Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar

Wednesday, 29 March 2017 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Opera Houses, Theaters, Libraries, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  5 minutes

© Rudolf Klein/cc-by-sa-3.0-de

© Rudolf Klein/cc-by-sa-3.0-de

The Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar houses a major collection of German literature and historical documents.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, and 4,000 musical scripts. 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. Today, the library is a public research library for literature and art history. 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.

The Duchess Anna Amalia Library is named for Anna Amalia, Duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, who arranged in 1766 for the courtly (hoefische) 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.

© Rudolf Klein/cc-by-sa-3.0-de Bücherkubus - Reading Room © ArtMechanic/cc-by-sa-3.0 Bücherkubus - Reading Room © Till F. Teenck/cc-by-sa-3.0 Rokokosaal © Concord/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Bücherkubus - Reading Room © Till F. Teenck/cc-by-sa-3.0
In 2001, construction began on a new multiple-floor facility to house some 1,000,000 books under the “Plaza of Democracy” (Platz der Demokratie) between the Music University and the Red and Yellow Castle. In its pre-renovation state, the building had structural flaws which endangered many valuable books and the special collections. The new development is estimated to have cost €24 million and has an area of 6,300 m². The area is divided into upper and lower floors. The new building would connect the historical library building with the user areas of the reconstructed Red and Yellow Castle. The grand opening of the new complex is slated for February 2005. Part of the collection was burned in a fire on 2 September 2004, which destroyed 50,000 volumes of which 12,500 are considered irreplaceable. Another 62,000 volumes were severely damaged. However, some 6,000 historical works were saved, including the 1534 Luther Bible and a collection of Alexander von Humboldt‘s papers, by being passed from hand to hand out of the building. Some 28,000 books in the building were rescued and so not affected by the fire. Other items, like Friedrich Schiller‘s death mask suffered damage, too, and 35 historic oil paintings were destroyed. The fire came as a particular tragedy, in part because the collection was scheduled to move to another site in late October, little more than a month later. Some of the damaged books are being freeze-dried in Leipzig to save them from rotting as a result of water damage. Book restoration was completed in 2015. The reopening of the library building was in October 2007.

In June 2005, it was announced that among the manuscripts that were out of the building at the time of the fire, and thus saved from damage, there was a hitherto undiscovered 1713 aria by Johann Sebastian Bach entitled “Alles mit Gott und nichts ohn’ ihn“. The library building was restored for $18.2 million and reopened at the end of October 2007 with some 60,000 volumes. This includes the undamaged books, the first restored books and the replacement volumes obtained on the international antique book market, from other libraries, or by donation. An online database lists the books the library is still seeking in order to replace volumes it lost.

Read more on klassik-stiftung.de – Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek, weimar.de – Duchess Anna Amalia Library and Wikipedia Duchess Anna Amalia Library (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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