Stephanie Buchholz

Stephanie Buchholz

Published: 16 Sep 2023


The Royal Library of Belgium is a treasure trove of knowledge, history, and culture. Located in Brussels, this prestigious institution is not just a repository of books, but a symbol of national heritage. With its rich collection spanning centuries, the library has been a beacon of intellectual prowess and enlightenment.

In this article, we will delve into eight intriguing facts about the Royal Library of Belgium that make it a captivating destination for book lovers, historians, and tourists alike. From its remarkable architecture to its rare book collection and fascinating exhibitions, the library offers a unique glimpse into the world of literature, art, and academia.

So, let’s embark on a journey through the fascinating history and wonders of the Royal Library of Belgium.

Table of Contents

A Wealth of Knowledge

The Royal Library of Belgium, also known as the Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België in Dutch and Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique in French, is home to an extensive collection of books, manuscripts, and other valuable documents. It houses over 7 million volumes, making it one of the largest libraries in the world.

Oldest and Largest

Established in 1837, the Royal Library of Belgium is not only the oldest library in the country but also one of the oldest continuously operating libraries in the world. It holds the distinction of being a legal deposit library, meaning that it receives copies of all published works in Belgium.

Architectural Marvel

The building that houses the Royal Library of Belgium is a sight to behold. Designed by architect Léon Suys in the late 19th century, its stunning neoclassical architecture and grandeur make it an iconic landmark in Brussels. With its dome-topped reading room, it exudes an aura of elegance and intellectualism.

Treasures Beyond Books

The Royal Library is not only a haven for book enthusiasts but also houses an impressive collection of historical artifacts. It boasts a range of valuable items, including ancient manuscripts, maps, and photographs that offer a glimpse into Belgium’s rich cultural heritage.

A Multilingual Library

With Belgium being a multilingual country, it is no surprise that the Royal Library reflects this linguistic diversity. Its collection includes books and documents in various languages such as Dutch, French, German, and English, catering to a wide range of academic and research interests.

Digital Transformation

The Royal Library has embraced the digital age and has made significant progress in digitizing its vast collection. Through its web portal, users can access a growing number of digitized books, manuscripts, and artworks, making these resources more easily accessible to researchers and the general public.

A Hub for Scholars

The Royal Library of Belgium serves as a prominent research institution, attracting scholars and researchers from around the world. Its extensive collection and specialized departments make it an invaluable resource for academic studies across a wide range of disciplines.

Cultural Events and Exhibitions

Beyond its role as a library, the Royal Library of Belgium also hosts various cultural events and exhibitions. From book launches to art displays, these activities further promote knowledge, creativity, and cultural exchange within the community.


The Royal Library of Belgium is a fascinating landmark with a rich history and a treasure trove of knowledge. From its impressive collection of books to its stunning architecture, this library is a must-visit for any literature enthusiast or history buff. Whether you explore its halls and galleries or delve into its extensive digital resources, you are sure to be captivated by the beauty and importance of this iconic institution.


1. When was the Royal Library of Belgium established?

The Royal Library of Belgium was established in 1837.

2. What is the significance of the Royal Library of Belgium?

The library has a rich collection of over 7 million books, including valuable manuscripts, rare prints, maps, and more. It also serves as the national library of Belgium and is a center for research and cultural preservation.

3. Can anyone visit the Royal Library of Belgium?

Yes, the library is open to the public and welcomes visitors from around the world. However, certain areas may require special permission or have restricted access.

4. Are there any special exhibitions or events held at the library?

Yes, the Royal Library of Belgium hosts various exhibitions, lectures, and events throughout the year. These events showcase different aspects of the library’s extensive collection and provide insights into literature, history, and culture.

5. Does the Royal Library of Belgium have a digital collection?

Yes, the library has digitized a significant portion of its collection, making it accessible online. This allows users to explore and access various texts, manuscripts, and prints remotely.

6. Is photography allowed inside the Royal Library of Belgium?

Photography is generally not permitted inside the library. However, specific permissions may be granted for certain projects or under special circumstances.

7. How long should I allot for a visit to the Royal Library of Belgium?

The duration of a visit can vary depending on individual interests. It is recommended to allocate at least a couple of hours to explore the library and its exhibits thoroughly.

8. Are there guided tours available at the Royal Library of Belgium?

Yes, guided tours are available at the library. These tours provide valuable insights into the history, architecture, and collection of the Royal Library and are led by knowledgeable guides.