Duchess Anna Amalia Library

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Duchess Anna Amalia Library
Weimar Platz der Demokratie 1 Duchess Anna Amalia Library 22.jpg
The central rococo hall

founding 1691
Duration See footnote
place Weimar coordinates: 50 ° 58 ′ 43 ″  N , 11 ° 19 ′ 56 ″  EWorld icon
operator Classic Foundation Weimar
management Reinhard Laube
Website www.klassik-stiftung.de/haab

The Duchess Anna Amalia Library ( legally incorrect spelling : Duchess Anna Amalia Library), HAAB for short , was founded in Weimar in 1691 as the "Ducal Library" by Duke Wilhelm Ernst . On the occasion of the three-hundredth anniversary in 1991 she was named Duchess Anna Amalia , who was her greatest patron. Its oval rococo hall, which extends over three floors, is famous . The Duchess Anna Amalia Library is a research library for literary and cultural history with a special focus on German literature from the Enlightenment to late Romanticism . Since 1998 it has belonged to the UNESCO World Heritage as part of the “ Classic Weimar ” ensemble .


The Ducal Library was founded in 1691 when Duke Wilhelm Ernst made his 1,400 books available to the public. In the thirty years that followed, their number rose to 11,000. In 1711, the geographer and polymath Johann Gottfried Gregorii alias MELISSANTES recommended this bibliophile treasure of the city of Weimar as a special sight in his regional and travel guide The now flourishing Thuringia . Until 1766 the library was housed in the residential palace. Then the move to the Green Castle , which was used as a residential building for Duke Johann Wilhelm after his marriagewas built with the Countess Palatine Dorothea Susanna between 1562 and 1569 by the court architect Nikolaus Gromann . The name Green Castle probably goes back to the copper covering of the roof. In 1706, Duke Wilhelm Ernst appointed the Wittenberg university professor Konrad Samuel Schurzfleisch as the first director of the Princely Library.

Anna Amalia, Duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (painting by Johann Ernst Heinsius , 1769)

The library was named in 1991 after Anna Amalia (1739–1807), the Duchess of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach. During her reign, the ducal book collection moved to the Green Palace in 1766 . At the age of majority in 1775, Anna Amalia's son Carl August took over the government. As the new sovereign, he further expanded the princely library.

Carl August, Duke of Saxe-Weimar and Eisenach (painting by Georg Melchior Kraus , 1796/1797)

In 1797, Duke Carl August commissioned Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and his colleagues in the secret consilium Christian Gottlob Voigt (1743–1819) with the supervision of the library. Goethe directed it as a librarian for 35 years until his death in 1832 . He took them to one of the most important libraries in Germany at the time. It helped shape the Weimar Classicism and is still one of the most important archives of this era. During Goethe's term of office, the book inventory doubled to 80,000 volumes. Under the direction of Clemens Wenzeslaus Coudray , the adjacent tower was converted into a library tower between 1821 and 1825 and raised by one floor. In 1849, on Goethe's 100th birthday, which was celebrated in the library, the building was given its present-day dimensions through an extension in the north, carried out by Coudray.

The library in 1991

Since 1998, the Duchess Anna Amalia Library has been part of the “ Classic Weimar ” ensemble on the UNESCO World Heritage List . UNESCO justified its inclusion in the World Heritage List with the "great art-historical importance of public and private buildings and park landscapes from the heyday of classical Weimar" and with the "outstanding role of Weimar as a center of the mind in the late 18th and early 19th centuries". The World Heritage includes a total of eleven memorials in Weimar, "whose value is derived from the combination of historical events, the structural shell and authentic furnishings".

In 2003 the Fördergesellschaft Anna Amalia Bibliothek (GAAB) was founded in Weimar. On October 1st Reinhard Laube became the new director of the Duchess Anna Amalia Library. He succeeds Michael Knoche , who had been in office since 1991 and retired on September 30, 2016 at a ceremony marking the library's 325th anniversary.

Expansion of the library from 2002

Construction of the underground storage facility of the Duchess Anna Amalia Library, June 2002

In May 2002, work began on building a library center for Weimar with two underground stacks for 1.4 million books. The project, which cost 23 million euros, was completed in February 2005. At the beginning of August 2004 the books were moved. Meanwhile, on September 2, 2004, the library caught fire.

Fire on September 2, 2004

Fire in the Duchess Anna Amalia Library on September 2, 2004
Fire damage to the Duchess Anna Amalia Library
Book damaged by fire
Reconstruction of the ceiling painting Genius des Fame by Johann-Heinrich Meyer , which was destroyed by the fire in 2004 , after Annibale Carracci
Exterior view after the renovation, 2008

On the evening of September 2, 2004, a fire broke out in the roof of the main building, which the fire brigade on the second floor of the rococo hall was able to stop. According to the final report of the Federal Criminal Police Office, the cause of the fire could not be clearly clarified. According to the Erfurt public prosecutor's office , the source of the fire was probably a smoldering fire triggered by a defective electrical cable.

During the fire, around 28,000 books were saved from the building, including the Luther Bible from 1534 . 50,000 volumes and 35 paintings from the 16th to 18th centuries were completely lost, around 62,000 volumes were partially badly damaged by fire and extinguishing water. Two fifths of the prints up to 1850 are affected. The material damage to the book inventory was estimated at 67 million euros. Still night of the fire, the first water-damaged books were to freeze-drying in the Center for Book Preservation in Leipzig brought even salvaged from the fire debris, some heavily charred in the following days and humid codices . The books were restored by 2015, sorted by damage class.

The rebuilding of the library was supported by numerous private and public donors from all over the world, such as the government of the Principality of Liechtenstein , which provided the sum of 20,000 euros in October 2004. The restoration of the building was completed in the summer of 2007. On October 24th of the same year, the 268th birthday of the eponymous Duchess Anna Amalia and the day of the libraries , the house was reopened by Federal President Horst Köhler . The costs for the renovation of the building amounted to 12.8 million euros. An exhibition entitled “ The moment takes what years give ” was dedicated to this reconstruction.

Loss of books and manuscripts

In the fire of the Duchess Anna Amalia Library, a large part of the historical building structure and works of fine arts, and above all, culturally unique book collections were destroyed.

The ducal music collection and other music from the historical holdings - both manuscripts and rare prints - are badly affected. Among the losses is a part book by Orlando di Lasso from 1588. A manuscript from 1788 by Pasquale Anfossi (1727–1797) La Maga Circa Farsetta a Cinque Voci (in un Atto Solo Musica) is also lost . The German translation in the text came partly from Goethe. Examples of pieces of music that were salvaged with severe fire damage are a handwritten score with arias and choruses for Lila , a fairy play in four acts by Siegmund Frh. Seckendorff for a text by Goethe from 1777 and a manuscript of the Grand Sonata for piano four hands in A flat major op. 92 by Johann Nepomuk Hummel . The inventory contained a total of 95 works by Hummel; 15 of them and a small fragment have been preserved intact, 14 more can be restored. The library has at least microfilms of 52 copies.

In addition, other valuable printed works from the 16th and 17th centuries, in particular a large part of the library of Konrad Samuel Schurzfleisch (1641–1708) and his brother Heinrich Leonhard Schurzfleisch (1664–1722), were affected by the fire. Numerous printed works of the Fruchtbringenden Gesellschaft , the first German language academy founded in Weimar in 1617 , were destroyed . These include Georg Philipp Harsdörffer's Specimen philologiae Germanicae (Nuremberg 1646) or his translation of the Klugen Hofmann by Eustache de Refuge (Hamburg 1667). The famous New Sprouting Teutsche Palm Tree from 1668, on the other hand, was not burned. Parts of the estate of Wilhelm Fröhner (1834–1925), an important archaeologist and collector, also fell victim to the flames, including several anthologies from various sub-disciplines of classical studies. The estate of the nationalist author Adolf Bartels (1862–1945), which comprises several thousand books, has also been largely destroyed. On the other hand, the biblical collection, which was also kept in the rococo hall, and many other precious volumes from the lower floors were saved. The fact that they were loaned out as exhibits or that they were kept in separate collections owe their intact preservation to some of the treasures of the above-mentioned groups, such as the Mozart manuscript Concerto in B.

Since the summer of 2016, the exhibition “Restoring after the fire” has been on permanent display on the ground floor of the historical library building. With over 60 books, fragments, models and videos, the technical possibilities of preserving books from the 15th to 20th centuries are demonstrated. The objects show the status and progress of the restoration work and explain the relationships between the restoration decisions and the project organization of the research library, the restoration-scientific environment and the economic conditions.

The book cube

The study center
The book cube

After the move to the new magazine, the open access areas of the new study center were opened to library users on February 5, 2005. The center is the so-called book cube. In the open access areas in and around the book cube, more than 100,000 media are freely accessible and systematically organized.
In 2006, the extension of the Duchess Anna Amalia Library realized by the Weimar architects Hilde Barz-Malfatti and Karl-Heinz Schmitz was awarded the Thuringian State Prize for Architecture and Town Planning .


The research library has a stock of around 1 million volumes. The Duchess Anna Amalia Library preserves texts from the 9th to the 21st century as evidence of cultural history and sources of research, makes them accessible according to formal and content aspects and makes them available for use. The focus is on the collections on cultural and literary history around 1800. The treasures include around 2,600 medieval and early modern book manuscripts (including a Carolingian gospel book from the 9th century), 8,600 maps, 29 globes and 427 incunabula . Noteworthy are the extensive collections of pamphlets from the Reformation period, of family books and Bibles - including the first complete edition of Luther's translation of the Bible from 1534, which was saved during the fire - as well as the world's largest collection of Faust on the historical person Faust and on artistic designs of Faust material. The libraries of the von Arnim , Liszts , Nietzsches families , the Weimar book collector Haar and the German Shakespeare Society are also closed . Goethe's private library in his house on Frauenplan is also managed by the Duchess Anna Amalia Library .

Goethe bust by Pierre Jean David d'Angers in the library

Supervisors and librarians (selection)


Senior Librarians (selection)

See also


  • Hermann Blumenthal (ed.): From the history of the state library in Weimar and its collections. Festschrift to celebrate their 250th anniversary and the 175th anniversary of their entry into the Green Palace. Jena 1941.
  • Michael Knoche (Ed.): Duchess Anna Amalia Library. Cultural history of a collection. Munich 1999, ISBN 3-446-19724-9 .
  • ... so that posterity will never be silent about you: the Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar after the fire. Edited by the Weimar Classics and Art Collections Foundation and the Thuringian State Newspaper in cooperation with the Anna Amalia Bibliothek e. V., Weimar 2004, ISBN 3-7443-0127-3 .
  • Konrad Kratzsch: Treasures of the Duchess Anna Amalia Library Weimar. 3rd, through Edition. Leipzig 2004, ISBN 3-361-00412-8 .
  • Michael Knoche: The Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar. The study center. Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-89479-347-3 .
  • Michael Knoche: The library is on fire: a report from Weimar. 2nd Edition. Göttingen 2006, ISBN 3-8353-0088-1 .
  • Walther Grunwald, Michael Knoche, Hellmut Seemann (eds.): The Duchess Anna Amalia Library. After the fire in a new shine. With photographs by Manfred Hamm. Commissioned by the Klassik Stiftung Weimar / Duchess Anna Amalia Library. Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-87527-114-0 .
  • Claudia Kleinbub, Katja Lorenz, Johannes Mangei (eds.): The moment takes what years come. The reconstruction of the Duchess Anna Amalia Library's book collection. Commissioned by the Klassik Stiftung Weimar / Duchess Anna Amalia Library. Göttingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-525-20851-9 .
  • Gerd Birthig (ed.): Repair practice at the Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar. Fraunhofer-IRB-Verlag, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-8167-7998-8 .
  • Jochen Flade: General renovation of the Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar after the fire disaster in 2004. Presentation of the wood restoration measures in the rococo hall. In: Contributions to the preservation of art and cultural property. (VDR Association of Restorers), issue 1/2009.
  • Diana Kußauer, Wolfgang Bruhm, Tobias Just: The restoration of the historical interior of the Rococo hall of the Duchess Anna Amalia Library. In: VDR contributions to the preservation of art and cultural assets. (VDR Association of Restorers), issue 2/2009.
  • Michael Knoche, Jürgen Weber: New ways of book restoration after the Weimar library fire. In: KGS Forum. 16, 2010, pp. 14-24. (KGS - cultural property protection / Federal Office for Civil Protection, Bern). With a summary in French, Italian and English (also available online).
  • Michael Knoche: The library is on fire. A report from Weimar. Wallstein-Verlag, Göttingen 2013, ISBN 978-3-8353-1385-9 .
  • Jürgen Weber, Ulrike Hähner (Ed.): Restoring after the fire. The rescue of the Duchess Anna Amalia Library. Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2014, ISBN 978-3-7319-0063-4 .
  • Michael Knoche: On the way to the research library: Studies from the Duchess Anna Amalia Library. (= Journal for Libraries and Bibliography. Special Volume 120). Frankfurt am Main 2016, ISBN 978-3-465-04278-5 .

Web links

Commons : Duchess Anna Amalia Library  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Holdings of the HAAB, Klassik Stiftung Weimar , accessed on October 22, 2012.
  2. www.klassik-stiftung.de . (accessed on March 9, 2020).
  3. Quoted from the Classic Foundation's web link.
  4. MELISSANTES: Thuringia, which is now flourishing. Erfurt 1711, pp. 69/70.
  5. For the history of the library from 1691–1758 cf. Jürgen Weber: Contours. The Ducal Library 1691–1758. In: Michael Knoche (Ed.): Duchess Anna Amalia Library - cultural history of a collection. Vienna 1999, pp. 39-61.
  6. On the library of the Duchess Anna Amalia, cf. Bärbel Raschke: The library of the Duchess Anna Amalia. In: Michael Knoche (Ed.): Duchess Anna Amalia Library - cultural history of a collection. Vienna 1999, pp. 83-86.
  7. For the history of the library from 1758–1832 cf. Ulrike Steierwald: Center of the Weimar Musenhof. The Ducal Library 1758–1832. In: Michael Knoche (Ed.): Duchess Anna Amalia Library - cultural history of a collection. Vienna 1999, pp. 62-107.
  8. German UNESCO Commission e. V.
  9. ^ Society Anna Amalia Library eV In: www.klassik-stiftung.de. Retrieved July 5, 2016 .
  10. Laube becomes director of HAAB | Classic Foundation blog. In: blog.klassik-stiftung.de. Retrieved July 5, 2016 .
  11. On the cause of the fire, cf. Michael Knoche: On the way to the research library. Frankfurt am Main 2016, p. 111.
  12. For the damage balance cf. Michael Knoche: The library is on fire. Göttingen 2006, pp. 84-86; Michael Knoche: Jean Paul was at the source of the fire: An interim report on the damage balance and the future of the Duchess Anna Amalia Library. In: Michael Knoche: On the way to the research library. Frankfurt am Main 2016, pp. 105–109.
  13. Michael Knoche: Immediate organizational measures after the fire in the Duchess Anna Amalia Library. In: Michael Knoche: On the way to the research library. Frankfurt am Main 2016, pp. 111–122.
  14. ^ Liechtenstein Day in the Free State of Thuringia. ( Memento from December 27, 2013 in the web archive archive.today )
  15. Michael Knoche: The reopening of the Duchess Anna Amalia Library . In: On the way to the research library . Frankfurt am Main 2016, p. 141-144 .
  16. anna-amalia-bibliothek.de
  17. Architecture of the study center. Retrieved February 2, 2017 .
  18. ^ Duchess Anna Amalia Library. Retrieved February 2, 2017 .
  19. Michael Knoche (Ed.): Duchess Anna Amalia Library. Cultural history of a collection . Munich 1999, page [231] .
  20. ^ New director for Anna Amalia Library. In: 3sat Kulturzeit Kultur-Nachrichten. June 21, 2016. Retrieved June 22, 2016.