The Crown Princess visits the Bernadotte Library

In mid-February, The Crown Princess visited the Bernadotte Library at the Royal Palace of Stockholm to find out about the ongoing work involved with the collections.

The Bernadotte Library's collections include around 100,000 books and 500,000 photographs which belonged to the Bernadotte dynasty. It also includes large collections of sheet music and maps.

During the morning, The Crown Princess visited the library and the image and album archive together with librarian Linda Österberg and Arvid Jakobsson, who has been Deputy Palace Librarian since last autumn. He is also the curator of the Bernadotte archives, the Royal Family's archives. The archives were founded by King Oskar II, and contain materials from the time of King Karl XIV Johan up to the time of King Gustaf VI Adolf.

Librarian Linda Österberg and Deputy Palace Librarian Arvid Jakobsson talk about the ongoing work involved in sorting and cataloguing King Karl XV's book collection. Photo: royalcourt.se

At the Bernadotte Library, The Crown Princess learnt about the work relating to the book collections, such as cataloguing and binding descriptions, as well as dealing with the many enquiries received from researchers and the public.

King Oskar II, who founded the family archives, had all King Karl XIV Johan's proclamations bound. Photo: royalcourt.se

The history of the Bernadotte Library

When Nicodemus Tessin the Younger was commissioned to design a new palace following the fire of 1697, his design included a library. However, it was not Tessin's plan that was eventually used – a later architect's design was used instead. His name was Carl Johan Cronstedt, and the library was completed in 1796.

The collections grew and the character of the library changed from a private royal library into a Swedish national library. By the 1860s, the library had started to become too cramped. There were shelves out on the floor, and the Museum of Antiquities was being used as a storehouse. In late autumn 1877, the royal library moved to new library premises on Humlegården and retained the name the Royal Library. The writer August Strindberg worked for four years in the palace wing and for four years on Humlegården.

Between 1878 and 1906, the library premises were used for exhibitions and as a museum, including for the Royal Armoury.

The former Royal Library reading room, which is now used as an office. The Crown Princess is shown a print showing the reading room in days gone by, drawn by Nils G. Janzon. Photo: royalcourt.se

King Oskar II died in 1907. He was an active book collector, reader and poet, and left a large collection of books including books that had been passed down through two previous generations and books that he had collected during his lifetime. During the reign of King Gustaf V, the library was known as His Majesty The King's Library. The royal court has access to the library, and researchers could also use it "by agreement".

In 1952, King Gustaf VI Adolf renamed the library the Bernadotte Library, and the books were arranged according to the principle of provenance, whereby each king's and queen's books were grouped individually.

Today, the Bernadotte Libraryopens in new window is a library museum that can be booked for tours.

The Bernadotte Library is sometimes used for seminars and events in which the Royal Family participate. Here, a seminar on preventing isolation has been arranged by The Crown Princess Couple's Foundation. Photo: royalcourt.se