The library of the University of Ghent holds a valuable corpus of seventeenth century song manuscripts and alba amicorum from the Southern Low Countries. These manuscripts belonged mainly to young women of the bourgeoisie and/or the nobility. They collected their favourite songs and often had members from their circle of acquaintances completing the manuscripts. They appear to have had a strong preference for French profane songs from the air de cour repertoire. These songs were initially intended to be sung at the Parisian court. The airs de cour soon appeared in print, after which they were also picked up by the wealthy youth in the Southern Low Countries and were written down in their songbooks.