Facts and Figures

Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation

  • is the largest scientific research library in the German speaking area,
  • was founded in 1661,
  • is jointly financed by the federal and state governments and belongs to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation,
  • collects scientifically relevant literature from all languages, all time periods and all countries of the world (focusing on humanities and social sciences),
  • has a large general collection of over 11 million books, which increases by about 100.000 items each year,
  • has extensive special collections of national and world cultural heritage (see “Collections”), including:

    • 66.700 music autographs (including 80% of all music autographs by J.S. Bach, the world’s largest Mozart collection, the scores of Beethoven’s famous symphonies No. 4, 5, 8 and 9 – the latter is part of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme),

    • 42.170 oriental manuscripts, including the largest Hebrew parchment Bible and the largest Torah scroll,

    • 18.500 western manuscripts, including three of the nine fully preserved manuscripts of the Nibelungenlied (The Song of the Nibelungs),

    • 321.000 autographs (e.g. Lessing, Goethe, Kleist),

    • more than 1.600 estates and personal papers (e.g. Herder, Eichendorff, Hauptmann, Bonhoeffer, Gründgens, Furtwängler),

    • the archive of the Mendelssohn family,

    • about 4.600 incunabula, including one of the first books printed with movable type, the Gutenberg Bible of 1454/55, a brilliantly illuminated, two volume parchment edition,

    • more than 200.000 rare prints (e.g. early Ming period prints; the oldest print in the world, Buddhist Spells from Japan 764/770),

    • an exquisite collection of historical book covers,

    • 1.1 million maps, atlases and globes, including the world’s largest bound atlas,

  • is constantly expanding its digital library with its digitised collections, electronic journals, extensive databases, hundreds of thousands of e-book licenses etc.,
  • is a centre of national and international literature supply, thanks to the worldwide acclaimed quality of its collections,
  • has representatives in numerous national and international expert committees and thus actively contributes to the development of libraries,
  • provides extensive national services, responsible for the national records of journals, autographs, estates and personal papers, incunabula, cartographic literature,
  • provides access to several reading rooms in its two large listed buildings (cultural heritage) in the centre of Berlin:

    • Haus Unter den Linden 8, 10117 Berlin,
    • Haus Potsdamer Straße 33, 10785 Berlin,

  • has an additional reading room for two special departments (Newspaper Department and Children’s and Young People’s Book Department) - temporarily located in Westhafen,
  • operates an off-site storage facility in Friedrichshagen,
  • is open from Monday to Saturday, 69 hours/week,
  • the library's services are available to any person over 16 years of age.

General Conditions of use

  • Reading rooms open from Monday to Saturday
  • Open 69 hours per week
  • Library cards are available for either a month or a year for persons who are at least 16 years old
  • Wide range of services (on site and electronically)
  • Services for non-resident users and for people with disabilities
  • Starting points for your research

A Library with two locations

Reading Rooms Haus Unter den Linden

  • 1 General Reading Room with 265 seats
  • 1 Special Reading Room for Rare Books and Music with 48 seats
  • 1 temporary Maps Reading Room with 10 seats
  • To view Incunabula please contact the Manuscript Department by phone prior to your visit

Reading Rooms Haus Potsdamer Straße

  • 1 General Reading Room with 675 seats
  • 4 Special Reading Rooms with 137 seats, of which: 24 in the Manuscripts Reading Room, 25 in the Maps Reading Room, 65 in the Eastern Europe Reading Room and 23 in the Oriental and East Asia Reading Room

Temporary Location Westhafen (for the duration of the general refurbishment of Haus Unter den Linden)

  • 1 Reading Room with 71 seats for the Children's and Young People's Book Department and the Newspaper Department