Library Ferdinand Franz Wallraf

November 2020: Our current YouTube video about the Wallraf Library
"A tour de force with sensitivity: the restoration of the Wallraf Library".

2020: A tour de force with sensitivity:
Restoration of the library Wallraf

2019: Restoration of Wallraf
books in the studio for
Paper Restoration Ferlmann

2016: "Wallraf digital"
Interview with Dr. Christiane Hoffrath

Wallraf in the middle of his collection, drawing by B. Nikolas Salm (1810-1883), Cologne 1820, Foto: Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Foundation Corboud


The Wallraf's collections, the "Wallrafianum", included both minerals, specimens, paintings, sculptures, documents and manuscripts and an extensive library. When the Cologne monastery property fell victim to secularisation in 1802, Wallraf endeavoured to secure the remaining holdings of Cologne and Lower Rhine religious orders.

In this way his collection of books acquired an almost universal character. Wallraf left his collections to the city of Cologne. Together with the Syndikatsbibliothek des Kölner Rates (Syndicate Library of the Cologne Council), the "Wallraf Library" formed the basis of the former Cologne City Library, which became part of the new University and City Library in 1920. Today, the UCLA is home to the majority of the former Wallraf Library. Other book collections are also located in the ZB MED – Information Centre for Life Sciences and city institutions such as the Stadtmuseum, the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum and the Historical Archive of the City of Cologne. The manuscripts of the collection are kept in the city archive.

You can consult books from the Wallraf Library for research purposes in the reading room Historical Collections .

Portrait Ferdinand Franz Wallraf, painting by Egidius Mengelberg (1770-1849), Köln 1824


Ferdinand Franz Wallraf influenced the cultural life of his home town Cologne like hardly any other citizen of his time. Thanks to his generous legacy, which culturally adorns the city and some of its institutions, he is still vividly remembered by the people of Cologne today as a collector and patron of the arts. We are very proud to be able to preserve an important book collection from his legacy. Wallraf's life spanned three important political phases, which, however, could not limit his activities and success.  His only confession was his steadfast patriotism and his love for his hometown Cologne, regardless of the prevailing political circumstances. His scientific work and his collecting activities protected him in the many upheavals of his time.

Learn more about Wallraf's life in Cologne under changing circumstances >>




Augustinus, Aurelius: "Homiliae" und "De disciplina christiana" Köln: Ulrich Zell, ca 1470, shelf mark: ENNE21.Thanks to a book sponsorship this volume was restored in 2018 >>



  • The library of Ferdinand Franz Wallraf is in a desolate state. Thanks to the support of the Federal Government, the State and the City of Cologne, as well as private book sponsorships, the books of Archbishop Wallraf are to be completely renovated and restored. Our sponsors >>
  • In 2018 we were able to save particularly endangered volumes from the Ferdinand Franz Wallraf library through the sponsorship project "Wallrafs Bücher". Our special thanks go to all private donors! "Wallrafs Bücher" >>