of publication


Brill publishes in the following subject areas:

  • Humanities:
  • African Studies
  • American Studies
  • Ancient Near East and Egypt Studies
  • Archaeology, Art & Architecture
  • Asian Studies (Hotei Publishing and Global Oriental imprints)
  • Classical Studies
  • Education
  • Jewish Studies
  • Literature and Cultural Studies (under the Brill-Rodopi imprint)
  • Media Studies
  • Middle East and Islamic Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Religious Studies
  • Slavic and Eurasian Studies
  • Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
  • International Law
  • International Relations
  • Sciences:
  • Biology
  • Social Sciences
  • Anthropology
  • Cartography
  • History
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
  • Ecclesiology
  • Biblical Studies and Early Christianity
  • Theology and World Christianity



Luchtmans, 1683–1848


The roots of Brill go back to 17 May 1683, when the Leiden booksellers' guild registered Jordaan Luchtmans as a bookseller.[5] As was customary at the time, Luchtmans combined his bookselling business with publishing, primarily in the fields of biblical studies, theology, Asian languages, and ethnography. Luchtmans established close ties with the University of Leiden, which was then a major center of study in these areas.

E. J. Brill, 1848–1896

E. J. Brill (Collection Deutsches Buch- und Schriftmuseum)

In 1848, the business passed from the Luchtmans family to former employee E. J. (Evert Jan) Brill. In order to cover the financial obligations that he inherited, E. J. Brill liquidated the entire Luchtmans book stock in a series of auctions that took place between 1848 and 1850.[6] Brill continued to publish in the traditional core areas of the company, with occasional excursions into other fields. Thus, in 1882, the firm brought out a two-volume Leerboek der Stoomwerktuigkunde ("Handbook of Steam Engineering"). More programmatically, however, in 1855 Het Gebed des Heeren in veertien talen ("The Lord's Prayer in Fourteen Languages") was meant to publicize Brill's ability to typeset non-Latin alphabets, including Hebrew, Aramaic, Samaritan, Sanskrit, Coptic, Syriac, and Arabic, among others.[7]

Brill goes public, 1896–1945; World War II


In 1896, Brill became a public limited company, when E. J. Brill's successors, A. P. M. van Oordt and Frans de Stoppelaar, both businessmen with some academic background and interest, died. A series of directors followed, until Theunis Folkers took over the reins in 1934.[8] At the time, the annual turnover was 132,000 guilders.[9] His directorship marked a period of unprecedented growth in the history of the company, due to a large extent to Folkers' cooperation with the German occupying forces during World War II. For the Germans, Brill printed foreign-language textbooks so that they could manage the territories they occupied, but also military manuals, such as "a manual which trained German officers to distinguish the insignias of the Russian army".[8] By 1943, the company's turnover had reached 579,000 guilders.[9]

Brill's recent history, 1945–present


After the war, the Dutch denazification committee determined the presence of "enemy money" in Brill's accounts. Folkers was arrested in September 1946, and deprived of the right to hold a managerial post.[10] The company itself, however, escaped the aftermath of the war relatively unscathed; after some negotiation its fines were fixed at 57,000 guilders.[11]

Brill's path in the post-war years was again marked by ups and downs, though the company remained faithful in its commitment to scholarly publishing. The late 1980s saw an acute crisis due to over-expansion, poor management, as well as general changes in the publishing industry. Thus, in 1988–91 under new management the company underwent a major restructuring, in the course of which it closed some of its foreign offices, including Cologne. Its London branch was already closed by then. Brill, moreover, sold its printing business, which amounted "to amputat[ing] its own limb".[12] This was considered painful, but necessary to save the company as a whole. No jobs were lost in the process. The reorganization saved the company, which has since expanded. As of 2008, Brill was publishing around 600 books and 100 journals each year, with a turnover of 26 million euros.[13]

On 12 October 2023, Brill and the German publisher De Gruyter jointly announced the intent to merge the two firms.[14]





Martinus Nijhoff Publishers was founded in 1853 by Martinus Nijhoff [nl], grandfather of the Dutch poet of the same name and a seller of rare books.[15] In the 1970s and 80s it became well known as an independent international law publisher. It was acquired by Wolters Kluwer in 1970[16][17] and subsequently by Brill Publishers in 2003.[18] The name was changed to Brill–Nijhoff in 2013,[18] and it is now an imprint of Brill Publishers. Nijhoff's portfolio focuses on areas in public international law, human rights, on humanitarian law and increasingly on international relations. Its annual publication program consists of over 20 academic journals, 20 annuals, and some 120 new book titles. Its back-list comprises over 2,000 titles.



Rodopi, founded in 1966 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, was an academic publishing company with offices in the Netherlands and the United States. It takes its name from a mountain range in Bulgaria which forms the border with northern Greece.

Rodopi publishes over 150 titles per year in around 70 peer-reviewed book series and journals. Rodopi publications are available in print and electronic formats. Although the main language of publication is English, the multilingual list includes German, French, and Spanish. The backlist contains around 4000 titles.

On 1 January 2014, Rodopi was taken over by Brill.[19]

Wageningen Academic


In April 2022 Brill acquired full ownership of Wageningen Academic Publishers.[20]

Open access


Brill publishes several open access journals[21] and is one of thirteen publishers to participate in the Knowledge Unlatched pilot, a global library consortium approach to funding open access books.[22]

In 2013, Brill created the IFLA/Brill Open Access Award for initiatives in the area of open access monograph publishing together with the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.[23]

Brill is a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association.[citation needed]

Brill Typeface


Brill has developed a commercial font, free for personal use, that supports most of the Latin, Greek and Cyrillic character ranges, including IPA and historical forms. It has better diacritic rendering than most pre-packaged computer fonts, though not complete IPA coverage.[24]

See also



  1. ^ Ordering from Brill
  2. ^ "About". Brill. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  3. ^ "Open Access for Articles". Brill. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  4. ^ "Additional Products".
  5. ^ van der Veen, Sytze (2008). Brill, 325 Years of Scholarly Publishing. Leiden: Brill. p. 11. ISBN 978-90-04-17032-2.
  6. ^ van der Veen 2008, p. 45.
  7. ^ van der Veen 2008, p. 51.
  8. ^ a b van der Veen 2008, p. 108.
  9. ^ a b van der Veen 2008, pp. 103 and 109.
  10. ^ van der Veen 2008, p. 111.
  11. ^ van der Veen 2008, p. 115.
  12. ^ van der Veen 2008, p. 144.
  13. ^ van der Veen 2008, p. 153.
  14. ^ "Brill Merges With De Gruyter, Creating World's Largest Humanities Publisher". National Information Standards Organization. October 2023.
  15. ^ "Nijhoff (Martinus)". Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek. Vol. 2. pp. 1010–1011. Archived from the original on 9 January 2014.
  16. ^ Andriesse, Cornelis (30 November 2008). Dutch Messengers: A History of Science Publishing, 1930-1980. Library of the Written Word. Brill. p. 230. ISBN 978-90-474-2415-4.
  17. ^ Annebeth Rosenboom (1997). "Martinus Nijhoff Publishers as Disseminator of UN Information". In Peter I. Hajnal (ed.). International Information: Documents, Publications, and Electronic Information of International Governmental Organizations. Libraries Unlimited. pp. 335–337. ISBN 978-1-56308-147-7.
  18. ^ a b Brill Publishers (November 2013). "Change of Martinus Nijhoff Imprint". Archived from the original on 10 November 2013.
  19. ^ "Imprints and Trademarks". Brill. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  20. ^ S&P Capital IQ (18 April 2022). "Koninklijke Brill NV acquired Wageningen Academic Publishers B.V. from Enrico Kunst and Mike Jacobs". MarketScreener. Retrieved 9 November 2023.
  21. ^ "Open Access with Brill".
  22. ^ "KU Select For Publishers".
  23. ^ "Brill and IFLA announce new OA prize". Research Information. Cambridge, UK: Europa Science Ltd. 15 January 2013. ISSN 1744-8026.
  24. ^ Brill Typeface

Further reading

  • Ophuijsen, J.M. van. (1994). E. J. Brill, three centuries of scholarly publishing, since 1683. Leiden: Brill Publishers.
  • Verde, Tom (May 2015). "Brill's Bridge to Arabic". Aramco World. Vol. 66, no. 3. Houston: Aramco Services Company. pp. 30–39. ISSN 2376-1075. Archived from the original on 29 July 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2023.