Rütimeyer Library

Our library represents the founding basis of today’s collections, which total around 185,000 titles. It is a highly specialised library in the subject areas of the museum’s collections and has been running for over a hundred years.

The Rütimeyer Library focuses on scientific writings about mammals, birds, insects, molluscs, the geology and palaeontology of the Basel region, as well as reference literature for items in the collections.

The library at Natural History Museum Basel was named in honour of Ludwig Rütimeyer (1825–1895). Rütimeyer was a professor of mammalian palaeontology and comparative animal anatomy at the University of Basel from 1855 until his death. In Switzerland, he is considered the true founder of this discipline. As such, Rütimeyer was also responsible for the corresponding collections in the Natural History Museum Basel. The university library was separated then from the ‘Universal Museum’. Rütimeyer acted with great foresight. When he left his private specialised library to the university library, he stipulated in his will that it was on the condition the Natural History Museum Basel continue to curate it and pay for its upkeep.


The Rütimeyer Library is part of the IDS Basel-Bern (Informationsverbund Deutschschweiz, the information network of German-speaking Switzerland).
University Library Basel


  • The Rütimeyer Library is open to the public and in-person visits are permitted after prior arrangement by phone. 
  • All media can be borrowed, with only a few exceptions.
  • Interlibrary loans are possible if there isn’t a copy in any other Swiss library.