The Dombibliothek Freising

The book collections from the Dombibliothek Freising (Cathedral Library Freising) together with those from the Bibliothek des Metropolitankapitels München (Library of the Munich Metropolitan Chapter) form the Diözesanbibliothek des Erzbistums München und Freising (Diocesan Library of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising).

A library probably existed on Freising’s Domberg soon after the foundation of the diocese in 739. A planned development of the library through an extremely fruitful writing school began with Bishop Arbeo (764-784) and was continued continuously in the following period. In total, more than 650 medieval codices have been preserved from the cathedral library. The Freising cathedral chapter was responsible for the library. When the chapter house attached to the cloister was rebuilt (probably in 1448), the library was given its own room on the upper floor.

In addition to this chapter library, there was a court library in the prince-bishop’s residence for the attention of the prince-bishop, which existed at least as early as the time of Bishop Philip of the Palatinate (1498-1541). In 1696, Bishop Johann Franz Eckher von Kapfing (1695/96-1727) had this library arranged and provided with his bookplate.

In conjunction with the new Baroque construction of the library hall (still preserved today) above the cloister, the chapter and court libraries were united in 1734. The "neue gemainsambe offentliche Bibliothek" (new joint public library) was also accessible to the learned public. Numerous libraries from academically interested canons and prince-bishops were integrated into the collection over time.

After the secularisation of the Bishopric of Freising in 1802, all manuscripts and numerous other books were transferred to the Electoral Court Library (today’s Bayerische Staatsbibliothek – Bavarian State Library) in Munich. Conversely, some library remains from the Benedictine monastery of Weihenstephan, the Premonstratensian monastery of Neustift and the Carmelite monastery of Straubing were added during this period.

This book collection (approx. 5,000 volumes) was given to Freising’s newly founded clerical seminary of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising in 1826. The library has now been replenished through numerous donations and bequests from the archdiocesan clergy. In 1857, the diocesan library (approx. 15,000 volumes) was also added, which had been founded in Munich in 1829 through the purchase of the Provost Michael Hauber’s library.

When the seminary was moved to Munich in 1968, most of the books remained in Freising; in 1983, the Klerikalseminarstiftung (Clerical Seminary Foundation) transferred its book holdings to the archdiocese. The cathedral library was subsequently expanded into a generally accessible humanities library and took on the function of a diocesan library (among other things, as a collection point for the holdings of dissolved church libraries and for church music). From 1994, it was based in the converted building of the former cathedral grammar school on the south side of Domplatz.

Due to the planned structural redesign of Freising’s Domberg, the cathedral library was closed in 2015 until further notice, and the book collections were moved to the diocesan archive and library storage in Neufahrn near Freising.

Collections owned by the Dombibliothek Freising available on bavarikon


Archiv und Bibliothek des Erzbistums München und Freising
Karmeliterstr. 1
(Entrance Pacellistr.)
80333 München

Telephone: +49 (089/2137-1346
Fax: +49 (0)89/2137-1702