Copenhagen Library Tour – The Black Diamond

View from the canal

Next stop in the library tour is the Black Diamond (or Det Kongelige Bibliotek in Danish)! This is my favorite place to study in Copenhagen. The Black Diamond is part of the Royal Danish Library system and not the public library system. That is, it is the national library of Denmark. You have to register your social security card separately to use the Royal Library System. The library at my school is now part of the Royal Library.

According to Wikipedia, the Royal Danish Library is the largest library in Scandinavia. The Royal Library has four locations around the city (I will visit all four during this tour) and the main location of these four is on Slotsholmen, in Christianshavn and not far from the city town square, Rådhusplasden. The Slotsholmen location is where you’ll find the Black Diamond!

Me coming down the flat escalator

The Black Diamond is actually a new building (1999) which is connected to the old part of the Royal Library building by a large atrium with sky-lit windows. The old building contains of old, old books, records, manuscripts, archival collections, photographs, records and the like, plus a reading room. There’s also a coffee machine. 🙂 The new building contains reading rooms and stacks as well. In addition, it’s got a bookshop, cafe, exhibits downstairs (I went to their Danish political cartoon exhibit last semester), a fancy restaurant and a concert hall. It’s a bit touristy but a great place to come and do some serious study. Much more academic in focus than the public libraries, of course, especially since it’s the main library for the University of Copenhagen! You have to store your coats and bags in lockers in order to use the reading rooms in the Black Diamond, and many of the rooms have restrictions on who is allowed to enter.

I love the architecture of the Black Diamond, of course! The glass windows give a great view of the canal (sometimes you’ll see the waterbus go by or a random boat). It’s nice to walk outside the front of the library on a sunny day as well and look at the fountains or sit on the deck chairs. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves!

Reading rooms and skylight windows
Reading rooms and skylight windows

You can see the old Royal Library building (brick) and the new building (the Black Diamond)
You can see the old Royal Library building (brick) and the new building (the Black Diamond)

The atrium in the bridge connecting the old building to the new one
The atrium in the bridge connecting the old building to the new one

Books on a wall in a study area in the old building
Books on a wall in a study area in the old building

More pictures here!

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