The historic library building with its famous Rococo Hall became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998 along with other beacons of German classicism in Weimar.
On 2 September 2004 , shortly before the long-planned renovation work was due to commence, the two top floors were completely destroyed by fire and other parts of the building were extensively damaged by water used to extinguish the flames. A defective electrical connection was identified as the cause of the fire.
The Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek was reopened on 24 October 2007, marking the birthday of the library’s namesake. Today the building houses the book restoration and conservation workshop, the special collections department and the head office. Instead of restoring the second gallery of the Rococo Hall, which had been completely destroyed, it was converted into a special reading room where scholars may study manuscripts, incunabula, sheet music, maps, globes, etc. along with parts of the special collections which require special handling.
The decision to renovate the historic building that houses the Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek had been made years earlier. In spring 2004, the foundation had commissioned the architect Walther Grunwald and his team to begin the preliminary planning. At that time, it was estimated that the renovation work would cost approximately 8.4 million euros . The fire inflicted severe damage on the building and added an additional 3.4 million euros to the costs of the original renovation work which amounted to 1.2 million euros.
The federal government and the Free State of Thuringia have contributed an equal share toward the total cost of 13 million euros, supplemented by smaller contributions by the Allianz Kulturstiftung and the German Foundation for Monument Protection. The numerous donations were largely used to start rebuilding the book collection.
Die Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek nach dem Brand in neuem Glanz (The Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek in New Glory after the Fire), edited by Walther Grunwald, Michael Knoche and Hellmut Seemann on behalf of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar. Photographs by Manfred Hamm. Berlin: Otto Meissners Verlag 2007. 182 pages, 240 illustrations, 39.90 Euro
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