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University Library

A historical church was torn down in order to create space for the University Library with its thousands of books and periodicals. Located in the Broerstraat, it is opposite the Academy Building, which is beautifully reflected in its high windows.

A 400-year history

1st library

Founded in 1615, the Groningen University Library is one of the oldest libraries in the Netherlands. This first library was housed in a wing of an old Franciscan monastery, located opposite the Academy Building and at the time in use as Latin School – the predecessor of the current Praedinius Gymnasium in Groningen - and as a church for the University.

2nd library

Despite numerous renovations, it was later decided that the monastery complex no longer satisfied the requirements and in 1864 a new library was opened, designed by J.W. Schaap. Next to the library, the St Martinus Church was built in 1895.

3rd library

Despite having being expanded with stacks in 1898, the library was once again found to be inadequate for the increasing demands made on it. This led to the opening of a completely new library in 1919, designed by the architect of the current Academy Building, J.A.W. Vrijman.

4th library

The explosive growth of the University after the Second World War meant that the library once again no longer satisfied the needs of the time. In the 1970s, various plans for a new library were developed, including a relocation to Paddepoel, an area in the north-west of the city.

However, the city authorities attached great value to a University Library in the centre of town. In order to make that possible, the ideas revolved around a library that made use of the St Martinus Church building, which was then no longer in use as a church. Although on the list of protected monuments, the decision was eventually taken to demolish the church in order to make way for academia. Designed by architect P.H. Tauber, it was built in 1987.

Last modified:14 March 2017 4.20 p.m.
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