Royal Library (Kongelige Bibliotek), Copenhagen

Royal Library (Kongelige Bibliotek), Copenhagen

The Royal Library (Kongelige Bibliotek) in Copenhagen serves as the national library of Denmark and the university library for the University of Copenhagen. It stands as one of the largest libraries globally and the biggest in the Nordic countries. Historically significant, the library was founded in 1648 by King Frederik III, who endowed it with a rich collection of European literature, and it was opened to the public in 1793.

In 1989, the Royal Library merged with the Copenhagen University Library, founded in 1482, boosting its prestige and collections. Further mergers included the Danish National Library for Science and Medicine in 2005, and the Danish Folklore Archive in 2008, expanding its scope. In 2017, it merged with the State and University Library in Aarhus, forming the Royal Danish Library, operating in Copenhagen and Aarhus. This consolidation solidified its role as a key custodian of Danish cultural heritage.

The Royal Library houses an extensive collection of books, journals, newspapers, manuscripts, maps, prints, photographs, music scores, and digital content, including four annual electronic copies of the Danish Internet. It also holds nearly all Danish printed works dating back to 1482, thanks to significant donations and legal deposit requirements. As of 2017, the library possessed nearly 37 million physical units and over 2.4 million electronic titles, accessible through an online catalog and a reading room, providing comprehensive access to its patrons.

Thus, the Royal Library not only functions as a crucial academic and cultural resource but also as a guardian of Denmark's printed and digital heritage, continuously evolving to include a wide array of media and historical treasures.

Tip:
Entrance is through the library's modern extension – the adjoining Black Diamond. From there you can take an escalator up which takes you towards the old section, worth visiting just to admire the interior. Public tours of the Black Diamond are offered every Saturday at 3pm for a fee. The on-site café is good, with seating outside on sunny days (there is also a nice restaurant, "Søren K"), and you can buy something special in the small shop.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Copenhagen. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Royal Library (Kongelige Bibliotek) on Map

Sight Name: Royal Library (Kongelige Bibliotek)
Sight Location: Copenhagen, Denmark (See walking tours in Copenhagen)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Copenhagen, Denmark

Create Your Own Walk in Copenhagen

Create Your Own Walk in Copenhagen

Creating your own self-guided walk in Copenhagen is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Castle Island (Slotsholmen) Walking Tour

Castle Island (Slotsholmen) Walking Tour

Traditionally seen as the birthplace of Copenhagen, Castle Island (Slotsholmen) gave rise to the Danish capital with a small fortress built on it in the 12th century AD. Since the Middle Ages, this area, also known as the "Island of Power," has been the center of Denmark's government. It houses several prominent landmarks that played significant roles in the country's history.
...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Copenhagen Introduction Walking Tour

Copenhagen Introduction Walking Tour

The Danish capital Copenhagen is a fairy tale of a city, full of peculiarities. Its name – derived from the Danish words for merchant ("køpmann") and harbor ("havn") – reflects the city's origin as a place of commerce by the sea. A humble fishing village, established in the 10th century AD, some hundred years later it emerged as a town after Bishop Absalon, recognized...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Latin Quarter Walking Tour

Latin Quarter Walking Tour

One of the most interesting, young-spirited neighborhoods of Denmark's capital, the Latin Quarter is well known for its hangout spots, alternative shopping, and 18th-century architecture.

Back in the Middle Ages, the area surrounding Our Lady's Square (“Frue Plads” in Danish), right in the heart of it, was considered a “ray of light” in the overall darkness of those times. A...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Hans Christian Andersen's Copenhagen

Hans Christian Andersen's Copenhagen

Above the numerous plays, novels, and poems, the 19th-century Danish author Hans Christian Andersen is primarily renowned internationally as the man who wrote "The Little Mermaid," "The Emperor's New Clothes," "The Ugly Duckling" and many other fairy tales we know since childhood.

Born in Odense (central Denmark) a poor shoemaker's son, Andersen spent...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Little Mermaid Walking Tour

Little Mermaid Walking Tour

Back in the 18th century, Denmark was in the throes of an economic boom. Constructed during the reign of King Frederick V (hence the name), the district of Frederiksstaden attests to that with its beautiful architecture, measuring up to the projects from the same period in Berlin, Paris, and Vienna. This tour will guide you through the area's broad streets lined by bourgeois houses, mansions,...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Copenhagen Shopping: 16 Distinctively Denmark Things to Buy

Copenhagen Shopping: 16 Distinctively Denmark Things to Buy

Denmark is renowned for simple, industrial and functional design, as well as bohemian and everyday fashion-wear for the individual urban living. The capital Copenhagen, home to Copenhagen Fashion Week twice a year and biannual INDEX: Design to Improve Life - the world’s biggest design awards, is...