Herzog August Library Wolfenbüttel

Main hall of the Bibliotheca Augusta

The Herzog August Library Wolfenbüttel (HAB) is one of the oldest, authentically preserved libraries in the world. Not only is the HAB a storehouse of intact cultural memory, but also the central, non-university research and study centre for European cultural history of the Middle Ages and Early Modernity. Founded in 1572 by Duke Julius zu Braunschweig-Lüneburg, the library was systematically expanded by Duke August the Younger (1579-1666) with 135,000 valuable manuscripts and prints in the 17th century, making it the largest library of its time. There were some who even called it a wonder of the world.

Its collection of manuscripts is like no other in northern Germany with some 11,800 manuscripts including the Book of Gospels of Henry the Lion and the most lavishly illuminated manuscript of the Sachsenspiegel (Saxon Mirror). The library owns a number of extensive special collections and deposits, e.g. the collection of Stolberg funeral sermons, the music collection with manuscripts and prints from the Middle Ages to the present day, and one of the most impressive painting book collections in Germany.



The Bibliotheca Augusta

As a member of the German Prints Collection German Prints Collection association, the Herzog August Library assumed the role and corresponding tasks of a national library of the 17th century in 1990. Its mission is to collect and preserve all works of literature published in Germany at that time, as well as all German-language works of that period, and make them available to the public in the long term.
The unique quality of the HAB as a research centre is the result of intensive communication between research fellows, guest researchers and HAB scholars on the basis of their joint collaboration on the historic collections. Thanks to working groups and conferences, the library is actively involved in cultivating academic discourse on the regional, national and international stage.