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    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

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    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.

    More information here.

    2. Mafra Palace Library

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    Flickr: muldermedia / Creative Commons

    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.

    More information here.

    3. TU Delft Library

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    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.

    More information here.

    4. Sainte-Geneviève Library

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    Flickr: jastrow / Creative Commons
    Flickr: jastrow / Creative Commons

    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.

    More information here.

    5. Malmö City Library

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    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.

    More information here.

    6. The Codrington Library

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    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.

    More information here.

    7. Wiblingen Abbey Library

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    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.

    More information here.

    8. Halmstad City Library

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    Location: Halmstad, Sweden.

    Standing near the beach of the river Nissan, the unique shape of the building was inspired from the trees that stand on the site.

    More information here.

    9. Strahov Monastery Library

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    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.

    More information here.

    10. Handelingenkamer

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    Flickr: suasso / Creative Commons

    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.

    More information here.

    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.

    More information here.

    12. National Library of the Czech Republic

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    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.

    More information here.

    13. Philological Library

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    Flickr: timtom / Creative Commons
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    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.

    More information here.

    14. The Escorial Library

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    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.

    More information here.

    15. Cottbus Library

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    Flickr: cgommel / Creative Commons

    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.

    More information here.

    16. Admont Abbey Library

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    Location: Admont, Austria.

    Known for its Baroque architecture, art, and manuscripts, Admont Abbey library is the largest monastery library in the world.

    More information here.

    17. Peckham Library

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    Flickr: martinrp / Creative Commons

    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.

    More information here.

    18. Melk Monastery

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    Location: Melk, Austria.

    The library of the Melk abbey consists of a total of twelve rooms, containing countless medieval manuscripts adorning stunning hand-crafted shelves.

    More information here.

    19. Vennesla Library and Culture House

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    Flickr: jechstra / Creative Commons

    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.

    More information here.

    20. Trinity College Library

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    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.

    More information here.

    21. National Library of Belarus

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    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.

    More information here.

    22. Utrecht University Library

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    Flickr: wojtekgurak / Creative Commons

    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.

    More information here.

    23. Library of Birmingham

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    Flickr: benelwell / Creative Commons

    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.

    More information here.

    24. University of Salamanca Library

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    Location: Salamanca, Spain.

    Situated on the campus of the University of Salamanca, the oldest founded university in Spain, the library holds around 906,000 volumes.

    More information here.

    25. The Sir Duncan Rice Library

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    Flickr: 23351536@N07 / Creative Commons

    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.

    More information here.

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