Remit and historical overview

Remit and historical overview

The National Library collects, catalogues and preserves all analogue and digital publications published in Luxembourg and any works published abroad that relate to the Grand Duchy. It is the country’s leading academic, research and cultural heritage library. It is also an academic and research library. In order to meet the requirements of its users, about three-quarters of its printed collections come from other countries and they cover different fields of knowledge.


The remit of the National Library is defined by the amended law of 25 June 2004 on the reorganisation of the State’s cultural institutes.

The remit of the BnL: 

  • It is responsible for legal deposit as defined in Article 10 and manages the resulting collections,
  • it completes these collections by purchasing publications, printed or digital, published abroad and relating to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and its nationals or created by authors linked to the Grand Duchy,
  • it constitutes and distributes the national bibliography,
  • it preserves and enriches the national heritage in its care,
  • it manages special collections: manuscripts, rare and precious prints, graphic documents, maps and plans, bindings, scores, sound documents, illustrated books and artists’ books,
  • it preserves official publications of international organisations or acquired in application of international agreements;
  • it collects, catalogues, preserves and enriches its collections of non-Luxembourgish origin
  • it ensures access to the collections for as many people as possible, including through loans and remote consultation, using the most modern technologies
  • it ensures the coordination of the Luxembourg library network
  • it manages the collective catalogue,
  • it contributes to the development of librarianship at national and international level.

Historical overview


The political authorities of the French Republic create the first public library in Luxembourg. It is made up of the remaining collections from the library of the former states of Luxembourg, the Jesuit libraries and the libraries of various religious orders (Echternach, City of Luxembourg, Orval). It is located on the top floor of the “Ancien Athénée”.


Merger of the municipal library, created in 1802, with that of the Athénée de Luxembourg and that of the Société pour la recherche et la conservation de monuments historiques, created in 1845.


The library is called the “Bibliothèque nationale” for the first time in an official state document.


The BnL, which had become the “Landesbibliothek”, was placed under the control of the Nazi authorities and relocated on Boulevard Royal.


Following the law of 5 December 1958, the BnL now has legal status. Pierre Frieden becomes the first to be commissioned with the management of the BnL. Legal deposit in favour of the BnL as a bibliographic agency is introduced.

From 1960

The BnL emphasises its vocation as a scientific library and gives up its collection of entertainment books.


The BnL is now located in the renovated building of the “Ancien Athénée” (Boulevard Roosevelt).


Creation of the Centre d’études et de documentation musicales (Cedom) at the BnL by Gand Ducal regulation of 11 July 1989


Vote on the bill for the construction of the new building in Luxembourg-Kirchberg


Ground-breaking ceremony


Moving in begins


Official opening of the new building

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