Austrian National Library

Housed in a spectacular Baroque building within the Hofburg Palace, the National Library contains four museums and the largest collection of books in the country.

The Austrian National Library is home to four remarkable museums. Examine ancient scrolls in the Papyrus Museum, learn the universal language in the Esperanto Museum or see how the early merchants plotted their discoveries in the world’s only Globe Museum. If you read German you’ll have plenty of reading material, with the extensive collection of the State Hall containing millions of items. Music lovers can browse one of the world’s largest collections of sheet music. 

The Austrian National Library was built in 1722 in a wing of the Hofburg Palace. The grandiose Baroque structure also served as a winter residence for the ruling Hapsburg family. Over the years its collection has grown to be one of the largest in Europe. 

Stroll around the Globe Museum with hundreds of celestial, terrestrial, lunar and planetary globes. See mapping instruments, most from before 1850, and note how cartography has advanced over the years. Don’t miss the two Venetian globes, each with a diameter of over three feet (one meter). 

Browse ancient scripts in the Papyrus Museum, which is the largest collection of its kind in the world. Scrolls from as far back as the 15th century BC are on display here, as well as numerous silver and gold items and stone tablets engraved with inscriptions. 

Music lovers can browse the first printings of scores by some of classical music’s greats, while lovers of literature will enjoy a section of the library dedicated to rare books. If you have an interest in languages, the Esperanto Museum holds fascinating material relating to linguistic experiments.

The Austrian National Library, in the Hofburg Palace, is located in the city center and is open daily until the early evening. Adults 19 and older pay an admission fee to the State Hall or the three museums. You can purchase an alternative combination ticket for the State Hall, Globe Museum, Esperanto Museum and Papyrus Museum for a reduced combined fee. Tours of the various collections as well as the building itself are available at a small charge.

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