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Treasury of Knowledge. 650 Years of Austrian National Library

650 years of cultural and library history

2018 sees the 650th anniversary of the Austrian National Library. It was in 1368 that the Johannes of Troppau Evangeliary with its gold lettering and rich illuminations was completed, today regarded as the Library’s foundation stone.

This magnificent manuscript once owned by the Habsburg Duke Albrecht III is the starting point for a journey through 650 years of cultural and library history, a story that hardly any other library is in a position to tell. It takes the visitor from the origins of the imperial collections and the Imperial Court Library to its establishment as the First Republic’s National Library, through the dark years of the Second World War and the question of the restitution of stolen items in the collections, and is thus also a tour through Austria’s political history. And, thanks to, among other things, Archduke Rainer’s Papyrus Collection, which was incorporated into the Library at the end of the 19th century, it is also a stroll through media history, beginning over 3,000 years ago in the Egypt of the Pharaohs and ending with a vision of the digital future of knowledge.

For one year, the State Hall will display the treasures of the Library, illuminated manuscripts and valuable early prints, precious music manuscripts and maps, as well as photos and art work.

Exhibit of the Month

Gospel book by Johannes von Troppau

until 13 January 2019 at the State Hall

In 1368, Johannes von Troppau, the canon of Brno, completed an elaborately decorated book for the Habsburg Duke Albrecht III. It is entirely written in gold letters and adorned with miniatures and fully illuminated pages.

Gutenberg Bibel, Mozart's Requiem and much more

This anniversary exhibition will be accompanied by a wide range of events – readings, concerts, film screenings, an academic symposium and an open-house day, an opportunity to see those areas of the Library that are otherwise not accessible. A special highlight will be the » Exhibit of the Month: For one month at a time, treasures will be on display that for conservation reasons are only rarely exposed to the light of day. These include Mozart’s “Requiem”, the famous Gutenberg Bible, the typescript of Ingeborg Bachmann’s poem “Böhmen liegt am Meer” with its handwritten corrections – and the Johannes of Troppau Evangeliary.

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Capacity library area at Heldenplatz

Due to the minimum distance required by the authorities, currently not all seats are available in the reading rooms. The capacity indicator serves as an orientation for your visit


302 seats (reading rooms, lounge or research zone) are still available.

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