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National Library

National Library (12)

As was mentioned earlier, the huge structure of Berlin’s National Library is located in Unter den Linden. 

It is a classical style building, commissioned by Frederick William I in 1661. If coming for a visit, we recommend you take a look at its beautiful interior courtyard, which is possible from Monday to Saturday, from nine o’clock in the morning onwards. You will also find here a lovely cafe. 

In its archives there are almost ten million books, while some of its contents are also shared by the New National Library, in Potsdamer Strase. 

During the Second World War its documents were hidden in monasteries, castles and mines located all over Germany, as well as in other countries. And it was not until after the war that they were returned to the library. Many of the former contents are, in fact, still in Poland and areas of what was the Soviet Union. 

A very sad historical event happened in 1933, when various Nazi groups, together with members of the SS and Hitler Youth, carried out a massive book burning. This took place in Bebelplatz, and was ordered by Minister of Propaganda, Goebbels. On that day 20,000 books were destroyed, the majority of them taken from Humboldt University and the National Library. 

Despite this great loss, nowadays the library contains works of incalculable value, like the original score of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, medieval maps laid out by Nicolas von Kues, manuscripts of poems by Persian writer Hafiz and an atlas dating from 1664, the biggest in the world.

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