Three kilometres. That’s the space filled up by the Royal Danish House’s historical collection of books, manuscripts, maps, pictures, music, etc., assembled by the ten most recent monarchs over the past 266 years. Converted to volumes, three kilometres equals shelf space for approximately 100,000, which means that the collection has grown, on average, by nearly one book a day since its establishment in 1746. Altogether it is called Her Majesty The Queen’s Reference Library, and it constitutes one of the largest private collections in Denmark.
The Reference Library is housed in Christian VIII’s Palace at Amalienborg and at Christiansborg Palace, where the continuing growth is felt even though one might think that there was plenty of space.
Even though the Reference Library is private, it is open for inquiries from the public, which here can get access to valuable historical material that cannot be found elsewhere in Denmark, if at all. Unique manuscripts, maps and pictures, early photos, original artworks and rare, superbly outfitted books from the past five centuries are among the material that the Reference Library preserves. Much of it is in an unusually fresh and well-preserved condition, as though several centuries have passed without leaving a trace.
It is material that tells many kinds of history.
Published November 20, 2012