The Royal Library is Sweden’s national library and it opened in 1661. Besides being just that, a library, the RL is tasked with preserving and storing everything that is published in Sweden, whether it’s a school book, fashion magazine, a DVD movie, or a news bulletin broadcast on the radio. Its vast collection includes well over 18 million items, of which the oldest are over a thousand years old. The RL has been housed in its current location, in the middle of Humlegården park, since 1877.
We seldom visit Stockholm, but now so many years had passed, that we felt it necessary to go in order to keep up with the city’s changes. And, of course the National Library was on our list.
In fact I had never been to the National Library, so I was very excited to finally go. And even if I have been to more beautiful libraries, this one was serene looking and strict in its design.
The reading hall was spacious and bright, just the way I love reading halls to be, and the scientists’ reading hall had a lower ceiling and more comfortable chairs (of course). They were both inviting.
Walking down to the basement we were in for a surprise …none of us had ever heard of this…As we walked down the last stairs, we were even more excited. Codex Gigas, or the Devil’s Bible, was waiting for us.
Not great that it was taken in a war, but those were the days when such things happened in wars. (In fact, they still seem to do so…) If there are grades in Hell, maybe it was better to take it than to burn it. Anyway, we greatly enjoyed seeing this gigantic Bible and reading about it. It is an impressive book where each page measures 89cmx49cm, and the total amount of parchment leaves are 310. It weighs almost 75 kilos.
Interesting too is that this Bible contains not only the Holy Bible, but also other popular works, like medical works and an Encyclopedia. They were all written in Latin. Fascinating. Click the link on Codex Gigas above if you want to read more about it.