The institution

Association of Friends of the BNU

The purpose of the association of friends of the BNU (Association des Amis de la BNU - AABNU) is to bring together everyone (general public, users, institutions, library and documentation professionals) who has the desire to participate in the development of this great public establishment, which is the second most important library in France.

Picture galleries

A selection of images of the BNU.

International relations

The history of its creation and the very nature of its collections have had a considerable effect on the BNU's dynamic approach to international relations. The quantity of correspondence between directors and subsequently administrators of the library and a good number of diplomats is witness to the institution's activity in this area.


The BNU is the second most important library in France, with unique specialised collections (including Egyptology and manuscripts on Rhineland mysticism) and a European research library. It is a flagship documentary library at the regional, national and international level. With 16 000 registered users and more than 350 000 visitors each year, the library is an emblematic part of Strasbourg.

Architectural project

Thinking began on this project at the end of the 1990s, and the architectural project for the New BNU is now a reality. All the collections have now been moved, and the building work has begun, followed by the organisation of the future spaces created. Reopening to the public is scheduled in the first half of 2014.

Find out more about the project, and how it is progressing.

The BNU's partners

The BNU is under the supervision of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research. The library is firmly anchored in its political, scientific, cultural and associative environment, and has always been able to count on a number of partners in carrying out is activities.

The BNU's missions

The BNU is a national public establishment, and the second most important library in France. It has a triple vocation in terms of territorial coverage - regional, national and international.

History of the BNU

Creation of the BNU

Prior to 1870, Strasbourg was considered to be the second most important city in France for books because of the number of works conserved, more particularly in the libraries of the Protestant Seminar and the City of Strasbourg, combined at the Temple-Neuf site in Strasbourg.
During the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, Strasbourg was besieged and bombarded with cannon fire. In the night of 24 to 25 August 1870, the Temple-Neuf site was set on fire and destroyed, taking with it the entire collections kept there.

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