Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Danish Royal Library
The Royal Library in Copenhagen (Danish: Det Kongelige Bibliotek) is the national library of Denmark and the largest and most important library of Scandinavia. It contains many historical treasures; all works that have been printed in Denmark since the 17th century are deposited there. The library was founded around 1648 by King Frederik III who seeded it with a comprehensive collection of European works. It was opened to the public in 1793. In 1989 it was merged with the prestigious University Library. Today it has three sites: one at Fiolstræde specializing in the social sciences, one at Amager specializing in the humanities, and the main library at Slotsholmen covering all subjects.
The old building of the Slotsholmen site was built in 1906 and is a copy of Charlemagne's Palace chapel in the Aachen Cathedral. In 1999, a new building was opened at Slotsholmen, known as the "Black Diamond" (Den sorte diamant). Named for its outside cover of black marble and glass, it houses a concert hall in addition to the library.
Between 1968 and 1978, the library saw one of the largest book thefts ever. Someone had managed to steal some 3200 historical books worth more than $50 million, including manuscripts by Martin Luther and first editions by Immanuel Kant, Thomas More and John Milton. The theft remained undetected until 1975. Between 1998 and 2002, the thief succeeded in selling books worth some $2 million at various auctions. The case was finally solved in September 2003, after a stolen book had surfaced at Christie's auction house in London. The thief, an employee of the library's oriental department named Moeller-Kristensen, had died in February 2003. His family then became careless in selling the remaining books. At a raid of the family's home in November 2003, some 1500 books were recovered. In June 2004, his wife, son, daughter in law and a friend were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 18 months to 3 years. The verdict is being appealed. The friend was found not guilty of all charges and acquitted.
- English home page of the library: http://www.kb.dk/index-en.htm
- Photos of the Black Diamond: http://www.kb.dk/kultur/diamant/arkitektur/index.htm?arkitektur.htm
- Press release regarding the theft: http://www.kb.dk/engl-news/index-en1.htm
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