Danish Collections (The National Collections)

The Danish collections contain works published in Denmark, or outside Denmark, but dealing with Denmark or Danes.

Works published in Denmark

This refers to books, periodicals, printed ephemera and newspapers published in Denmark since the first book was printed in the town of Odense in 1482. The term "Denmark" comprises present-day Denmark as well as countries and regions which have belonged to the Danish crown at one point in time, such as Norway until 1814, Iceland until 1944, Southern Schleswig and Holstein until 1864.

The collections have been created through legal deposit, an obligation by all printers to send one or more copies of everything they produce to the Royal Library, first promulgated in 1697 (More about legal deposit). Therefore the collections contain works dealing with every sort of subject which printers and publishers throughout the period have tried to interest the reading public. All kinds of literature are represented: fiction, school books, textbooks, scholarly monographs and journals as well as popular literature and magazines. Since 1998 cd-roms, videos and dvds have been subject to legal deposit. In addition, the library has received gifts of books and periodicals which have not been deposited.

Works published outside Denmark

Since the late 18th century the library has attempted to purchase all books and periodicals, dealing with Denmark or Danes, or translations of the writings of Danish authors. Since 2003 the emphasis on acquisition has been on works which are specifically of importance to Danish culture and research into Danish society. One finds, for example, translations into more than 90 languages of the fairy tales, novels and travelogues of Hans Christian Andersen (see vitual exhibition). The oldest printed work is a Latin oration to the Danish king from 1474.

Major and minor collections

The collections are divided into
- the major collections: printed works 1474-1997, and published works since 1998.
- the collection of pamphlets and corporate publications (established in 1902): publications produced by corporate bodies and dealing with their current internal affairs since about 1900
- the newspaper collection: newspapers from 1634 to the present
- 8 minor collections, supplementing or duplicating the major collections, such as Dano-Norwegian litterature on World War I and The Collection of Clandestine Literature published during the German Occupation of Denmark 1940-45
- 15 special collections: 11 private collections on special topics, donated to, or purchased by, The Royal Library, and 4 collections created by The Royal Library. More information here

How do I find the books?

All titles of the major and minor collections and the newspaper collection are registered in the library's online catalogue, REX. If you do not find a title, please fill out the "Special request" online form and mail.

Some of the special collections are also registered in REX. More information here