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European Heritage Days: architecture and history at the Library Am Guisanplatz (BiG)

14-15 September 2019: the Library Am Guisanplatz (BiG) and the Federal Office for Buildings and Logistics (FOBL) are taking part in the European Heritage Days – a great opportunity to learn more first-hand about the library’s architecture and its valuable treasures.

From Saturday, 14 September 2019, 10:00am
To Sunday, 15 September 2019, 4:00pm

Papiermühlestrasse 21a 3014 Bern
Visitors’ day

Pictured is the Library Am Guisanplatz
From arsenal to cultural site: the Library Am Guisanplatz BiG
© Martin Opladen

The neo-Renaissance building at Papiermühlestrasse 21A was built in 1893 to serve as the federal arsenal’s clothing depot and washhouse. This building is of great architectural significance, and has been a landmark in the Breitenrain neighbourhood from its beginnings.
In 2004/05, the building was comprehensively renovated by the Federal Office for Buildings and Logistics (FOBL), and today houses the Library Am Guisanplatz (BiG) – the information centre of the Federal Administration and the Swiss Armed Forces. This repurposing saw a listed armoury successfully metamorphose into a modern library.

Free guided tours with experts

For the European Heritage Days on 14 and 15 September 2019, the FOBL and the BiG will together bring the architecture and eventful history of this listed building closer to the public.
The architect responsible for the renovation will be giving several tours over the course of the weekend, and will be telling visitors all about the building and its architectural transformation. Historians will also be present to give insights into particularly valuable and rarely shown gems from the library's special collections.

When: Saturday, 14 September 2019 and Sunday, 15 September at 10am, 11am, 2pm and 3pm (duration: approximately 45 minutes)
Registration: free admission. Limited number of guests per guided tour (20 people max.)
Register by email at
Registrations will be considered in the order in which they are received and will not be confirmed. You will be notified if a guided tour is fully booked.

You can find the complete programme of the Heritage Days here at the site of the Nationale Informationsstelle zum Kulturerbe NIKE.



Library Am Guisanplatz BiG Papiermühlestrasse 21a
CH-3003 Berne
+41 58 464 50 99
+41 58 463 19 06


Library Am Guisanplatz BiG

Papiermühlestrasse 21a
CH-3003 Berne