No. We only charge for special services such as preparing reproductions of the materials. Our price list  for these services is available on our website.

No, you do not need a confirmation from a university or similar. The holdings are also open to the public for private research.

The Archives of the Akademie der Künste have several reading rooms, e.g., Main Reading Room, Reading Room Pariser Platz, Bertolt-Brecht-Archive Reading Room, Walter Benjamin Archive Reading Room, Art Collection Reading Room. The reader application to view materials is only valid for the reading room of the archives where those materials are held. To use other reading rooms, you need to apply to each of those reading rooms individually. Researching our Archives Database also provides information on where the particular archival materials are held. The details of the various Reading Rooms and locations are available on our website.

You may take pencils, paper and a laptop into the reading room. Mobile phones are not allowed in the reading rooms. For security reasons, jackets, coats, bags (including laptop bags and handbags) are not permitted in the Reading Rooms. No food or drink may be taken into the Reading Rooms.
To protect our originals, no ballpoint pens, fineliners, fountains pens, marker pens, etc. are allowed in the Reading Rooms, i.e. only pencils are permitted.


Contact the Visitor Services by phone or email at the Reading Room providing access to the materials you wish to view. You can then make an appointment with the staff there to reserve a place for you to view the archival material. To view the materials, you have to be registered as a reader.

Anyone wanting to view archival materials in our reading rooms has to register in our Archives Database. This registration process must be completed before your first visit to one of our reading rooms. The process involves printing out and signing your registration application. You can bring this form completed and signed with you when you first visit the reading room. When you visit an Archives Reading Room for the first time, you will also be asked to present some form of photo identification, such as a government-issued photo ID or passport, or an equivalent.

No, you can search the Archives Database without registering. Simply click on ‘Recherche’ to access the Archives Database. Please note that the Archives Database language is German.

If you are only planning to search to the online catalogue, there is no need to register. Registration is only required if you are planning to view materials in one of our reading rooms. By signing the registration form, you are agreeing to abide by the policies and procedures of the Academy Archives on access to the materials.
In addition, registering does have certain advantages for researching our online catalogue allowing you, for example, to open an online ‘workbook’ for your research results and view digital attachments.

You need to specify a user name with at least 4 characters and a password with at least 8 characters.
The registration form comprises two pages.
You have to enter your personal details on the first page. Our privacy policy explains how we collect, process, store and use such personal data. You also need to read our Access Regulations explaining the use of our Archives and Library. To use our Archives, you have to tick the boxes confirming that you give your informed and active consent to our Access Regulations and Privacy Policy.
On the second page of your registration, you can then enter your research interests or research topic. In addition to your research topic, you can enter the archives or collections you would like to use, the purpose of your research and the institution where you are conducting your research.
If you click “add (another) archives group”, you can then enter the name of the archives or collection for your research in the field provided. Clicking on the designated name of the archives or collections includes them in your registration form. All the individual archives or collections you wish to view for your research must be included in your reader application form.

Reader registration is only for one calendar year. Readers have to renew their registrations before using the reading rooms in the new calendar year. Registrations can be renewed by clicking on the link „add another theme”. You then have to print out and sign the new registration form.
If the topic you are working on changes during the year or if you are working on various topics at the same time, you need to register for each topic.
To view materials from an archive or collection not listed in your existing registration, you need to add the new archive or collection to your current registration.

If you have forgotten your password, contact our staff to have your password reset.

Ordering archival materials

To order archival materials you need to complete an order slip in the reading room. When ordering, please note the retrieval times for archival materials. At our Main Reading Room and our Reading Room Pariser Platz, the retrieval times for requests for materials are 10 am and 1pm. Unless held in external storage, materials and books requested after 1 pm will be available to view the next working day.

Before you visit, you can place an advance request up to 5 call numbers at the Reading Room providing access to the materials you wish to view either by phone, in writing or by email.

Ordering reproductions

To order copies or scans etc., you first need to submit a request. As a rule, our Reading Room Regulations allow for the provision of 50 copied pages per person and per topic in any given year. It may be possible, though, to make other arrangements in individual cases.
We are unable to provide scans or copies where this contravenes copyright restrictions or is contrary to our own guidelines on the conservation and preservation of materials. If your request for copies is not granted, you will be informed of the reasons by the responsible member of staff.
The preparation of the copies or scans takes an average of 14 days unless permissions from copyright holders are required.
Please collect your copy and scan requests on the appropriate application form and hand it in at the end of your research, at the latest half an hour before the Reading Rooms close.

In this case, you have to complete and sign your reader registration form together with a copy/scan request, and submit both forms by post or email.

You can register directly in the Archives Database. All other forms are available on our website.

No. Under copyright law and our guidelines on the conservation and preservation of materials, photographing or copying materials in our Reading Rooms is not permitted.

Finding items

You can search for materials in the Archives Database. Books can be found through the online electronic library catalogue (OPAC).

To research the holdings in a particular archive, either select the particular archive from the dropdown menu under ‘Archives department’ (Archivabteilung) or click on ‘overview of archives’ (Bestandsübersicht) at the top left, and enter the name of the archive or collection in the field ‘free text search’ (Freitextsuche). The archive or collection you are looking for then appears in the tree view (Bestandsbaum). If you click on the name of the archive or collection in the tree view, the right-hand window displays the individual items with their call numbers. If you click on the small plus sign next to the name of the archive or collection in the tree view, the tree is expanded to show the classifications in the holdings. Here, you can also filter your search by selecting individual categories such as ‘letters’ (please choose German terms). In this case, the right-hand window only displays the items in your selected category.
Our Archives Database also offers detailed information on how to use the search function (click on the small question mark sign). Please note that the Archives Database language is German.

A call number is sequential reference number assigned to particular items in the archives. In our Archives Database, the call numbers comprise the name of the specific archive and a number, e.g. WBA 0391 refers to an item in the Walter Benjamin Archive.

Once you have selected the archive or clicked on the name in the tree view, you can enter a title, name or keyword in the search field to look for an item in the archive or collection.

The ‘search within results’ function (Innerhalb des Ergebnisses suchen) is set below the free text field and can be activated by ticking the box next to it. For example, if you search first for all the call numbers for a person’s name, you can then click on the filter function to search within the results, i.e. then add ‘Brief*’ (‘letter’) in the text box to limit the search just to letters. The terms must be German to find results in the Archives Database.

Not all the photos and documents in the Akademie der Künste holdings have been digitised. Moreover, the Akademie does not hold the rights to all archived photographs. In these cases, the preview images in our online catalogue are replaced by placeholders.

This could be for one of several reasons:

  • The Database is an ongoing project, and does not yet included all our archived materials. A part of our holdings can be only located using conventional finding aids. For more details, contact our staff.
  • No online search is possible for certain archival items which are subject to special statutory conditions of use. For more details, contact our staff.
  • Try a new search with a new keywords and combinations, or vary names or titles.