25 Incredible European Libraries To Visit Before You Die
“The world is a book, and those who don't travel only read one page.”
1. Stuttgart City Library
Location: Stuttgart, Germany.
Characterised by its cube shape and clinical white interior, this great crystalline building stands a whopping 9-storeys high over the German city of Stuttgart.
2. Mafra Palace Library
Location: Mafra, Portugal.
Situated inside the Mafra National Palace, the library is open to scholars, researchers, historians and members of the public by appointment. Unsurprisingly, many rare works furnish its shelves.
3. TU Delft Library
Location: Delft, Netherlands.
At the heart of Delft University lies its library, whose unique cone shaped structure forms the focal point of the campus. The roof of the library is covered with grass, allowing visitors to graze above the library's book filled central space.
4. Sainte-Geneviève Library
Location: Paris, France.
This magisterial library contains around 2 million documents and was a reading place of Marcel Duchamp and James Joyce. The building's iconic architecture served as the inspiration for the deign of the Boston Public Library.
5. Malmö City Library
Location: Malmö, Sweden.
Located in the heart of the multicultural Malmö, this library is filled with books in some 60 different languages and attracts almost 1 million visitors each year.
6. The Codrington Library
Location: Oxford, UK.
With its modern collection comprising of some 185,000 items, about a third of which being produced before 1800, the prestigious Codrington Library attracts scholars from around the world.
7. Wiblingen Abbey Library
Location: Wiblingen, Germany.
The majestic hall of Wiblingen Abbey's library still holds some original manuscripts, despite most of the books having been transferred to other libraries. Besides, the main reason this library to visit is to marvel at the main hall, which remains in its original form.
8. Halmstad City Library
9. Strahov Monastery Library
Location: Strahov, Czech Republic.
Completed in 1679, Strahov Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries still in existence in the world. During its long history many important personalities have visited, amongst which are admiral lord Horatio Nelson and Napoleon´s wife Marie Louise.
Location: The Hague, Netherlands.
Handelingenkamer is the name given to the Dutch Parliament's library. It's unique design with its open cast-iron staircases and balustrades are designed to allow daylight to filter down the four storeys and illuminate the more than 100,000 volumes that line the shelves.
11. The Black Diamond
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark.
The Black Diamond is the quasi-official nickname to the modern waterfront extension of the Royal Danish Library's old building and is a reference to its polished black granite cladding and irregular angles. Two museums are based in the Black Diamond, the National Museum of Photography and a small museum dedicated to cartoon art.
12. National Library of the Czech Republic
Location: Prague, Czech Republic.
The library's main building is located in the historical Clementinum building in Prague and is the biggest library in the Czech Republic, being home to around 6 million documents.
13. Philological Library
Location: Berlin, Germany.
An architectural landmark in Berlin, the Philological library stands on the campus of the Free University of Berlin. Construction of the library began in 2001 and was the building was eventually completed in 2005.
14. The Escorial Library
Location: Madrid, Spain.
The stunning Escorial Library has a great hall fifty-four meters in length, nine meters wide and ten meters tall with marble floors and carved wooden shelves, which house a collection of personal documents that Philip II donated to the building.
15. Cottbus Library
Location: Brandenburg, Germany.
The imposing glass structure of the library building stands opposite the main entrance to the campus of The Brandenburg University of Technology. Not to be outdone by its exterior, the interior is decorated in a wild mix of colours and contains a large spiral staircase that's impossible to ignore.
16. Admont Abbey Library
17. Peckham Library
Location: London, UK.
The Peckham library was designed with the goal of reaching out to the community, encouraging access to knowledge and embracing the diversity of the local population.
18. Melk Monastery
19. Vennesla Library and Culture House
Location: Vennesla, Norway.
The interior of this Norwegian public library is dominated by 27 prefabricated glue-laminated timber ribs that help link together the old learning centre and the newly built cultural centre.
20. Trinity College Library
Location: Dublin, Ireland.
Trinity College Library is the library of Trinity College and the University of Dublin and is the largest library in Ireland. The library is noted for its 65-metre-long hall, which houses 200,000 of the Library's oldest books.
21. National Library of Belarus
Location: Minsk, Belarus.
Not only does the Rhombicuboctahedron shaped National Library of Belarus house the largest collection of Belarusian printed materials, but it's also home to the third largest collection of books in Russian. It's unique shape and stunning light display has led to the library becoming a city attraction.
22. Utrecht University Library
Location: Utrecht, Netherlands.
Behind the library’s imposing black concrete surface are more than 4.2 million books – the library complex contains six buildings to store this massive collection.
23. Library of Birmingham
Location: Birmingham, UK.
The library, which is estimated to have cost £188.8 million, is currently the largest public library in the United Kingdom and the largest regional library in Europe, attracting an incredible two million visitors each year.
24. University of Salamanca Library
25. The Sir Duncan Rice Library
Location: Aberdeen, UK.
Situated on the campus of the University of Aberdeen, this stunning library is open to the wider public, as well as students and staff. The building was officially opened on the 24th September 2012 and its design was conceived to mark the ice and light of the north.