LivingTravelThe most beautiful libraries in Germany

The most beautiful libraries in Germany

The reverence of Germans for the written world is well documented. German authors have received the Nobel Prize for Literature thirteen times, making Germany one of the top 5 prize holders in the world. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, poet, writer and playwright, was one of the first public intellectuals in the country and remains one of the best known authors today. The Brothers Grimm are architects of children’s imaginations, more than 150 years after their death.

So it comes as no surprise that Germany has some of the most impressive libraries in the world. From the baroque to the ultramodern, these libraries are a world-class site and attractions in their own right. Take a tour of the most beautiful and unique libraries in Germany.

Benedictine Abbey Metten Library

Metten Abbey has many names: St. Michael’s Abbey in Metten, Benediktinerabtei Metten , Abtei Metten and Kloster Metten . Founded in 766 in Bavaria, it is located in the dream area between the Bavarian Forest and the Danube. Although its location is firmly on the ground, it appears that its library fell straight out of the sky.

Opened in 1726, the interior houses an elegant ballroom from 1734, a refectory (dining room) with modern stained glass windows, a ceiling fresco from 1755, and the legendary Baroque library. The monastery underwent a number of changes before being secularized in 1803, and then became a monastery again in 1830.

Visitors enter below the allegorical figures of wisdom and religion looming from the ceiling. Its elaborate stucco decoration and huge bookshelves contain 35,000 volumes. Of particular importance is the Mettener Antiphonar of 1437 with the lyrics and melodies of all the songs in the breviary.

There is also a modern library available for the everyday reader. Visitors can browse this incredible library during a guided tour of the siblings. Please note that photography is verboten (prohibited).

Stuttgart City Library

Once located in Wilhelmspalais , a royal palace, in the center of Stuttgart, it is hard to believe that any change can be an improvement. But the move of this library in 2011 to an ultra-modern building has proven popular with both locals and library fans alike.

The construction budget amounted to almost 80 million euros and it shows in its austere design. It was selected from an architectural competition with South Korean Eun Young Yi emerging as the winner. The impressive look of the library has become popular with images rotating around the world and winning the library of the year 2013.

Formally known as Stadtbibliothek am Mailänder Platz , it is a massive cathedral for the written word. The exterior features a double embossed glass block façade with slats that can slide to avoid glare and a solar powered glass roof. For visitors, the double façade means there is a wraparound balcony with stunning views of the city, as well as a rooftop terrace.

The constructed area is 20,200 m² and houses a total of 500,000 media units. The library is formatted as a cuboid with an empty center section called “Heart.” There are several underground floors and five floors that rise 40 meters. Special features include a sound studio, music section with LP, notation software and software to scan sheet music plus musical instruments, children’s floor, insomniac library (24 hour cubicle system), art lending library and an online animation library. At the top, Café LesBar , a charity, offers refreshments for the body once the mind is sated.

Waldsassen Abbey Library

Stiftungsbibliothek Waldsassen , housed in a Cistercian abbey, is one of the most important art libraries in Bavaria. Its construction began in 1433 and it has continued to transform while retaining its old world charm with nearly 100,000 visitors each year.

Four large frescoes depict scenes from the life of the Cistercian saint, Bernard of Clairvaux, with the library vault covered in an intricate stucco design. Along with the masterful frescoes, there are massive wood carvings, such as the ten life-size figures that support the heavy ceiling of the hall. The figures symbolize the different facets of pride, such as stupidity, hypocrisy, and ignorance. In contrast to these negative characteristics, intelligence pillars like Plato, Nero, and Socrates elevate the room.

Benedictine Abbey Maria Laach Library

Founded in what was Belgium in 1093, this monastery library in Maria Laach is one of the best preserved and most beautiful libraries of the 19th century.

That said, it underwent a traumatic transformation when Maria Laach Abbey was abolished in 1802. The library was dismantled along with the existing stock of books, around 3,700 volumes. In 1892, the Benedictine monks resettled the monastery and restocked the library.

Around 69 manuscripts from this library can be found elsewhere in Germany and beyond, with only two manuscripts returned to their original home. Today, the library has 260,000 volumes in the new reading room with approximately 9,000 printed before 1800. The oldest section is in the Jesuit Library with rare books kept in a renovated, climate-controlled stable. It is now one of the largest private libraries in Germany.

The library also became embroiled in a controversy surrounding the Nazi regime as rumors that the monks actively and voluntarily collaborated with the Nazis. This was performed at Heinrich Böll’s Billiards at half past nine.

The library is closed for general opening hours, but is open with prior registration. If you just want to access your resources, two-thirds of your holdings are available online.

Continue to 5 of 6 below.

Book forest in Kollwitzstrasse

In typical Berlin style, its most beautiful library is free, charming, and community-oriented.

Located on a corner near the trendy Kollwitzplatz in Prenzlauer Berg, many people pass by without realizing that this “tree” is different from the others. The Bücherwald (forest of books) is actually multiple bolted records, with random book shelves available to the public. It is the first green and publicly accessible shelf in the city, although it was made by a similar project in Bonn.

Launched in June 2008, this unique free lending library was created by BAUFACHFRAU Berlin eV, an educational institution for women working in the construction industry. The trees were collected from Grünewald , a lush forest in the west, in a way that adheres to sustainable forest management.

The library can store up to 100 volumes, mainly in German and English, from serious literature to children’s books. While some books enjoy a long stay in their urban forest home, others have crossed the oceans and only stopped for a moment. All books can be traced through the book crossing site, following their fascinating journeys not only within their pages, but also in the history of the book itself. To participate in this community project, simply pick up a book or leave one behind.

Upper Lusatian Library of Sciences in Görlitz

Oberlausitzische Bibliothek der Wissenschaften includes 140,000 volumes and is a public scientific library located near Dresden in the historic city of Görlitz.

It was founded by historian and linguist Karl Gottlob Anton and landowner Adolph Traugott von Gersdorf to support Enlightenment ideas. It contains materials ranging from legal texts to natural science and historical literature. Originally, only members of his society could access the collection. But today the collection is open to the public and tourists who simply want to enjoy a beautiful library.

Housed in a Baroque building, the collection includes 14,000 years of regional history. For example, it contains historical maps, archives of the Upper Lusatian Science Society, an archaeological collection of ancient ceramics, as well as the life work of the poet and composer Leopold Schefer.

While the materials cover modern texts of ancient works, almost all the materials have been digitized and are available online for your research and use, free of charge.

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