Berlin State Library

The selectable maps and aerial photographs further below show data related to Berlin State Library. The Berlin State Library is a universal library in Berlin, Germany and a property of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. It is one the largest libraries in Europe, and one of the most important academic research library in the German-speaking world. It collects texts, media and cultural works from all fields in all languages, from all time periods and all countries of the world, which are of interest for academic and research purposes. Among the more famous items in its collection are the oldest biblical illustrations, in the 5th century Quedlinburg Itala fragment, a Gutenberg Bible, the main autograph collection of Goethe, the world's largest collection of Johann Sebastian Bach's and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's manuscripts, and the original score of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9.


The history of the Berlin State Library closely parallels that of German history. It has lived through creation, neglect, expansion, war damage, division, unification and re-creation like few other libraries.

Library of Kings

In the early period, the fortunes of the State Library rose and fell on royal whims. In 1658 Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg decreed that his private books be organized, cataloged and made available to the public. His library opened in 1661 at Cölln as the "Library of the Elector" . In 1699, Frederick I more than doubled the collection, extended opening hours and introduced the first Prussian legal deposit law. In 1701 it was renamed the "Royal Library" upon Frederick I's accession as first King of Prussia. Frederick William I then cancelled the acquisition budget in 1722 and gave away the valuable scientific collection to the Prussian Academy of Sciences in 1735. Frederick the Great also cared little for the library at first, preferring instead his own literature in the French language. However in 1770 he granted the library substantial assets and it made several important acquisitions. To avoid the problems caused by its dependence on the crown, Frederick the Great also granted the library considerable autonomy.

Rise to Preeminence

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Close places of interest

Kulturforum (0.08 km)

The Kulturforum is a collection of cultural buildings in Berlin, Germany. It was built up in the 1950s and 60s at the edge of West Berlin, after most of the once unified city's cultural assets had been lost behind the Berlin Wall. The Kulturforum is characterized by its innovative modernist architecture; several buildings are distinguished by the organic designs of Hans Scharoun, and the Neue Nationalgalerie was designed by Mies van der Rohe. Today, the Kulturforum lies immediately to the west of the redeveloped commercial node of Potsdamer Platz.

Neue Nationalgalerie (0.17 km)

The Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) at the Kulturforum is a museum for modern art in Berlin, with its main focus on the early 20th century. It is part of the National Gallery of the Berlin State Museums. The museum building and its sculpture gardens were designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and opened in 1968. Collection The collection features a number of unique highlights of modern 20th-century art. Particularly well represented are Cubism, Expressionism, the Bauhaus and Surrealism.

Social Science Research Center Berlin (0.3 km)

The Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), also known by its German initials WZB, is an internationally renowned research institute for the social sciences, the largest such institution in Europe not affiliated with a university. It was founded in 1969 through an all-party initiative of the German Bundestag.

Kupferstichkabinett Berlin (0.31 km)

The Kupferstichkabinett, or Museum of Prints and Drawings, is a prints museum in Berlin, Germany. It is part of the Berlin State Museums, and is located in the Kulturforum on Potsdamer Platz. It is the largest museum of graphic art in Germany, with more than 500,000 prints and around 110,000 individual works on paper (drawings, pastels, watercolours, oil sketches). History The Kupferstichkabinett was officially founded in 1831, with a collection of drawings and watercolours acquired by Frederick William I in 1652 at its core.

Kunstbibliothek Berlin (0.32 km)

The Berlin Art Library is an agency of the Berlin State Museums under the auspices of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. It has approximately 400,000 volumes and ranks among Germany's leading institutions specializing in the literature of Art History. The library is located on the Kulturforum in Berlin-Tiergarten, Germany and attracts 35,000 visitors annually. The Library also has a comprehensive photographic collection.

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