The fact that Germany is one of the most interesting countries when it comes to literature should not surprise you.
After all, this Central European country has produced renowned poets such as Friedrich Schiller and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, among others. And these were only the most famous of the numerous great lyricists that Germany has produced.
Furthermore, the literature of the Germans goes back many centuries. This means that different literary eras have also developed over time in Germany. Artists like Goethe were even active in two different eras of German literature.
Accordingly, Germany is naturally extremely proud of its literary culture. That’s why you’ll find numerous libraries there, which stand out quite a bit from the broad mass of libraries.
There are libraries that are located in ancient buildings, but also those that look as if they came straight from the future. In this article, you will learn which are the best libraries to visit in Germany.
1. Duchess Anna Amalia Library
This library was founded in 1691 by Duke Wilhelm Ernst. However, it got its current name in 1991, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Anna Amalia. She was the biggest patron of this library, which you can find today.
Since it is part of the ensemble “Classical Weimar“, it has also been granted a UNESCO World Heritage Site status since 1998. It is especially well-known for its oval rococo hall, which extends over three floors.
The books you will find in the Duchess Anna Amalia Library mainly deal with the history of German literature in the epochs from the Enlightenment to the late Romantic period.
2. Library Bad Schussenried
This library is located in the northern new building of the monastery in Bad Schussenried. It is located on two different floors in a late baroque hall.
One could even say that the library is probably the most impressive part of the entire monastery. Especially fascinating is the huge fresco on the ceiling. This was completed in 1757 by Franz Georg Herrmann.
However, some books you will find here are only dummies. This has more to do with the fact that on the one hand the overall picture of the library is not disturbed and on the other hand original books are not damaged.
3. Foster Library, the philological Library of Freie Universität Berlin
The Foster Library was opened in 2005 and is named after the architect Norman Foster, who had a great influence on the construction of this impressive building.
You will also notice that the library looks a bit like a head. For this reason, it has also been nicknamed “The Brain“.
It is a scientific library of the FU Berlin. Most of the books deal with linguistics and literature. Most of them are also freely accessible, only for some rare copies you need to get permission beforehand.
4. Library of St. Peter and Paul’s Church in Göttingen
The Göttingen State and University Library is one of the largest and most important science libraries in Germany.
What is special about it is that many of the books were not acquired for their show value, but for their content. Certainly, the most valuable treasure you will find in this library is the Gutenberg Bible.
However, you are not allowed to flip through the pages of this UNESCO World Document Heritage designated work. Fortunately, however, the library has taken the trouble to digitize the entire book.
5. Library of Cottbus
Probably one of the best literary destinations to visit in Germany is the Cottbus University Library. What’s particularly striking is that the facade has both no corners and no edges.
The interior, with its bright colors adorning the walls and staircases, even looks as if it came straight from another world.
In addition, the facade of the Cottbus City Library is made entirely of glass. You probably won’t be surprised that this is why this library won the Library of the Year Award in 2006 and the German Architecture Award in 2007, among others.
6. Library of Maria Laach Abbey in Glees
One of the most beautiful libraries you can visit in Germany is the Maria Laach monastery library. It is not only inviting thanks to the warm colors, but also endless due to the curved balustrades.
In total, you’ll find over 260,000 works here, making the monastery library one of the largest private libraries in the country.
It was on the verge of being abandoned several times until it was taken over by the Benedictines in 1892. The focus is mainly on church history literature, but you can only read it if you register in advance.
7. Library of the monastery in Waldsassen
The Abbey Library of Waldsassen Monastery will delight you especially because of the life-size figures you can see on the sides. However, these were added about 300 years after the library was built. They symbolize the different forms of arrogance, such as stupidity, ignorance and hypocrisy.
In addition, you will find in the library some busts of famous philosophers of antiquity, for example Socrates and Plato. Also breathtaking are the four huge frescoes that you can admire on the ceiling of the hall.
8. Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart
Since 2011, the Stuttgart City Library has been located in a specially constructed building on Mailänder Platz. The exterior may look rather unspectacular at first glance because of the gray concrete, but the interior of the building is guaranteed to impress you.
The interiors are completely white. The only color deviation you’ll find here are the books themselves. This stylistic concept runs through the entire library, which is spread over five floors.
When you visit at night, the facade of the city library doesn’t look so boring. It lights up in different colors.
9. Upper Lusatian Library of Sciences in Görlitz
The Upper Lusatian Library of Sciences is located near the Polish border in the Saxon city of Görlitz. The early classicist library hall was founded in 1806.
Indeed, this library appears rather plain. Nevertheless, it manages to exude an inviting atmosphere and hence, it’s one of the best libraries in Germany.
This is probably due to the fact that you will find over 140,000 books here, which document the history and culture between Dresden and Wrocław.
10. Library of Mühlhausen in the Church of St. James
You are probably wondering what makes the library of Mulhouse so unique. Well, that can be explained quite simply. It is located in the Gothic Jakobikirche, one of the most famous sights of the former Thuringian Hanseatic city.
The combination of old and modern elements is also particularly impressive. For this reason, visiting this fantastic library often feels like you’re just traveling through time.
Besides the books, you’ll also find some archaeological excavations on the first floor with remains of a church from the late 13th century.
As you can see, Germany does indeed have many interesting libraries. Some of them, like the Maria Laach library, stand out for their age.
On the other hand, there are also libraries whose buildings are a real feast for the eyes, both inside and out. The latter category includes, for example, the Stuttgart State Library and the Cottbus Library.
But they all have one thing in common: magnificence. So if you’re looking for the best literary destinations to visit in Germany, these should be right at the top of the list.
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