Treasures in the Royal Library


Viking raids and crusades brought Nordic princes and tradesmen in contact with people from the countries east of the Mediterranean Sea. In time confrontation yielded in favour of interest, what seemed strange in the beginning proved to be valuable for the understanding not only of the unknown but also of the familiar, of our self-imposed demarcations in relation to the world around us. Interaction with Jewish culture took place from Roman times, and Arabic tradition reintroduced parts of Greco-Roman natural science to Europe in the Middle Ages. Contact with the Far East was consolidated during the 17th century and brought back hitherto unknown luxuries such as porcelain and bitter oranges. During the 18th century the recognition of non-European ideas became a forerunner of the philology of the 19th century and the humanities of the 20th century.

Some of the treasures acquired over the years are material and durable: texts and pictures from other intellectual universes and artistic traditions – the unknown and the well-known in interchanging mutual influence.

The Judaica Collections

The Judaica Collections of the Royal Library contain a wide variety of materials, spanning from mediaeval manuscripts to CD-ROM databases. They differ in language, age, and geographic provenance, but they have one thing in common: they relate, one way or another, to Jewish history, religion, or culture.

The Oriental Collections

The Oriental Collections of The Royal Library comprise manuscripts and printed books in the languages of the major Asian cultures and in other languages that are or have been spoken in West, Central, South, and East Asia as well as North Africa. The main focus is on the world of Islam, Zoroastrian Iran, India of the Vedas, Buddhist Central Asia, and China. In addition the department holds well-balanced collections of texts in Turkish, Japanese, and Korean.

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© Det Kongelige Bibliotek 2003