Library

The library of the Beethoven-Haus is a scientific library and music library serving special purposes related to Ludwig van Beethoven's biography, oeuvre and impact. The library owns more than 80,000 items (sheet music, books, essays, articles, magazines, audio and audiovisual media). Reproductions of manuscripts from other libraries (more than 6,000 photographs and microfilms) as well as the original proprietary collections of the Beethoven-Haus (about 10,000 autographs, pictures and images, instruments, objects and files) complement the library’s inventory.

The Beethoven-Haus library collects literature, music supplies and audio media about and related to Beethoven and his surroundings from the early beginning until today. The entire inventory is listed in catalogues and the library also maintains a digital archive. Regarding the acquisition, protection, indexing and digitalisation of the inventory, particular focus is set on first and early prints and Beethoven's own library.

The Beethoven-Haus library is open to the public for free. The whole inventory can be used on request in the reading room.

Opening hours

The opening hours are Mondays to Fridays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m.

As the number of places available in the reading room is limited, we kindly ask you to register in advance either in written to

Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Bibliothek
Bonngasse 24-26, 53111 Bonn, Germany,
Phone at +49 228/98175-12 or -13
or via email at bibliothek@beethoven.de.

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Holdings

The holdings and collections of the library comprise printed primary and secondary sources on Beethoven's life, work and reception: sheet music (first and early editions), books, essays, periodicals, audio and video media, reproductions of manuscripts owned by other libraries. As far as scholarly publications, first editions of music, reproductions of sources and the reconstruction of Beethoven's library are concerned, we aim for comprehensive coverage. The library holdings are complemented by the museum's collections (manuscripts, pictures and other items).

Read more about the library holdings

Catalogues

At the library all sources and media of the Beethoven-Haus are catalogued for documentary and academic purposes. Several research tools are provided.

Catalogue research:
  • Library catalogue (search for literature, music scores, facsimile editions and audio-visual materials; 66,400 titles)
  • Catalogue for autographs (search for music manuscripts, letters and other hand written documents; 3,000 titles)
  • Catalogue for pictures (search for pictures, sculptures, music instruments and other objects; 5,000 titles)
  • Press catalogue (search for articles from the daily press concerning the topic Beethoven; 12,100 titles)

In the reading room of the library you have access to additional catalogues (reproductions of manuscript sources and files of the Beethoven-Haus Association).

Lists:

Digital Archives:
The Digital Archives provide systematic access to the digitised holdings of the Beethoven-Haus. Besides images and bibliographic information rich audio and text data, search tools and index browsing are available.

The reading room of the library also offers access to images with higher resolution.

Links:
For additional information and search tools, please see our link list

How to order

Reproductions and terms of use

1. On the website of the Beethoven-Haus users from all over the world may access the institution's digitalised inventory free of charge for non-commercial purposes only. When using digitised media, the Beethoven-Haus must be indicated as owner in the following way: "Beethoven-Haus Bonn" and/or "Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Sammlung H.C. Bodmer". The permanent link to the digitised item, referred to in German as "Link auf diese Seite" or "Permalink", must also be indicated.

2. Scans, printouts and copies for non-commercial use can be ordered with costs from the library of the Beethoven-Haus:
bibliothek@beethoven.de.
Digitised media and printouts that a user has obtained by ordering may not be used as a master for printing, be reproduced, posted on the Internet or transferred to third parties.

3. Of each publication for which the ordered material served as a working basis, the customer agrees to send an author copy free of charge to the following address:
Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Bibliothek, Bonngasse 24-26, 53111 Bonn, Germany

4. Prices and terms of delivery
  • Digitised inventory:
    The price for a file (image) with high resolution (600 respectively 400 dpi) or a colour printout is 6 Euro.

  • Non-digitised inventory:
    The price for a file (image) with medium resolution (150 dpi) is 1 Euro (black-and-white picture) or 2 Euro (colour picture).
    The price for a file (image) with a resolution of 300 dpi is 3 Euro (black-and-white picture) or 6 Euro (colour picture).
    The price for a low-quality paper photocopy (DIN-A-4) is 25 Cent. Prices for high-quality paper copies and prints on demand. In the library a photocopying machine and a top-view scanner are available for low cost reproductions. Library users may also bring their own photographic device.
For each order a one-time processing fee of 10 Euro is charged.

The stated prices are final prices, including the legal VAT, plus charges for postage and packaging.
Payment is due after receipt of the order confirmation. Once the payment has been received, the order will be shipped to the customer.

5. The terms of use for business or commercial purposes as well as for other purposes implying re-publication are stipulated by the photographic service (Bildstelle) of the Beethoven-Haus and can be obtained from:
bildstelle@beethoven.de
Phone: +49 228-98175-19
Among these purposes is in particular the use of digitised items as a master for printed publications, as a PDF file, app, eBook for download and to integrate and display them in electronic disks and paid offers on websites that are intended primarily for business or commercial use.
The corresponding fees vary depending on purpose and are in line with the typical charges for using photographs and images as determined by the German Mittelstandsgemeinschaft Foto-Marketing. The fee includes the charges for the ordered file.

Acquisitions

Beethoven's library

How did he educate himself? What principles of his time did he follow? What influences was he exposed to?
Questions concerning Beethoven's mind and the mind-set of his environment are always present. In order to study Beethoven's knowledge in detail, his library shall be reconstructed. The most important sources for this endeavour are auction and assessments reports, letters, conversation booklets, diaries, notes, composition masters and utterances of his contemporaries. Read more

The reconstruction of Beethoven's library has the aim to:
  • identify all books and sheet music the composer ever read, studied, copied, extracted, put to music, owned, borrowed and lent, gave away, planned to buy or discussed in conversations,

  • identify the editions and issues as well as to acquire parallel copies,

  • present them in the library and the Digital Archive of the Beethoven-Haus and add them to the library catalogue and describe and annotate them in the Digital Archive and in printed publications.

The whole collection will comprise an estimated 800 titles. The library catalogue informs about the actual number of holdings, while the list of desired titles contains the missing ones.

By adopting a book, numerous friends of the Beethoven-Haus have been supporting the reconstruction of the library. Here you also can find lists with books waiting for adoption and books acquired thanks to adoptions.