Duchess Anna Amalia Library

Weimar, Germany

The Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar houses a major collection of German literature and historical documents. The library contains 1,000,000 books, 2,000 medieval and early modern manuscripts, 600 ancestral registers, 10,000 maps etc. The research library today has approximately 850,000 volumes with collection emphasis on the German literature. Among its special collections is an important Shakespeare collection of approximately 10,000 volumes, as well as a 16th-century Bible connected to Martin Luther. The Duchess Anna Amalia Library is named for Anna Amalia, Duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, who arranged in 1766 for the courtly book collection to be moved into the library.

The main building is the Green Castle (Grünes Schloss), Anna's residence, which had been built between 1562 and 1565. The architect was Nikolaus Gromann. The dowager Duchess had the building converted into a library in 1761. The Duchess, seeking a tutor for her son Duke Carl August, hired Christoph Martin Wieland, an important poet and noted translator of William Shakespeare. Wieland's Shakespeare volumes formed the core of the collection. From an architectural standpoint, the library is world famous for its oval Rococo hall featuring a portrait of Grand Duke Carl August.

One of the library's most famous patrons was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who worked there from 1797 to 1832. The library also includes the world's largest Faust collection. The Duchess's significant 13,000-volume music collection is also available in the library.

In World War II, most of the collection was housed elsewhere to preserve it from Allied bombing. Today, the library is a public research library for literature and art history. The main focus is German literature from the Classical and the late Romantic eras.

The library is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site entitled 'Classic Weimar', which, as unique testimony to the cultural epoch of Weimar Classic, reflects the outstanding role of Weimar as an intellectual centre in the late 18th and early 19th century.

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Details

Founded: 1761
Category:
Historical period: Emerging States (Germany)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Denizhan Ziya Öztan (14 months ago)
Definitely a must-see in Weimar. Staff was very kind and the free audio guide was really useful.
Patrice Kerremans (2 years ago)
If you like books, art, history and knowledge this place will enchant you. Yes it is small, yes you can’t visit many rooms, yes the libraries in Dublin and Coimbra are more beautiful, yes €8 can seem a lot, still, it is a place of historical importance and if you allow that fact to sink in (Goethe and Schiller both stood there, where you will stand) you’ll be as touched as I was.
Kostas Veronis (2 years ago)
To wait in the sun 80 minutes and pay 8 € to see a beautiful but small library for a 15 minutes tour.. sorry but not worth.
Kostas V. (2 years ago)
To wait in the sun 80 minutes and pay 8 € to see a beautiful but small library for a 15 minutes tour.. sorry but not worth.
Philipp Klöckner (2 years ago)
Stunning historic library with gorgeous Rokoko hall. Offers an audio guide. Entrance is limited. Best trick is to show up 10min earlier than official opening hours. Totally worth it.
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