Profile of the Library of Commerce

The Library of Commerce is the world's oldest establishment of its kind. Its collection has grown to around 200.000 items, covering the areas of economics and social sciences, commercial, tax and business law, employment and social law, and international law and arbitration.
Additional sections are dedicated to education and training, politics and history, environmental issues everything relating to the EU internal market. The Library of Commerce holds records of statistics as well as annual reports, commemorative company publications, membership lists of the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad and more than 350 serial newspapers and periodicals.


The collection of historical items (14th to 19th century) consists of atlases, marine charts, travelogues, items of local interest and the main Hamburg newspapers and periodicals from the 18th and 19th centuries.
There is also literature about coins, weights and measures, regional geography and shipbuilding, government and political science, maritime law and international law. Since 2008, the historical collection has been part of the Hanseatic Industrial Archive, and these items can be consulted on request in the reading room.

Online catalogue (OPAC)

The online catalogue (OPAC) contains an electronic record of all the literature in the Library of Commerce. Users can search by title, author, corporation, key word, signature or a combination of these.
The online catalogue displays the current loan status of each book, and registered members with a library card can use OPAC to query their user account. Details about loans can be found in the establishment's Library use and fee regulations.
The reference collection in the reading room contains about 1.000 volumes for daily use, including all kinds of reference books, collections of commentary and court rulings, selected journals and the most important daily and weekly newspapers. All items in the library's repository can be consulted in the reading room, including historical items. The facilities include a book scanner and photocopier, a microfilm reader, seven computer workstations and a Wi-Fi connection.

Behind the scenes

Guided tours of the Library of Commerce allow visitors to learn about the history of this establishment, which dates back more than 280 years. As well as its collection, they can find out about the major renovation work that took place a few years ago and how a modern library operates. Groups are shown around the reading room as well as the repository in the basement, which is otherwise not open to the public.
If you would like to take part in a guided tour, please contact us. We will then discuss an individual appointment with you.
Opening Hours
Handelskammer Hamburg
Adolphsplatz 1
20457 Hamburg
tel +49 (0)40 3613 8373
fax +49 (0)40 3613 8437
Monday  10.00 - 16.00
Tuesday and Wednesday 12.00 – 19.00
Thursday 10.00 – 16.00
Friday 10.00 - 15.00