Danish Royal Library

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Danish Royal Library (old building)

The Danish Royal Library (also: Royal Library of Copenhagen ; Danish : Det Kongelige Bibliotek ) in Copenhagen is the national library of Denmark , the largest and most important library in Scandinavia and one of the largest libraries in the world . The historical treasures include almost all works that have been published in Denmark since the 17th century. The reading room west is the research reading room .


The new extension " Black Diamond " with the old library building Holm in the background

The library was opened in 1648 by King Frederik III. founded and equipped with a comprehensive collection of European works. The library moved into its first own building in 1673, today's Reichsarchiv. It was opened to the public as early as 1793 under the librarian Daniel Gotthilf Moldenhawer . The library building on Slotsholmen, which is still in use today, was built by the architect Hans J. Holm until 1906; it imitates elements of the Northern Italian Middle Ages and the early Renaissance with Venetian elements. The building is architecturally related to the Palatine Chapel of Charlemagne in Aachen Cathedral . In the years 1966–1968 and 1979–1980 extensions were built on the Slotsholmen.

In 1989 the Danish Royal Library merged with the University Library of Copenhagen. As a result, there are now three locations: one for law and social sciences in Fiolstræde (opened as the university library in 1861), one for humanities on Amager (since 1997, on the university campus) and the non-specialized main building on Slotsholmen, with the actual collections of the national library.

In 1999 another building was opened at the main location on Slotsholmen, which is also known as the “Black Diamond” (Danish: den sorte diamant ) because of its facade made of a black stone from Zimbabwe . In addition to some of the library holdings, it also houses a concert hall.


The library's holdings include the important monastery libraries of the Bordesholm and Cismar monasteries, as well as the library of Gottorf Castle .

Big book theft

Between 1968 and 1978 the library suffered one of the biggest book thefts in history, which went undetected until 1975.

Over 3,200 historical works with a total value of almost 40 million euros were stolen, including manuscripts by Martin Luther and originals by Immanuel Kant , Thomas More and John Milton . Between 1998 and 2002 books to the value of one and a half million euros were sold at various auctions. The case was resolved in September 2003 after a book appeared at Christie's auction house in London. The thief, Frede Møller-Kristensen, was an employee of the library's Orient department. He died in February 2003. His family became careless and sold more books. A search of the family's home in November 2003 found 1,500 of the stolen books. In June 2004, his wife, son, and step-daughter were sentenced to between 18 months and 3 years in prison. In the summer of 2004, the auction houses involved, Swann Galleries in New York and Christie's in London, passed the names of the buyers on to the Danish police. These are often second-hand bookshops that had in the meantime resold the books.

Web links

Commons : The Royal Library, Denmark  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Commons : The Black Diamond, Copenhagen  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 55 ° 40 ′ 26 "  N , 12 ° 34 ′ 56"  E