Rococo Hall

The library inferno of 2004

In the evening of 2 September 2004, the Historic Building of the Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was severely damaged by fire. The two upper floors were completely gutted. A total of 50,000 volumes were destroyed, 62,000 were in part badly damaged by fire and water. More than two-fifths of the historically significant prints dating before 1850 were affected. Thirty-seven paintings dating from the 16th to 18th century were also burnt. Large parts of the valuable collection were saved, including medieval manuscripts, incunabula, globes, maps, the world’s largest Faust collection and Nietzsche’s private library.

After extensive drying, the historical Rococo Hall dating back to 1766, the heart of Weimar Classicism, underwent thorough restoration.

The Historic Building was reopened on 24 October 2007, 200 years after Anna Amalia’s death.

Replacement of historical prints

Since 2005, a team financed by donations and state and federal funding has been attempting to replace books which were either destroyed or can no longer be restored. The library's curators have been actively purchasing replacements from the antiquarian market and integrating book donations into the collection. Priority has been given to old prints dating before 1850.

There are still numerous books, for wich we have yet to find replacements. To find out if you own a copy of a historical book which you could provide us, you can search our Burnt Books database, created especially for this purpose.

The digitalised music catalogue provides information on the historical sheet music lost in the fire and corresponding replacements.

Compensation of losses by meaningful additions to the collection

In order to fill the gaps left in the historical collection, we are also acquiring titles which correspond to its profile but were not in the collection before. We particularly wish to collect prints published before 1850 and titles relevant to those lost in the fire in terms of form or content.


»Es nimmt der Augenblick, was Jahre geben.« Vom Wiederaufbau der Büchersammlung der Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek.(»What the years have given is snatched away in a moment.« The reconstruction of the book collection in the Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek.) Edited by Claudia Kleinbub, Katja Lorenz and Johannes Mangei for the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, Göttingen 2007.
more information (German only)