Herzog August Bibliothek
HAB Wolfenbüttel, Germany
More than 300 years ago, the Herzog August Library was already celebrated as the eighth wonder of the world. In 1666, at the time of Duke August’s death, it was one of the most famous baronial book collections and, in view of the number of prints, arguably the largest library worldwide; the collection of medieval manuscripts was amongst the most important ones in Europe.
Today, the Herzog August Library is one of the oldest libraries still intact, preserving the cultural memory in the research field of European cultural history of the mediaeval and early modern periods. “One thing that is so special about our library is that it is full of activity, it is being used,“ points out Dr. Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer, director of the Herzog August Library. The Wolfenbüttel library provides the setting for a number of scientific events, in addition to a diverse cultural programme, which includes a series of events such as the “Wolfenbütteler Gespräche” (Wolfenbüttel Talks) on issues of religion in civil society.
This also includes conferences, workshop discussions and guest seminars on a wide range of topics. “The promotion of young researchers is important to us,“ says Prof. Dr. Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer. With the aid of grants, which are internationally announced, numerous young researchers from all over the world come to Wolfenbüttel in order to study the sources of their research interests. Special exhibitions make the comprehensive holdings, which have many treasures on offer, including the Gospels of Henry the Lion, accessible to a wide audience.
Since 2007, the Herzog August Library, together with the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, is in the process of establishing a virtual “Kupferstichkabinett” (collection of prints), which already contains the images of 43,800 graphics from the 15th to the 19th century and makes the valuable drawings and prints digitally accessible anywhere in the world.
The Herzog August Library already represented the epitome of sciences and the mirror of the academic universe for Leibniz, who, like Lessing, worked as a librarian in Wolfenbüttel. Lessing’s drama Nathan the Wise, postulating religious tolerance and humanity, was written during his time in Wolfenbüttel.