Det Kongelige Bibliotek

Lonely Planet review

The largest library in Scandinavia, Det Kongelige Bibliotek has two very distinct parts: the original, 19th-century red-brick building and the head-turning ‘Black Diamond’ extension, completed in 1999. Sporting a sleek black granite facade, smoked black windows and a leaning parallelogram design, the extension is one of Copenhagen’s most striking examples of contemporary architecture.

Inside, Denmark’s national library contains a complete collection of all Danish printed works produced since 1482 and houses some 21 million items in all.

In the lobby (which comes complete with canal views), be sure you don’t miss the 210-sq-metre ceiling mural by the celebrated Danish artist Per Kirkeby, as well as the library’s fascinating, temporary art and history exhibitions.

There’s also a bookshop and a light-filled restaurant serving contemporary Danish dishes.