The Heidel­berg Uni­ver­sity Library of the Ruprecht-Karls-Uni­ver­sity

The Heidel­berg Uni­ver­sity Library on the corner of Plöck/Grabengasse is the cen­tral library of the Ruprecht-Karls-Uni­ver­sity. The impres­sive buil­ding from the begin­ning of the 20th cen­tury cap­ti­va­tes with its red sand­stone facade, which was model­led on the style of Heidel­berg Castle. Fur­ther­more, nume­rous ele­ments and details from the Art Nou­veau period can be found both out­side and inside. Since its con­struc­tion about 100 years ago, the buil­ding has repeatedly reached its capa­city limits and has the­re­fore been exten­ded several times. At the begin­ning of the last cen­tury, the library admi­nis­te­red about 600,000 volu­mes and 50,000 loans. In 2004, the archive stored over 7 mil­lion books plus other media such as micro­films, videos, CDs, etc. and mana­ged over 1.4 mil­lion loans. Today, in addi­tion to the main archive, there is also a branch office in Neu­en­hei­mer Feld as well as a deep storer­oom under the inner courty­ard of the New Uni­ver­sity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0wSUTYlC04

The library achie­ved great fame in the 16th cen­tury, when Elec­tor Otthein­rich brought tog­e­ther various book collec­tions to form the Biblio­theca Pala­tina. Through fur­ther purcha­ses, dona­ti­ons and inheri­tan­ces, the library grew to become “the most important book trea­sure of scho­l­arly Ger­many”. Howe­ver, the end of the collec­tion was approa­ching in the Thirty Years War. In 1622 the Catho­lic League under Gene­ral Tilly con­que­red the city of Heidel­berg. As a result, almost the entire book collec­tion was con­fis­ca­ted and trans­por­ted to the Vati­can in Rome. Only a few books and manu­scripts from the Biblio­theca Pala­tina have been pre­ser­ved for the Heidel­berg people. The most famous copy is the Man­es­si­sche Lie­der­hand­schrift, an exten­sive German song manu­script. It was pro­bably not among the books that were taken away and was pro­bably taken into exile by the “Winter King” Fried­rich V. Pres­um­a­bly his widow sold the book to a mer­chant out of finan­cial need, who in turn left his collec­tion to the King of France after his death. In 1888, through the media­tion of a Stras­bourg book­sel­ler, the pre­cious piece retur­ned to Heidel­berg. Today, in the museum rooms of the Uni­ver­sity Library, one can admire facsi­mi­les of various his­to­ri­cal books and wri­tings. Chan­ging exhi­bi­ti­ons com­plete the offer.