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Universitätsbibliothek

Whether you come to study, read or simply take a walk around an impressive building, the principal library of the University of Heidelberg is a fascinating place to visit. 

Browse millions of tomes, ancient manuscripts and historical exhibitions at the Universitätsbibliothek (University Library Heidelberg). With historical documents related to the Baden and Palatinate territories of German and regular exhibitions, the Universitätsbibliothek plays a significant role in the city’s cultural life.  

A university library has existed in the city since Elector Ruprecht I of the Palatinate established Heidelberg University in the 1300s. The collections were expanded over the centuries that followed with donations by aristocrats and rulers of the Palatinate region. A large part of the collection was lost during the Thirty Years War, when victorious Bavarian leader Maximilian I gifted it to the Vatican. Today the library stores over 3 million books in addition to paintings, periodicals, photographs and multimedia exhibits.

Visitors are welcome to peruse the library’s many bookcases and mingle with the university students in the reading rooms. Find academic material on topics such as art history, ethnology, languages, law and musicology. 

Also on display is a series of medieval song texts and prayer books that belonged to the 19th-century bookseller Nikolaus Trübner. You can also see Latin documents found at the Petershausen Abbey and Salem Abbey monasteries plus pamphlets from the 1400s. 

Be sure to take a moment to appreciate the library building from the outside. The university architecture professor Josef Durm designed it in 1901 under the auspices of Karl Zangemeister, who was the library’s first permanent librarian. It features a blend of Renaissance and Art Nouveau styles. Columns with decorative capitals, friezes and sculptures add decoration to the red sandstone facade. 

The Universitätsbibliothek is open daily, except for special holiday closures. It commands a central location in Heidelberg’s Old Town. The Kurpfälzisches Museum, Hexenturm medieval tower and Marktplatz are some nearby attractions. The city’s central train station is about a 30-minute walk from the library.


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Best Lodging Options Near Heidelberg University Library

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NinetyNine Heidelberg City $112
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