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The Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar houses a major collection of German literature and historical documents.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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Founded: 1761
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in Germany
Historical period: Emerging States (Germany)


4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

jl kw (14 months ago)
Thought this was very expensive for viewing what is effectively one room. You are not allowed on the upper levels. Info on the audio guides was scant. However, the new library over the road was free to visit and an inspiring building
Aleksei Minkov (2 years ago)
It took us 30 minutes to convince the cashier about the Museumssonntag. She was unaware that the library also participated on this day and argued with us. The two cashiers didn't speak English, making it even more complicated. Then they said that admission is only possible with excursions for which we still have to pay—worst Museumssonntag experience in whole Weimar. The website says, "Ticketreservierungen werden nicht benötigt," while the cashier said we had to make a booking since all tickets were fully booked for this day. Given all these negative reviews, visitors have pointed out this problem already multiple times for several years. At the same time, admisitration takes no action to manage this problem except answering these reviews and giving instructions on what visitors had to do. Bauhaus and Goewritinghaus museums employees make the experience way more continent.
Denizhan Ziya Öztan (3 years ago)
Definitely a must-see in Weimar. Staff was very kind and the free audio guide was really useful.
Patrice Kerremans (4 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.
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