The National Széchényi Library (Hungarian: Országos Széchényi Könyvtár) (OSZK) is a library in Budapest, Hungary. It is one of the two Hungarian national libraries, the other being the University of Debrecen Library.

History

The library was founded in 1802 by the highly patriotic Hungarian aristocrat Count Ferenc Széchényi. Széchényi traveled the world buying Hungarian books, which he assembled and donated to the nation. In the following year the public library was opened in Pest. Széchényi's example resulted in a nationwide movement of book donations to the library.

In 1808 the Hungarian National Assembly ("Diet") created the Hungarian National Museum to collect the historical, archaeological and natural relics of Hungary. The Museum was merged into the Library and for the last 200 years this is how it has existed, a national depository for written, printed and objective relics of the Hungarian past.

In 1846 the Hungarian National Museum moved into its new building but it was not until 1949 that the Library became a separate entity again, with its current name. In 1985 the library moved to its new home at the Buda Castle Palace.

Collections
  • Hungarian publishing houses printed copies for every printed material:
    • publications and prints of any kind produced in Hungary
    • works published abroad in the Hungarian language or written by Hungarian authors.
    • non-book materials (sound recordings, video materials, electronic documents, etc.);
  • 8 million items comprising :
    • 2.5 million books
    • 385,000 volumes of serial publications (newspapers and periodicals)
    • 270,000 written and audio music documents
    • 1 million manuscripts
    • 200,000 maps, including the Tabula Hungariae, which was inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 2007
    • 320,000 pictures and engravings
    • 3 million posters and small prints.
    • microfilm copies of more than 272,000 documents.
  • Collection of Early Books
    • the first book printed in Hungary, the Chronica Hungarorum ("Chronicle of the Hungarians"), which was printed and published in 1473
    • 8,600 copies of works published before 1711
    • 1,814 incunabula dating from the first century of book printing
    • the oldest existing text in Hungarian: the 12th century Funeral Sermon and Prayer is the first known continuous prose text in Hungarian (and in the Uralic language family as a whole).
    • the first known Hungarian poem (Old Hungarian Lament of Mary the Virgin)
    • the oldest surviving manuscript of the first Hungarian law-book (Decretum Sancti Stephani Regis, "Decree of Saint Stephen the King")
    • 35 Corvina codices from the library of King Matthias Corvinus.

Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via Annotator
  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference and added a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com