The Black Diamond

The Royal Library has existed as a national library and a museum since 1648 and as the university library for the University of Copenhagen since 1927, with roots going back to 1482.

As the national library and book museum we are entrusted with the administration of the national cultural heritage in the form of published works (books, periodicals, newspapers, ephemera), manuscripts, archival materials, maps, pictures, photographs and printed music in conventional or digital forms. The Royal Library provides the best possible access to the collections under contemporary conditions for research, studies and experience, and at the same time the collections must be preserved, safeguarded and transferred to future generations.

As a university library and a national subject library we must always make available the most relevant and comprehensive scholarly literature for research and higher education at the University of Copenhagen, and for the whole of Denmark within the disciplines of the humanities, theology, the social sciences and law.

As a research institution we carry out relevant research within the areas of the library's responsibilities, functions, subject areas and collections.

Hans Christian Andersen 1862

Hans Christian Andersen 1862


The Royal Library has very rich collections of anderseniana in the broadest sense of the word.

The Department of Main Collections is in charge of the national collection of books, periodicals, newspapers and other materials, printed in Denmark since 1482. Due to Legal Deposit the department is in possession of all Danish printed works and other prints by Hans Christian Andersen as well as the comprehensive literature about him and the cultural and literary context which surrounded him. As the library also collects printed works about Denmark and Danes, and translated works by Danish authors, you'll find a huge collection of his translated works.

The section of Prints and Photographs is a part of the Department of Maps, Prints and Photographs. The 'Portrait Collection' contains Danish and foreign portraits as well as group pictures. Materials include prints as well as photographs. The Danish collection contains approximately 600.000 images, among which a big collection of portraits of Hans Christian Andersen and his contemporaries. In The 'Topographical Collection' many of the buildings, towns, places, etc. that the visited during travels or on a more permanent basis are represented.

The Manuscript Department is in possession of the biggest existing collection of Hans Christian Andersen's original manuscripts: fairy tales, poems, novels, diaries etc., and the thousands of letters which he wrote and received during a long life.


Drawing from Hans Christian Andersen's journey to Germany 1831

Digital communication and new projects

Elektra is the name of the Royal Library's collection of electronic resources, which among other things gives direct access to catalogues and to selected parts of the collections: texts, photographs, manuscripts etc.

Both due to the contents of its collections and its experiences with digital communication it was natural for The Royal Library to co-operate with The Hans Christian Andersen Museum and The Hans Christian Andersen Center in marking the 200 year anniversary of Hans Christian Andersen in 2005.

The contributions of The Royal Library, which to a great extent is supported by The HCA2005 Foundation, will among other things include publication of Hans Christian Andersen's Paper Cuts, a Biography of Letters, his Diaries, and selected manuscripts. For different reasons some of these projects will only be published in Danish.

paper cut