The Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe - Institute of the Leibniz Association is home to an extensive and diverse range of collections relating to East Central Europe, including a library with a music and press collection together with an image archive and a document and map collection. The materials held in the image archive and the document and music collection are particularly unique in character.
The collection area spans modern-day Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and the Kaliningrad Region, as well as the Czech Republic and Slovakia. There are also materials relating to Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Hungary. Thematic focuses are history, art history, culture, and the region’s common cultural heritage, while the time frame spans from medieval documents right up to current publications, and includes image, map and archive materials in both digital and analog form. The collections are increasingly searchable online and many of them can also be viewed online.
History of the holdings
The Herder Institute was founded by the Johann Gottfried Herder Research Council (HFR) in late April 1950. Its original function was to support the HFR by researching the “countries and peoples in Eastern Europe”, a task which included conducting its own research, producing publications and supplying materials and other tools to aid research. To this end, the Herder Institute has been building up collections since it was established, including book and newspaper collections, press, press cuttings, pictures (excluding paintings), maps, and archive materials. These collections have been sourced from a range of places, including privately owned estates, institutions, and film archives. They have been gifted, purchased, exchanged, or have come to the Institute on loan. Additions are distributed, partly according to material type, across several collection areas and the library. Over time, the document collection has come to specialize in the collection of written documents relating to the Baltic countries.

The history of the Herder Institute's holdings and collections is currently being researched in the doctoral project "The History of the Holdings of the Herder Institute – Cultural techniques and their application as practices in searching and finding" (Antje Coburger).
Contained materials
Archival materials
ca. 1.300 lfm/lm
Bibliographic units
ca. 520.000
Image carriers
ca. 622.500
ca. 46.000
ca. 23.000
ca. 1.100 lfm/lm
Newspaper clippings
ca. 5 Millionen
External Image