Library collections

The library at the Etnografiska museet/Museum of Ethnography is a well-provided library with literature on non-European cultures and indigenous people in specialist subjects such as ethnography, anthropology, archaeology, religious and art history. Literature about material cultures, describing ethnographic objects, is particularly well represented. Both scientific and popular scientific literature can be found here including a total of 45,000 books and periodicals. In addition, the library has an extensive collection of exhibition catalogues from various ethnographic museums around the world.


If you are interested in traditional African art, then a visit to the Etnografiska museet is a must. Here you find important journals on the subject and a large number of monographs. In addition to exhibition catalogues, there is specialised literature such as collectible travel journals from Africa and missionary literature. More recent literature includes monographs with focus on the material culture of Africa. In addition, the library reference section is a useful source for learning about different ethnic groups, languages, cultural history and architectural styles.


The library at the Etnografiska museet has an extensive collection of books about the Inuit people (Eskimos) and the indigenous people of North and South America. Here, you will find books and periodicals on the archaeology, ethnography, religion, technology and arts of these people. The books are divided into the following sections: The Arctic region, North America (north of Mexico), Central America, the Caribbean and South America.

The library is an endless source of information about for example pre-Columbian cultures, arts, crafts and architecture as well as famous chiefs, warriors and the American-Indian wars in North American. There is also plenty of literature on topics such as shamanism and other religious phenomena, contemporary arts and crafts as well as the social, economic and political situation of indigenous people. Furthermore, the library has a number of reference books covering the same topics.


The literature in the library at the Etnografiska museet that relates to Asia consists primarily of books that have either been acquired by the museum itself or donated by well-known Swedish research specialists on Asia. Most of the literature covers East and Central Asia (China-Tibet-Japan) but there are also books about South Asia, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Burma. The book collections reflect the object collections and research carried out at the museum. As a result, only a smaller number of books relate to West, South and Southeast Asia as well as Indonesia and Siberia. Nonetheless, the exhibition catalogues and journals in the library are a significant enhancement to the coverage of the Asian Continent.


The Etnografiska museet has received a number of book donations that are of great value to the museum's field of work. Among the more special collections can be found Sigvald Linné's library of Central American archaeology and pre-Columbian art and Björn Strand's book collection on the Native Americans. The library section on Southeast Asia and Indonesia has been further enhanced through a donation of books from Camilla Hollander. The same section also includes Otto Wigardt's literary collection about tea and the history of tea. The extensive donation received from Karl-Erik Larsson has among others led to an expansion of the library section on Oceania.


The Sven Hedin Foundation manages Sven Hedin's Public Library. Literature relating to Sven Hedin's travels and scientific work can be found at the Etnografiska museet. The library contains around 3,000 books and reprints and constitutes one of Sweden's foremost collections of ancient literature on East and Central Asia. Also Iran (Persia), Caucasus and South Asia are well represented.

Sven Hedin's Public Library includes an almost complete collection of Western literature on Tibet from ancient prints (1624) until the death of Sven Hedin in 1952.

Close to 1,000 volumes have since been added to the collection either by the staff at Sven Hedin's Public Library or by way of acquisition to fill in gaps in the collection. In addition, Sven Hedin's Public Library has an almost complete collection of around 500 publications of Sven Hedin's own work as well as the translation of this into a variety of languages. The library also has a constantly updated section of bibliographies and monographs about Sven Hedin.