History The Bernadotte Library

Books from The Bernadotte Library Collection. Photo: The Royal Court/Alexis Daflos.
Building a large national library at the Royal Palace in Stockholm was part of the work that architect Nicodemus Tessin the Young was commissioned to carry out.

A Royal Library existed in the original palace that burned down in 1697. It contained the Royal book collection and a national collection that had quickly grown thanks to legal deposits to the library.

The law regarding legal deposits dates back to 1662 and states that every printer in the realm must provide one example of every printed work to the crown.

The law still applies today, but has been extended. Today, printers provide seven complimentary copies to the Royal Library (KB) and large university libraries.

A library is formed

Over the years there have been several sets of plans for the library. Tessin´s original plan for the north western wing included a wall-division dividing the room into two long and narrow rooms. These plans were not realized during his lifetime.

Tessin´s successor, palace architect Carl Hårleman proposed a room with small side cubicles and an open walkway in the middle. This too was never realized.

Architect Carl Johan Cronstedt

Finally, palace architect Carl Johan Cronstedt´s proposal of a large open space with a wall on the northern side, building a corridor towards the north outer wall was implemented.

Thanks to the height of the ceilings, the same high ceilings as in the Royal Chapel and the Hall of State, it was possible to build two entresols in the corridor, resulting in three storage corridors.

White and gold

The library took a long time to build. At the beginning of the 1700s  there  were plans to pain the library in white and gold.

However, when it was finally finished at the end of the 1700s, styles and taste had changed and unpainted oak was preferred.

The Royal Library (KB)

The Royal Library´s operations started off in the corridors in circa 1760.

It was not until 1796 that all the interiors were finished and the building could be put to use.