Copyright and Terms of Use

Access to

All content on can be searched and read for free. As a general rule, content can also be downloaded or printed and is available from a location of your choice, including for example your home. However, some collections, such as the postcards collection, as well as a number of individual articles or photographs, are only accessible inside the building of the National Library.

Such limited access collections are marked with "Access only inside the National library" or "Access only BnL".

Access to content through is based the National Library’s mission to "ensure access by the largest possible public to its collections, including from outside its buildings, using the most modern data transmission technologies" ("d'assurer l'accès du plus grand nombre aux collections, y compris par (...) la consultation à distance, en utilisant les technologies les plus modernes de transmission des données", Loi du 25 juin 2004 portant réorganisation des instituts culturels de l'Etat, Article 9)

Permitted uses

You are allowed to make a private copy of all content available on Private copying is based on an exception and limitation of Luxembourg copyright law. Private copying excludes for instance the possibility to use such copies for indirect or direct commercial purposes. For more information on permitted uses, please see below under the heading "Protected works".

Content which is part of the Public Domain can be used for any purpose, including commercial use, without asking for permission. Public Domain content is marked with this icon:

No Copyright

Content which is not part of the Public Domain, is protected by copyright.

Copyright has several limitations and exceptions, such as private copying. If limitations and exceptions do not cover your desired use, you have to get permission from the author and any other potential rights holder (publisher, translator, illustrator, etc.). For further Information on permitted uses through the limitations and exceptions in copyright law, please see below "Protected Works".

Protected content is marked with this icon:

In Copyright

additionally, if only accessible inside the buildings of the National Library, with "Access only inside the National library" or "Access only BnL".

Citation and attribution

To correctly attribute your sources please use the "quotation mark" icon :


An automatically generated source citation will pop up:


Please note that correct attribution is a prerequisite for many uses based on limitations and exceptions of copyright law!

The Public Domain

Copyright law only gives temporary protection to works. Protection expires 70 years after the death of the author. These 70 years are calculated from the 1st January following the death of the author. Once the work becomes part of the Public Domain it can be freely used, including for commercial purposes. The National Library has adopted a conservative approach for estimating this moment in time. In 2021, all works published before the 31st December 1878 are considered to be in the Public Domain. In 2022, this cut-off date will be the 31st December 1879 and so on. This conservative method ensures that any dataset which is published for Humanities research is certainly free of rights. It could also mean that some works, which are actually in the Public Domain, are not included. If you are aware of such works, please do let us know:

For further information on the National Library's policy on the Public Domain, please have a look at the "Europeana Public Domain Charter". If you have further questions, please ask us:

It is important to remember that there may be other rights and rights holders besides the original author. There may be multiple layers of rights which apply to a single work, such as neighbouring rights, publisher's rights, database rights, etc. Make sure to always consult the law in its entirety!

Protected Works

Using works protected by copyright is possible through the limitations and exceptions of Luxembourg copyright law.

For any use that goes beyond these limitations and exceptions you must obtain permission of the author as well as any other potential rights holders. The National Library may be able to assist you to identify rights holders. Please submit your query through Please note that rights clearance as such is not a service of the National Library.

The extent of the permitted uses through limitations and exception of copyright law is summarily described below. Please always check the full text of the law! It is available here:

Provided the author is given correct attribution (see above: Citation and attribution), this is a summary of exceptions and limitations contained in article 10:

  • art. 10.1 - short citations;
  • art. 10.2 - reproduction and public communication of short fragments of works for the exclusive purpose of teaching or scientific research;
  • art. 10.4 - private copies, made by natural persons for their own private use;
  • art. 10.6 - caricature and parody;
  • art. 10.11 - reproduction and public communication of works for the benefit of persons with disabilities, limited to the actual requirements of the respective disability and of a non-commercial nature.

Systematic or automated downloads

In order to ensure that is available in the best possible manner for the whole public, automated or systematic downloading is prohibited. The National Library reserves the right to block such downloads.

Structural data

Content available via eluxemburgensia goes beyond simple digital reproductions in image format. Content is put through a semi-automatic analysis process to identify articles, photographs and the position of each word on every page. Additionally, a process called "OCR" (Optical Character Recognition) is run to allow textual searches.

This structural data is in METS/ALTO format. If you wish to use this data, please get in touch: For technical questions (cataloguing, data format, profiles, processes) please contact

Rights clearance

For all works which are not part of the Public Domain, the National Library fully respects copyrights and aims to obtain permission from all authors and rights holders, including publishers and collective management organisations.

It is however problematic to achieve complete rights clearance for all individual works in the context of mass digitisation. For each individual work the author and other rights holders have to be identified as well as the full historical contractual relationships between them. For commercial rights holders it is necessary to reconstruct commercial successions. Once authors are identified, they have to be located and it has to be established whether they are alive or deceased. If they happen to be deceased, and copyrights have not yet expired, their heirs need to be identified and located.

There are several million individual works, including each article, photograph, etc. in the collection of The long duration of exclusive rights conferred by copyright law makes it practically impossible to exhaustively clarify the rights of all works. An additional problem for works published in newspaper is that the full names of authors are rarely, if at all, mentioned.

To allow for mass digitisation and digital access to the works of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, the existing legal framework evolves through the transposition of the CDSM (Copyright in the Digital Single Market) directive, notably through the addition of an “out-of-commerce” status for works, for the benefit of cultural heritage organisations. If interested, the parliamentary dossier (“Rôle des affaires”) is 7847.

The National Library is welcoming further enquiries as to its rights clearance policies from authors and rights holders via