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A Treasure Trove of Knowledge: 650 Years of Austrian National Library

Published: September 24, 2018; 09:03 · (Vindobona)

The Austrian National Library is the largest library in Austria, with more than 12 million items in its various collections. The library, one of the country’s most venerable cultural and academic institutions, is currently celebrating its 650th anniversary. During the Austrian Empire, from 1867 in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, the library was one of the most comprehensive universal libraries in the world when it was named the Vienna Court Library until the end of the First World War.

Austrian National Library: The State Hall (German: Prunksaal) is the central structure of the old imperial library and part of the Hofburg palace / Picture: © Österreichische Nationalbibliothek / Hloch

Entitled »A Treasure Trove of Knowledge - 650 Years of Austrian National Library, the show presents the most fascinating objects from the collections in the context of the history of their acquisitions.

The jubilee exhibition at the Baroque State Hall is the focal point of interest.

The series » Exhibit of the Month is a special highlight: each month a particular evening is being dedicated to a different exhibit that will be presented and explained by experts – a unique opportunity to familiarise oneself with the library’s most fascinating holdings.

The Habsburg Archduke Albrecht III (1349/50-1395) commissioned the "Evangeliar des Johannes von Troppau", which was completed in 1368. Written entirely in gold, decorated with lavish imagery and enclosed in a magnificent binding, it is one of the most valuable objects held by today's Austrian National Library. tyle="font-size: 0.8em;">The Evangeliar, a manuscript that gathers together all four gospels of the New Testament, represents the beginning of the Habsburg book collections and thus the founding of the Court Library. It is just one of the highlights of the anniversary exhibition "Treasury of Knowledge".

Also on display are further magnificent manuscripts and valuable early prints, which are representative of European book and intellectual history; moreover, there are precious musical scores, maps, manuscripts, photos and graphics from all of the library's collections, which begin over 3,000 years ago in the Egypt of the Pharaohs.

About the Austrian National Library

The Austrian National Library is the publicly accessible, central scientific library of Austria. It is located in the Neue Burg at Heldenplatz, the historical collections and the administration are accessible from the neighbouring Josefsplatz. Further departments are located in other parts of the Hofburg and in the Palais Mollard-Clary in Herrengasse. The competent supervisory authority of the Austrian National Library is the Federal Chancellery.

As the National Library, it collects, among other things, the compulsory copies of all printed works published or produced in Austria. These include all dissertations approved by the Austrian universities. Since July 2000, the collection of deposit copies has been extended to electronic media. A project named ANNO scans historical newspapers and magazines and makes them available online.
During the Austrian Empire, from 1867 in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, the library was one of the most comprehensive universal libraries in the world when it was named the Vienna Court Library until the end of the First World War. Today, the collection focuses on the humanities.

As a federal museum, the Austrian National Library also has five special offerings: the State Hall, the Papyrus Museum, the Globe Museum, the Esperanto Museum and the Literature Museum of the Austrian National Library in the heritage-protected former Imperial and Royal Palace Archives (Hofkammerarchiv) at Johannesgasse 6 in the first district of Vienna.

You will find more details about the anniversary events via following link: https://www.onb.ac.at/en/about-us/650th-anniversary/

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