The Manuscript Collection

The Royal Library's Manuscript Collection contains manuscripts which range from the early middle ages to the present. The manuscripts are primarily, though not exclusively, related to European and especially Danish, history, literary and cultural history.

The holdings amount to more than four and a half shelf kilometres of parchment and paper manuscripts. Each individual document is an irreplaceable treasure, whether it is an illuminated manuscript, a letter, diary, notes or other papers. The general public can access most of these documents in the Research Reading Room of the Royal Danish Library.

The Heart Book

The so-called "Heart-Book" from the 1550s is the oldest Danish ballad manuscript. 

Manuscripts and private archives are also found in other Danish institutions, such as the National Archives, numerous local archives, The Labour Movement's Library and the Women's History Archive at the Royal Library in Aarhus. 

There is a time-honoured tradition of division of labour among Danish archives. As a rule the Royal Library's Manuscript Collection receives documents left by individuals within the arts, culture, the humanities and all branches of science, whereas the department of private archives of the National Archives collects documents left by politicians and civil servants. The Library and Archives of the Labour Movement preserves the papers left by labour movement personalities. The collection of papers in the Women's History Archive at the Royal Library Aarhus has functioned as a national archive in this field since 1988.