The National Library of Poland has marked 90 years since it was founded, with President Andrzej Duda calling it “an invaluable part of Polish heritage”.
The present National Library was created in February 1928 by Ignacy Mościcki, then president of Poland, though the institution has existed in various forms since the 18th century and first opened to the public in 1747.
President Andrzej Duda said: “The National Library previously existed as one of the oldest European national libraries.”
The National Library “is an invaluable part of not only Polish but also European intellectual heritage… it is an extremely important contribution to our national identity, as a place of culture, as well as a place of safekeeping cultural achievements, but above all as part of maintaining Polish traditions.”
The National Library suffered significant damage to its holdings during the Second World War, with a reported 800,000 registered items lost, including items of great historical significance.
Culture Minister Piotr Gliński said: “Seventy percent of Poland’s library items were destroyed during the Second World War. Of the forty employees, only five remained after the war… Despite this, the institution functions brilliantly today.”
The National Library “is a very valuable institution and one which Poles continue to love… it has been destroyed twice, and it has been created three times,” Gliński added.
Despite past damage, the National Library still has a collection of historical manuscripts, with the oldest one dating to the late 8th century.