The Austrian National Library is the country’s largest library and central memory institution, with more than 12 million items in its various collections. It is located at the Heldenplatz in Vienna, inside the Hofburg Palace. The library is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 18:00. The admission fee is 8 euros for adults, 6 euros for students and seniors, and free for children under 19 years old. You can also buy a combined ticket for 15 euros that includes access to the State Hall and the five museums of the library: the Globe Museum, the Papyrus Museum, the Esperanto Museum, the Literature Museum, and the House of Austrian History.
To get to the library, you can take the subway (U3) to Herrengasse station, or the tram (1, 2, D or 71) to Burgring station. You can also walk from the city center or the Museumsquartier. The library offers guided tours of the State Hall and the museums for groups and individuals. You can book a tour online or by phone. The tours are available in different languages, including English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Russian.
The State Hall is the most impressive part of the library, with its stunning baroque architecture and frescoes. It was built in the 18th century by Emperor Charles VI as his private library. It houses more than 200,000 books, including rare manuscripts, incunabula, and music scores. Some of the highlights are a Gutenberg Bible, a world map by Martin Waldseemüller, and a collection of globes by Vincenzo Coronelli.
The other museums of the library showcase different aspects of culture and history. The Globe Museum displays more than 250 globes and related instruments from different centuries and regions. The Papyrus Museum exhibits ancient Egyptian documents and artefacts that reveal various aspects of life and religion in ancient times. The Esperanto Museum explores the history and development of Esperanto, a planned language created in the 19th century to facilitate international communication. The Literature Museum presents Austrian literature from the 18th century to the present day, with original manuscripts, letters, photos, and audio recordings of famous authors. The House of Austrian History covers the political and social history of Austria from 1918 to today, with interactive exhibits and multimedia installations.
When visiting the library, you should follow some rules and prohibitions to respect the historical and cultural value of the place. You should not bring any bags, backpacks, umbrellas, or food and drinks inside the library. You can leave them at the cloakroom for free. You should also not take any photos or videos inside the State Hall or the museums without permission. You should not touch any books or exhibits unless they are marked as interactive. You should also be quiet and respectful of other visitors and staff.
The Austrian National Library is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in books, art, history, or culture. It offers a unique opportunity to admire one of the most beautiful libraries in the world and to learn more about Austria’s rich heritage.