About us
Building and Congress Centre
Sketch: Gabriele Glöckler
The German National Library now has two locations: one in Leipzig and the other in Frankfurt am Main. The original library in Leipzig was established in 1912, and the library building on Deutscher Platz opened four years later. The library in Frankfurt amMain was established in 1946 as a consequence of the partition of Germany after World War II. While the original building in Leipzig has so far been expanded four times, the library in Frankfurt has moved twice since its inception. The building in Leipzig therefore contains architecture of various styles and eras. In contrast, the present-day building in Frankfurt am Main, which was completed in 1997, speaks a uniform formal language.
To the Architectural guide
Deutscher Platz 1, Leipzig
Photo: kunstmann
The building housing the original “Deutsche Bücherei” was completed in 1916. The building and its equipment were financed by the Börsenverein der Deutschen​Buchhändler zu Leipzig (German Publishers and Booksellers Association in Leipzig), the Kingdom of Saxony and the City of Leipzig. The acquisition of the artwork adorning the building was made possible by institutional and private trust funding. The City of Leipzig provided the land for the present-day building on Deutscher Platz, which was named after the “Deutsche Bücherei”. Even then, it was assumed that the library would have to be expanded every 20 years.
“One important and difficult design requirement was that [...] it had to be possible to add further annexes conveniently without affecting the entire organism and its external appearance. ... It is currently presumed that the building ensemble in its entirety will not be complete for another 200 years.” Karl Julius Baer, 1925
The formal language of the modern-day building grew out of the stylistic epochs in which the five sections were built: from the historicism of the founding period through New Objectivity, the linearity of
modernity and the functionality of the Book Tower to the reform architecture of the present day.
Building history
Photo: Kirstein
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1916: The Deutsche Bücherei is ceremonially inaugurated on 2 September. The building, which was designed by architect Oskar Pusch, was erected during the war years 1914 to 1916 under the supervision of Karl Schmidt and Karl Julius Baer. The façade of the building is 120 metres in length.

Exterior views on the German National Library in Leipzig
Image / Video

The reading rooms
In Leipzig, you have 562 workstations in eight reading rooms. The architecture of the reading rooms reflects the style of the era in which they were constructed.
The reading rooms provide facilities with which you can view 55,000 subject-specific volumes directly . Along with group work areas, you can take advantage of workstations for the use of electronic media, sheet music and sound recordings.
A reference collection consisting of 55,000 volumes is freely accessible for you to use along with the most recent issues of around 1,700 periodicals in all subject categories.
To Use
The stacks
Photo: DNB, Annett Koschnick
The stacks in Leipzig cover an area of 48,500 square metres and are distributed between the fourth annex, the Book Tower and parts of the original building. More than 19.3 million media are stored in 218 kilometres of shelving. Another 3.5 kilometres are added every year.
In the newest annex, media such as periodicals and sound recordings are stored in electrically powered mobile shelving systems in optimum conditions: protected from daylight, at a temperature of 18 degrees Celsius and a relative air humidity of 50 percent or 30 percent in the sound recording stacks.
Virtual 360° tour
Take as much time as you like. During the virtual 360° tour, you can decide what route to take around the German National Library and what you want to explore. Start in the great reading room and discover the other reading rooms at your leisure. (only available in German) (realisation:; copyright protected)
Adickesallee 1, Frankfurt am Main
The building in Frankfurt's Nordend district was officially inaugurated on 14 May 1997.
Stuttgart architects Arat-Kaiser-Kaiser were commissioned to design the building after winning an architectural competition in 1984. However, the planning phase was delayed by the upheaval in the world of work brought about by the new digital technologies and the changes resulting from the reunification of Germany. The complex, which was built between 1992 and 1996, is noted for its transparency, clarity and functionality. Its appearance is dominated by four materials: exposed concrete, steel, glass and light Canadian maple.
9,300 square metres of floor space were built above ground. This area accommodates the reading rooms, the work areas, an exhibition area for the German Exile Archive and a Congress Centre. However, most of the building is located underground: three floors of stacks with a total area of 30,800 square metres. As the stacks are situated twelve metres below the groundwater level, the exterior walls consist of one white concrete trough and one black one. These afford double protection from water penetration. 70,000 tons of Brazilian iron ore were installed as ballast against buoyancy.
Reading rooms
The open-plan reading rooms with 333 workstations are spread over three floors. The big window front looking out onto the garden allows plenty of daylight to reach all floors.
A reference collection consisting of 24,000 volumes is freely accessible for you to use along with the most recent six years of around 9000 periodicals in all subject categories.
To Use
The stacks in Frankfurt am Main cover a total area of 30,800 square metres spread over three underground levels the size of football pitches. Around 12.8 million media are stored in 182 kilometres of shelving, and three kilometres are added every year.
The media are stored in optimum conditions without daylight, at a temperature of 18 degrees Celsius and in a relative air humidity of 50 percent.
It is estimated that the stacks have sufficient capacity to last until 2045. Afterwards, an annex will also be built in Frankfurt am Main.
Art for Architecture
As part of its project „Kunst am Bau” („Art for Architecture”), the library received distinguished works by German and international artists. If you enter the complex through Per Kirkeby’s brick gates, you encounter Georg Baselitz’ statue „Armalamor” in the entrance rotunda. The staircase to the underground car park is adorned by Ilya Kabakov’s installation „Flügel” („Wings”). If you visit the cafeteria or event area, you can admire portraits of famous libraries by photographer Candida Höfer. A group of sculptures by Tobias Rehberger and Jochen Gerz’s work „Heimkehr der Erinnerung. Fragen für Walter Benjamin” („The Return of Memory. Questions for Walter Benjamin”) are located in the non-public areas. You can view all these works, including those in the non-public areas, during the guided tours offered regularly by the German National Library.
Detailed information is provided in the richly illustrated volume
„Zugabe. Kunst inder Deutschen Nationalbibliothek in Frankfurt am Main”
with texts by Ruth Langen-Wettengl and photographs by Stephan Jockel.
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Per Kirkeby’s passable, meandering brick wall defines the boundaries of an area in front of the library building and shields it from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding streets. Its open perspectives and closed surfaces draw a line between the distractions of everyday life and concentration in the reading room.
Image / Video
Former locations
In 1946, the German National Library began its work in the tobacco room of the former Rothschild library at Untermainkai 15. At that time, the building also housed the bombed out city and university library. The city's master builder Johann Friedrich Christian Hess had it built in classical style in 1820/21. In 1846, it became the private residence of Frankfurt’s Rothschild family, who were some of Europe’s most influential bankers. It now houses Frankfurt am Main's Jewish Museum.
Photo: Max Göllner
In 1959, the Library was able to move to a building especially constructed for it on Zeppelinallee in Frankfurt's Westend district. Designed by architect Hermann Mäckler, the result was a building complex in post-war modern style: a low administrative building with glazed entrance is located in front of a storage tower 43 metres in height. A second storage tower 53 metres in height was added later. Nevertheless, the capacities were exhausted by the beginning of the 1980s: large parts of the collection had to be distributed among several alternative storage areas in the city. After the library was moved to its present-day location in 1997, the old building was demolished.
Familiarise yourself with our locations
Come with us on a tour and familiarise yourself with our locations.
Congress Centre in Frankfurt amMain – room hire
Our Congress Centre in Frankfurt am Main is a special venue for all kinds of events such as receptions, scientific congresses, conferences, general meetings, press conferences and readings.
It consists of a lecture hall, a meeting room and a foyer. For unusual events, we also offer the Director General’s meeting room with views of Frankfurt’s skyline. All rooms have barrier-free access and can also be hired outside the Library's usual opening hours (except on Sundays and public holidays).
Do you have questions about our Congress Centre, or do you want to hire one of our rooms?
If so, you are welcome to contact Tobias Schmidt:
All information about costs is provided in our price list.
Guests can park in the Congress Centre's own underground car park for a fee. Our restaurant Rob’s Kulinarium will gladly make you an offer if you require catering for your event:
You can visit the restaurant and the cafeteria at the following times:
Restaurant: Monday to Friday 8:00–14:30
Cafeteria: Monday to Friday 11:00–18:00, Saturday 10:00–17:00
An overview of our rooms
Lecture hall
The lecture hall with an area of 351 square metres has space for up to 325 people with another 50 seats in the gallery. You can choose between row seating or parliamentary seating. The remarkable acoustic ceiling makes the lecture hall an ideal venue for musical performances. It is equipped with modern conference technology.
Meeting room
Photo: Thomas Linke, Linie Fotoform
The meeting room with an area of 53 square metres is especially suited to conferences, meetings or press conferences with up to 18 people. The 18 Eames chairs and the conference table upholstered in black leather create an unusual atmosphere. The meeting room next to the lecture hall is an ideal forum for activities accompanying the event.
The open architecture of the 285 square metres foyer makes it equally suitable for receptions, evening events, and film or photo shoots. From the foyer, you have direct views of the area in front of the Library and the entrance hall featuring the sculpture “Armalamor” by artist Georg Baselitz.
Director General’s meeting room
The imposing meeting room with glazing on three sides affords impressive views over the roofs of Frankfurt am Main as far as the Taunus region. These views guarantee a special atmosphere for your event, especially in the evening. The round basalt conference table can seat 24.
Last changes: 05.05.2021
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