Austrian National Library – one of the most famous Literature Museums

May 15th, 2015

On the occasion of the opening of the Austrian National Library's Literature Museum, Austrian Post issued a commemorative stamp on the topic. The item was released and put into circulation on the 18th of April.

As the central scientific library of the Republic of Austria, the Austrian National Library looks back on a history that extends as far as the 14th century. The first item of today's collection is regarded as being the Evangeliary of Johannes von Troppau from 1368, which he made for the Duke of Austria. Emperor Frederick III finally brought together the Hapsburg treasures in Wiener Neustadt Castle, including amongst other things valuable manuscripts such as the Wenceslas Bible and the Golden Bull.

In the course of the centuries, after long stays inter-alia at Ambras Palace and Prague Castle, the collection of books finally returned to Vienna. In the 18th century, a building was constructed on what is today Josefsplatz intended to house what was called the Court Library at the time. The State Hall of the National Library dates from this period and is still today regarded as a masterpiece of baroque architecture and fresco painting, and is home amongst other things to the collection of Prince Eugene of Savoy with around 15,000 items.

From 2015, numerous items from the Austrian National Library will find a new home in the new Literature Museum. The museum is located in the premises of the former Austro-Hungarian Exchequer, where once Franz Grillparzer held the office of director. On two floors, works by Austrian authors from the Age of the Enlightenment to the present are exhibited, while a further floor is intended for temporary exhibitions. In this way, Austrian literature and its significance for European cultural life is now to be presented in one central museum.

Architecturally, the museum combines the listed premises and their historical archive shelves with functional rooms for workshops and readings. Alongside books, manuscripts, letters, drawings and photos, which reflect not only literature but also the social historical background, there are also objects of visual and cultural-history interest in the museum, such as Egon Friedell's wig that he wore in his famous Goethe sketch.

The stamp shows a view of the new premises of the new Literature Museum in the Grillparzer House used by the Austrian State Archive until 2006, together with Ernst Jandl's director's chair.

Tags: #Austria