Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal

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Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal
Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal 9296.jpg
Headquarters of the Portuguese National Library in Lisbon

founding 1796
Duration 3.5 million media units
Library type National Library
place Lisbon coordinates: 38 ° 45 ′ 4 ″  N , 9 ° 9 ′ 9 ″  WWorld icon
management Maria Inês Cordeiro

The Portuguese National Library ( Portuguese Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal ) in Lisbon is the national library of the Republic of Portugal and the largest and most important library in the country.


On February 29, 1796, the Real Biblioteca Pública da Corte (German: Public Library of the Royal Court ) was founded by royal decree (under Queen Maria I ) , mainly from the holdings of the Biblioteca da Real Mesa Censória (German : Public Library of the Royal Court ) . e.g. library of the royal censorship authority ). She moved into rooms in the western row of the Praça do Comércio ( Torreão Ocidental da Praça do Comércio [Terreiro do Paço] ), and her holdings were open to the public from the beginning, without any group of people such B. To be limited to scientists. The Royal Library ( Biblioteca Real ) with over 70,000 titles was meanwhile still housed in the royal city palace Paço da Ribeira . After considerable losses in the earthquake of 1755 , it came to Rio de Janeiro with the flight of the royal family from the Napoleonic invasion troops in 1807 , where it formed the basis of the local Biblioteca do Brasil . When the royal court returned to Lisbon in 1821, it only brought back a small part, which has been housed as Biblioteca da Ajuda in the Palácio Nacional da Ajuda since 1880 and which today also belongs to the national library but is managed separately.

In 1805 a law on deposit copies had been passed for the first time , which now steadily expanded the holdings, in addition to the policy of purchasing private holdings that were regarded as significant. After the Miguelistenkrieg and the dissolution of all religious orders in 1834, the extensive monastery libraries fell to the state. The Real Biblioteca Pública da Corte now moved into the former Convento de São Francisco da Cidade (Convent of St. Francis of the city) in the Chiado district , which was largely destroyed in the earthquake of 1755 and whose extensive building complexes were only partially rebuilt . The name has now also been changed to Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal . After the proclamation of the Portuguese Republic in 1910, extensive holdings of disbanded religious organizations again fell to the national library.

In 1956 it was decided to move the library to the campus of the University of Lisbon due to the impending lack of space . According to plans by the architect Porfírio Pardal Monteiro , work on the new building began in 1958, and after the first partial relocations from 1965, the new national library was officially inaugurated in 1969.

In the 1980s the Biblioteca Nacional was computerized and the national data system PORBASE was introduced. Since the statutory introduction of the deposit copy for academic theses in 1986, these have also been archived here.

Since its introduction in 2000, the digital library has been expanded as planned and has been made available to the Europeana project since it was founded . The Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal was also a founding member of the European Library project in 2005 .

In 2012 the Biblioteca Pública de Évora became part of the national library.


Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal - logo.png

The National Library is affiliated to the Portuguese Ministry of Culture as an autonomous organization. It is divided into the Administration, Technology and Science departments and reports to its General Director, who is controlled by its Board of Directors.

Maria Inês Cordeiro is currently General Manager (as of December 2015).


Entrance to the Biblioteca Nacional

Biblioteca Nacional

The holdings of the National Library are divided into six areas:

  • Fundo Geral (general inventory): in addition to the approx. 50,000 periodicals , this is the main inventory with over 3 million monographs , predominantly the acquired and accumulated inventory, chronologically from the 16th century to the present day, all deposit copies since 1931, and all academic deposit copies since 1986
  • Reservados ( reserved holdings , rare books and manuscripts): approx. 51,000 manuscripts since the 12th century (approx. 15,000 codices and approx. 36,000 individual manuscripts ), approx. 30,000 early printed works (divided into up to 1500 and from 1501 ), a historical archive with 466 document collections, and the legacies of 148 authors (including Fernando Pessoa , Eça de Queiroz , Camilo Castelo Branco and José Saramago )
  • Cartografia (maps): over 6,800 cartographic works published since the 16th century
  • Iconografia ( iconographies ): over 117,000 pictorial representations of all kinds on paper (prints, drawings, posters, images of saints, postcards)
  • Música : over 50,000 pieces (scores, libretti, specialist music books, photographs, etc.)
  • Leitura para Deficientes Visuais (German: works for the visually impaired ): over 7,000 titles in Braille and 1,575 audio documents

Biblioteca da Ajuda

The Palácio Nacional da Ajuda

The Biblioteca da Ajuda is also part of the national library . Housed in the Palácio Nacional da Ajuda since 1880 , it goes back to the Royal Library, the Biblioteca Real, from the 15th century. The earthquake of 1755 destroyed a considerable part of the 70,000 volumes that were stored in today's Praça do Comércio . Another 60,000 volumes of the holdings that had been rebuilt by 1807 remained there after the royal family who had fled to Rio de Janeiro returned. The library in Ajuda , which is managed as a separate collection, now comprises around 150,000 copies, including:

  • Manuscripts: 2,512 codices and approx. 33,000 other manuscripts from the 13th to 20th centuries, including 43 illustrated codices, a collection of chronicles from the 15th to 18th centuries, and the 226 codices of the Symmicty Lusitanica and 61 codices, which are important for Asian studies of the Jesuits in Asia
  • Music manuscripts: 2,950 codices and 10,200 other manuscripts of operas and chamber music from the 18th and 19th centuries
  • Printed works: in addition to the 16,000 monographs and 11,000 periodicals (with 1,700 different titles) also 60,000 old books from the 16th to 18th centuries, with a few unique pieces
  • each around 2,500 maps, illustrations and photographs from the 19th and early 20th centuries

Biblioteca Pública de Évora

The Biblioteca Pública de Évora in the Casa Forte in Évora

The clergyman Frei Manuel do Cenáculo decided in 1805 to found a public library in Évora . He left his extensive collection of around 50,000 books to her and published her statutes on September 21, 1811. With the confiscation of the assets of all ecclesiastical orders in Portugal after the Liberal Revolution in 1822 , the holdings of the episcopal monastery collection were added, and finally the Biblioteca Manizola of the 2nd Visconde da Esperança was incorporated.

In particular, the librarian Cunha Rivara was then responsible for the systematic inventory of the manuscripts, while Augusto Filipe Simões enabled the library to expand and remodel the building. In 1931 the Biblioteca Pública de Évora received the right to deposit copies.

In March 2012 it became part of the National Library. At the headquarters of the Biblioteca Pública de Évora in the Casa Forte , around 60,000 volumes can be viewed today.


The Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal

In addition to the online search in the catalog of the National Library, the Biblioteca Digital can also access the digitized holdings. Both are also available from the European Library . The National Library is making its digital holdings available as a Portuguese contribution to the Europeana project.

The following catalogs are also available from the Biblioteca Nacional: Fundação Biblioteca Nacional (Brasil), Bibliothèque nationale de France, British Library, German National Library, Biblioteca Nacional de España, The Library of Congress (USA), ICCU - Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico (Itália), CERL - Consortium of European Research Libraries, EROMM - European Register of Microform Masters, and OCLC WorldCat.


  • Fátima Libório (Ed.): Guia da Biblioteca Nacional. Instituto da Biblioteca Nacional e do Livro, Lisboa 1996, English: Guide to the National Library. National Library and Book Institute, Lisbon 1996 ( online ).
  • Claudia Voos: 200 years of the national library in Portugal. In: Bibliotheksdienst 30 (1996), Issue 10, pp. 1641-1645 ( online ).

Web links

Commons : Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Roughly rounded total of all specified holdings of the individual BNP collections ( Coleções ) on their website (see corresponding article paragraphs ), as of 2015
  2. Welcome page on the website of the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal , accessed on December 1, 2015
  3. ^ History of the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal on its website , accessed on December 1, 2015
  4. ^ History of the Biblioteca Pública de Évora on its website , accessed on December 1, 2015
  5. ^ BNP website on Fundo geral (English and Port.), Accessed on December 1, 2015
  6. website of the BNP to the Reservados (Engl. And port.), Accessed on December 1, 2015
  7. BNP website on the map collection (English and Portuguese), accessed on December 1, 2015
  8. ^ Website of the BNP for their iconography collection (English and Portuguese), accessed on December 1, 2015
  9. Website of the BNP for their music collection , accessed on December 1, 2015
  10. ^ Website of the BNP on its collection of works for the visually impaired (English and Portuguese), accessed on December 1, 2015
  11. BNP website for Biblioteca da Ajda (English and Port.), Accessed on December 1, 2015
  12. ^ History of the Biblioteca Pública de Évora on its website (under História und Conheça os Serviços - Serviço dos Reservados ), accessed on December 1, 2015