Swiss Library of Eastern Europe SOB

Eastern European Studies • History • Politics

Opening hours

The Swiss Library of Eastern Europe (SOB) is a public scientific library specialized in the history, politics and society of Eastern, Central and South Eastern Europe. We offer expert assistance, convey research competences and regularly organize lecture series, which are available as a podcast (only in German). As part of the UB Bern, we are a part of the study programme Eastern European Studies Bern-Fribourg. Visit us at Hallerstrasse 6 or on Facebook!


  • 18 workspaces
  • Wireless LAN (eduroam/network of the University of Bern)
  • Media delivery service via Bern and IDS courier system (daily delivery of media throughout Bern)
  • Scanner, photocopier, microfilm/microfiche reader


Our circulation conditions are based on the University Library's regulations and fees. A user account is required to borrow items.

  • Ask a subject librarian: Whether you are a beginning or advanced student - if you need help with research on a specific topic, we are happy to help you to locate materials and guide you to databases, catalogues and other digital resources which might be relevant for your research topic. Please make an appointment via e-mail.
  • Tours of the library, introductory/training sessions (by appointment)
  • Scanning and photocopying services (Uniprint scanner, book scanner, microform/-fiche reader)
  • Research on demand (please enquire via e-mail)

Events and information

From our new acquisitions (selection)

We hold a unique and growing collection of over 160'000 media  - historical and new books, journals, newspapers and other media, both in Western and East European languages. Most items are available to be borrowed locally or ordered to other libraries.

Our collections comprise:

  • Introductory texts, reference works and research literature in English, German and French as well as in most Central and Eastern European languages from Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe (over 100,000 books)
  • 500+ journals from and about Eastern Europe (printed and/or digital), 200+ of which are current periodicals
  • A historical collection of 300+ Eastern European newspapers focusing on the period from 1950 to 1990
  • A large number of databases and other electronic resources on the politics, history and society of Eastern Europe


With its Rossica Europeana, the SOB also houses a valuable special collection of publications, maps and charts portraying Russia from a (Western) European perspective (approx. 16th to 19th cent.)



The Swiss Library of Eastern Europe (SOB) stems from a private collection about the Soviet Union and the communist-ruled countries of Eastern Europe that the Bernese political scientist Peter Sager started to build after the Second World War. In 1959 the library and the Swiss Eastern Institute were legally separated. Responsibility for the library now lay with the Foundation of the Swiss Library of Eastern Europe, a private organization which was subsidized by the Confederation, the cantons and other institutions.

In 1997 the Swiss Library of Eastern Europe was incorporated as a branch of what was then the Town and University Library (StUB) by resolution of the Cantonal Parliament of Bern. Together with the StUB, the Swiss Library of Eastern Europe merged with the university libraries in 2007 to form the new University Library Bern (UB) where the SOB today belongs to the Theology and Humanities Subdivision.

Further information:

  • Hasselmann, Anne E.: Die Schweizerische Osteuropabibliothek, in: Traverse 23 (2), 2016, S. 125–135. Online: <>.

  • Dutoit, Jan. Bibliographie zu den Publikationen des Schweizerischen Ost-Instituts (SOI) und der Schweizerischen Osteuropabibliothek (SOB) (2016): SOI-Bibliographie_Dez_2018.pdf (PDF, 472KB)

  • Maurer, Eva: Spuren aus Ostmitteleuropa. Die Schweizerische Osteuropa-Bibliothek als Ort des Exils und seiner Erforschung, in: Gillabert, Matthieu; Robert, Tiphaine (Hg.): Zuflucht suchen. Phasen des Exils aus Osteuropa im Kalten Krieg / Chercher refuge. Les phases de l’exil d’Europe centrale pendant la Guerre froide, Bd. 42, Basel 2017, S. 169–185. (Katalog)

  • von Werdt, Christophe: «Antikommunismus als Antitotalitarismus» : das Schweizerische Ost-Institut, in: Martig, Peter; Affolter, Heinrich Christoph; Gutscher, Charlotte (Hg.): Berns moderne Zeit : das 19. und 20. Jahrhundert neu entdeckt, Bern 2011, S. 41–45. (Katalog)