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The Royal Library of Belgium (Koninklijke Bibliotheek België in Dutch, Bibliothèque royale de Belgique in French, abbreviated KBR and sometimes nicknamed Albertina) is one of the most important cultural institutions in Belgium. The library has a history that goes back to the age of the Dukes of Burgundy. In the second half of the 20th century, a new building was constructed on the Mont des Arts in central Brussels, near the Central Station. The library owns several collections of historical importance, like the famous Fétis archives, and is the depository for all books ever published in Belgium or abroad by Belgian authors.
There are four million bound volumes in the Royal Library, including a rare book collection numbering 45,000 works. The library has more than 700,000 engravings and drawings, 150,000 maps and plans, and more than 250,000 objects, from coins to scales to monetary weights. This coin collection holds one of the most valuable coins in the field of numismatics, a fifth-century Sicilian tetradrachm.
Created in 1965, the Music Division of the Royal Library of Belgium is the most important scientific center of the Country for the preservation and study of music-related documents. The Music Division holds hundreds of thousands manuscript and printed scores, about one hundred thousand sound archives, large collections of musicians’ letters, concert programs and posters, photographs and other iconographic materials, ending with some 800 music-related objects such as medals, paintings, sculptures, music instruments. Its initial core is represented by the music library of Belgian musicologist François-Joseph Fétis, one of the richest collections of early music of the 19th century (including notably an autograph of Johan Sebastian Bach). It then expanded into a musicological reference library unique in Belgium, thanks to an active acquisition policy and to a number of music collections - from the 18th century until today - linked to personalities or institutions involved in Belgian and international musical life, such as Bela Bartók, César Franck, André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry, Franz Liszt, Albert Roussel, Henry Vieuxtemps, Guillaume Lekeu, Eugène Ysaÿe.