Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin


The Berlin State Library – Prussian Cultural Heritage is the largest multidisciplinary library in Germany. More than 11 million volumes of printed material alone have been accumulated since the library was founded in 1661. The collection comprises over 2.2 million other printed works and miscellaneous, often unique materials in the special collections – these include western and oriental manuscripts, music autograph manuscripts, literary estates and deposits, personal papers and maps.

The Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin is located in two buildings in the center of the German capital: one at the boulevard Unter den Linden and the other at the Kulturforum/Potsdamer Straße. The Haus Potsdamer Straße 33 (designed by Hans Scharoun and Edgar Wisniewski) has become the site of the Modern Research Library. The modern holdings, with items published from 1946 onwards are being continually expanded. The building at Haus Unter den Linden functions as the Historical Research Library. On this site the unique historical catalogue, which focuses primarily on items published before 1945, is kept in stacks and is being retrospectively expanded. The special material-related departments for: manuscripts, sheet music, maps, children’s books and newspapers are located in the Haus Unter den Linden.

The Manuscripts Department of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin comprises: 18.500 medieval and early modern manuscripts, about 4.600 incunabula, 321.000 autographs (e.g. Lessing, Goethe, Kleist), over 1.000 literary estates, single sheet prints, printed portraits, and bookplates. It is constantly expanding its digital library with its digitised collections.

Unter den Linden Fountain with statue
Unter den Linden Manuscript reading room with a clock object
Postdamer Strasse General reading room

People involved in the action

Eef Overgaauw

Prof. Dr. Eef Overgaauw

Eef Overgaauw (1957) is Head of the Manuscript Department at Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin since 2000. He studied Dutch language and literature, Palaeography and Codicology in Leiden and Paris. After his PhD at Leiden University, he worked as a cataloguer of Medieval manuscripts at Münster University Library, Koblenz State Archives and Düsseldorf University Library. He teaches Palaeography and Codicology at Freie Universität Berlin. His fields of research are hagiographical and liturgical manuscripts, medieval scribes, medieval autograph manuscripts and Early Modern manuscripts.

Markus Greulich

Dr. Markus Greulich

Markus Greulich (1978) studied German Literature und Scandinavian Studies in Berlin. He received his PhD from the University of Vienna. From 2012 to 2019 he worked at the University of Paderborn. Here he initiated and coordinated an interdisciplinary research project on historical Paderborn, and he organized several conferences and workshops. Markus Greulich has taught medieval literature and culture at universities in the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. His recent research focuses on medieval manuscript culture and literary and cultural studies.

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