Marvelous Libraries of Europe

A book! That magnificent thing contains not only large amounts of information about this or that phenomenon, but also it is the source of many people’s wisdom from different ages. Collecting books on various topics and opening of libraries where these books may be kept were extremely honorable things in last centuries.

We live in the era of technologies, and it is almost impossible to imagine our everyday life without computers, Internet and smart phones, which allow getting and sharing information at a rapid pace. So the idea of a library as an out-of-date thing may appear.

But is it true? We offer to learn more and go on a tour from the oldest and traditional libraries to the most modern and extraordinary ones. Look at 5 magnificent and monumental libraries built many years ago and 5 contemporary book repositories and conclude on your own.

Sainte-Geneviève Library, France

It is also known as the French National Library and contains about 2 million volumes. In addition to such a significant number of books you should pay attention to the fascinating design of the building.


It was created by Henri Labrouste who is considered to be one of the greatest architects of 19th century. Iron frame constructions show the great importance of the place, and in general they are the typical feature of Labrouste’s style.

Trinity College Old Library, Ireland

This 400 years-old library impresses everyone who comes in, and allows enjoying not only an impressive amount of rare books, but also the general atmosphere of Dublin. The oldest piece of the collection is the Book of Kells. The building of the library is 100% worth seeing.

The Escorial Library, Spain

A wonderful example of Spanish Renaissance architecture, this building is the part of Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, book shelves of that library house the collection of personal documents of Philip II. The stunning interior of the Escorial Library is the result of a hard work of the best Spanish and Italian masters of the 16th  and 17th  centuries.

Admont Abbey Library, Austria

With 70 000 restored books that library is found as the largest monastery library in the world. Baroque design with amazing sculptures and elegant ceiling frescoes inspires artists of young and middle generations who are regularly invited to the monastery to create new piece of arts within the framework of the Artists-in-Residence program.

Wiblingen Abbey Library, Germany

It may sound a little bit strange, but the main reason why you should visit the library is to visit is the main hall that is famous for its original airy Rococo design. Staying there you understand that is the perfect place for “treasures of wisdom and science”.

Halmstad City Library, Sweden

Situated on the bank of the river Nissan, the library has an unique shape, and counts near 260 000 media in 50 languages. The architects say that the idea of the design for the building was inspired by the trees standing around.

The Black Diamond, Denmark

Frankly speaking, it is a semiofficial nickname for the new waterfront part of the Royal Danish Library’s building; it was given due to its irregular shape with angles and polished black granite facing. Besides the library the National Museum of Photography and a small museum of cartoon art are located in the Black Diamond.


The Philological Library, Germany

It belongs to the campus of the Free University of Berlin and was designed by Foster and Partners in the shape of a human brain, since the opening of the Philological Library in 2005 and till now about 750 000 volumes on different linguistic studies have been collected there.

National Library of Belarus, Belarus

The Rhombicuboctahedron shaped, or just the diamond shaped, building was opened by the Belarus President in 2006. In addition to the 9 million volumes on various media and the largest collection of Belarusian printed materials, the “diamond of knowledge” is a center of the most prestigious political, cultural, and educational events in the country.

When the sun goes down, everybody can enjoy a fascinating light show on the display of the library.

Vennesla Library and Culture House, Norway

That project is something more than the library and supports the idea of a welcoming public place. The building in general has three main sections: a community house, a learning centre and the library which links the former two elements and consists of 27 prefabricated glue-laminated timber ribs.