Services University Library


The "Rossica Europeana" collection documents Russia as portrayed in (Western) European publications, maps and illustrations from Early Modern times to the turn of the 20th century. It comprises about 1500 printed works - travelogues, historical, regional, cultural and ethnographic descriptions of Russia - which show the changing perceptions of Russia by Western Europe from the 16th to the 19th century and gives us insight into how European and Russian identities evolved in the interplay of self-perception and the perception of others. In addition, the collection also includes around 500 geographic maps of Russia and Eastern Europe from the same period as well as graphic prints, pictures and a few autographs, including one by Peter the Great, making it one of the most significant collections of its kind. In addition to these original prints, the collection also comprises a few hundred reprints and secondary works on the topic of Russian-Western travel and encounters.

Virtual tour of the collection

The "Rossica Europeana" collection is the result of decades of collecting by Dr. Peter Sager, the founder of the Swiss Eastern Institute and the Swiss Library of Eastern Europe. Thanks to financial support, namely from the Swiss Ministry of Culture, the Lottery fund of the Canton of Bern, the Cultural Foundation of the City of Bern and the Sophie and Karl Binding Foundation, it could be acquired for the Swiss Library of Eastern Europe in 2005.

Almost all maps and a first selection of printed works has been digitized on the platform where they are available with no restrictions. We are planning to continue the digitization in 2020-2021.

The printed works and maps are catalogued in the IDS catalogue and can be found under the call numbers SOB RoEu. The pictorial collection and the autographs are currently being catalogued in HAN. They can be consulted for scientific purposes on advance notice (contact Eva Maurer, Head of the Swiss Library of Eastern Europe, see below).