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Take a Look, It’s in a Book: A Rainbow of Stunning Libraries Around the World

The best way to get a read on a city is to head to its library. From Amsterdam to Monterrey, here are the world’s most beautiful places for peace, quiet, and long reads.

A version of this appeared in the March/April 2018 issue.
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Utrecht, Netherlands
The Utrecht City Council originally established the Utrecht University Library in Saint John’s Church in 1584 as one of the first public libraries in the Netherlands. After the foundation of Utrecht University, this collection became the...
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101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20540, USA
Established in 1800, the Library of Congress is the oldest federal institution in the United States. The library was destroyed by British troops just 14 years after its conception, and Congress used Thomas Jefferson’s collection of 6,487 volumes...
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ETH Zürich, Rämistrasse 101, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
The University of Zurich’s law library was first built in 1909. Eighty years later, Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava was chosen to renovate the old building. He left the exterior mostly untouched, but for the interior he designed a stunning...
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Pátio das Escolas da Universidade de Coimbra, 3004-531 Coimbra, Portugal
King John V of Portugal commissioned the Joanina Library in 1717. Baroque architect Gaspar Ferreira enlisted the best painters, guilders, cabinet-makers, and craftsmen to design the library’s three luxurious salons. The Joanina Library houses a...