Germany National Library: A Comprehensive Guide to the Country’s Literary Treasure Trove

If you’re a bookworm, history enthusiast, or simply love to explore a country’s culture, Germany National Library is a must-visit destination. Established in 1912, the German National Library (DNB) is the largest library in the country, boasting an impressive collection of over 32 million books, manuscripts, and other media. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into what makes the DNB so special, its history, and what you can expect to see when you visit.

The History of the German National Library

The origins of the DNB date back to the early 20th century when several national and regional libraries in Germany merged to create a central library. The library was initially named Deutsche Bücherei Leipzig and was located in Leipzig. However, after the Second World War, the library was relocated to Frankfurt and renamed Deutsche Bibliothek. In 2006, it was renamed once again to the German National Library.

The Collections

The German National Library’s collection is vast and varied, ranging from books, manuscripts, maps, and newspapers to electronic media, music, and images. The library is also home to the German Exile Archive 1933-1945, which contains over 2 million documents related to German-speaking exiles and their work during the Nazi regime.

One of the library’s most valuable treasures is the Gutenberg Bible, one of the earliest printed books in the world. Printed in the 15th century, the library holds three of the 48 known copies of the Gutenberg Bible, making it one of the world’s largest collections.

The Buildings

The DNB has three main buildings: the Leipzig location, the Frankfurt location, and the Berlin location. The Leipzig building is home to the German Exile Archive, while the Frankfurt location houses the music department, the German Museum of Books and Writing, and the Deutsches Musikarchiv. The Berlin location, opened in 1913, was heavily damaged during the Second World War and underwent extensive renovation in the early 2000s. Today, it is home to the library’s administrative offices and several research departments.

Visiting the DNB

Visiting the DNB is a unique experience that provides visitors with a glimpse into Germany’s rich cultural and literary history. The library’s collections are open to the public, and visitors can explore them in a variety of ways. The library’s online catalog allows visitors to browse and search the collections remotely. However, for those who prefer to visit the library in person, there are several options.

The library’s reading rooms are open to the public and offer an immersive experience for visitors. The reading rooms are equipped with comfortable seating, ample desk space, and plenty of natural light. Additionally, the library offers guided tours of its buildings, giving visitors an opportunity to learn more about the history and significance of the collections.


  • How do I access the DNB’s collections?

The DNB’s collections are accessible to the public, and visitors can browse and search the library’s catalog online or in person.

  • Can I bring my own books into the reading rooms?

Visitors are not allowed to bring their own books into the reading rooms. However, the library provides a vast collection of materials for visitors to use.

  • How long can I stay in the reading rooms?

Visitors can stay in the reading rooms as long as they like, although there are limits on the number of items that can be requested at one time.

  • Is the library accessible to people with disabilities?

Yes, the library is fully accessible to people with disabilities. The buildings are equipped with elevators, wheelchair ramps, and other facilities to accommodate visitors with different needs.

  • Can I take pictures in the library?

Visitors are generally not allowed to take pictures in the library, especially of the library’s collections. However, there are exceptions for certain exhibitions and events, so it’s best to check with the library staff first.


The German National Library is a fascinating destination for anyone interested in literature, history, and culture. With its vast collections, historic buildings, and modern facilities, it offers a unique experience for visitors of all ages and backgrounds. Whether you’re a researcher, a student, or simply a curious traveler, the DNB is well worth a visit.


  • “About us.” German National Library,
  • “Collections.” German National Library,
  • “Visiting us.” German National Library,

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