Libraries of Europe

March 3, 2016

Scattered all across Europe are libraries and book stores that celebrate the literary creations, fairytales, adventures and manuscripts of many famous authors. From world famous libraries to tiny town stores, who knows what you might find in a dusty corner, a glass covered display or the row upon row of shelves that make up the libraries of Europe.


The Library of the Dutch Parliament was founded in 1798 in The Hague, but was originally names the National Library of the Netherlands. It wasn’t until 1806 that King Louis Bonaparte renamed it to what we know it as today. As well as unique records such as the original Dutch manuscript of the story of nun Beatrijs dating back to 1374, a collection of songs and prayers from Bruges in 1400, and an album of recorded VIPS from Amsterdam from the 17th century, the library is also home to many ‘firsts;  the first Dutch bird guide, the first Dutch children’s book and the first Dutch comic to name a few. But if you request any of these materials keep in mind the library is so vast, with over 3.3 million items, that cover a distance of over 48km, that it can take approximately 30 minutes to be found!

At the time of its construction there was no electricity, which explains the glass dome roof and open cast iron staircases and railings, that allow as much light as possible to filter down through the four floors of Dutch literature, history and culture.



La Librarie PTRYX is a unique book store in Brussels, independently owned and recognisable by the snippets and bios of famous authors that decorate its front walls. Inside, the shelves are filled with literature for all ages, social sciences and comics, each one carefully hand selected by the owner who is known to eagerly provide advice and recommendations when asked. Since its opening in 2012 the shop has therefore developed a reputation for its personal touch, and lack of mainstream works. Authors themselves frequently visit the quaint little store, holding meet and greets and discussions, rendering La Librarie PTRYX a cosy corner of Brussels to exchange ideas and conversation with similar minded bookworms.



Many of the famous French libraries such as The National Library of France, Shakespeare & Co. bookstore and Bibliotheque de la Sarbonne are of course located in Paris, but outside of the capital are a number of stunning and no less interesting locations that book lovers shouldn’t overlook.

Source: Bibliophil'se Corner

Source: Bibliophil’se Corner

Located in the centre of Lyon is Le Bal des Ardents, which celebrates the independent publishers and upcoming or unknown authors among its collection that are often not found in mainstream locations. Inside the library you will be welcomed with a homely atmosphere, and the entrance archway is made entirely out of books!



The Bibliotheque Mejanes is an unmissable library, located on Rue des Allumettes, Aix-en-Provence the exterior comprises of three giant books, and house a collection of over 60,000 documents that belonged to Jean-Baptiste Mariee de Piquet since the French Revolution. The modern library we see today was remodelled in 1989 and has facilities such as a screening room, lecture halls a courtyard and a private reading room.


In contrast to some of the oldest and more traditional libraries, the Stuttgart City Library in Germany is one of the most modern architectural structures, and refers to itself as a media centre. One of the most impressive features is the grand atrium in the centre, an open five story space, white and brightly lit, leaving the books and visitors as the only source of colour. The collection covers nearly everything you can think of; music, sport, art, fiction, science and life works, and in recognition of modern day technologies audio guides are available from the reception desk to help you navigate your way around. There is even a soon to be complete official app for Android and Apple users available soon.



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