According to the Conventions of UNESCO’s Declaration on Archives, the central tasks of archives are on the one hand to conserve cultural heritage and to open and convey it to the public and on the other hand, to act as a pillar of constitutional democracy by documenting administrative action and by providing archived information to citizens, for administration purposes and for research. Germany`s archive landscape is very varied. The Federal Archive (Bundesarchiv) is a self-reliant higher federal authority, which has the statutory obligation (Federal Archive Act – original version from January 1988, revised version in march 2017) to save the archive material as well as to utilise it scientifically. The retention period is generally 30 years (§ 11 para. 1.) If the archival material concerns natural persons, the term of protection ends at the earliest ten years after death, possibly also 100 years after birth or 60 years after the documents were created (§ 11 para. 2).
The archives divide themselves in: 1. Federal Archives; 2. Local Archives; 3. Ecclesiastical Archives; 4. Archives of families, noble families and houses; 5. Archives of business; 6. Archives of parliaments, political parties and associations; 7. Media Archives and 8. University Archives, archives of scientific institutions and other stakeholders.
Reliable data only are available for the first group: Federal Archives including the Federal Archive (Bundesarchiv), the Political Archive of the Federal Foreign Office, the National Archive of Prussian Cultural Heritage (Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz) (indirectly) and the Archive of the federal commissioner for Stasi-documents of former GDR (Archiv des Bundesbeauftragtenfür die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienes der ehemaligen DDR). In 2016, a total of 339 thousand metres of written material was stored in the nine locations of the Federal Archives, as well as 12.6 million pictures, almost 2 million maps, plans and technical drawings and over 150 thousand film titles. A total of 5,900 visitors were counted on 37,000 user days in 2016. The state archives of the federal states archive material amounting to 1.4 million linear metres at 58 locations.
A total of 5,900 visitors were counted on 37,000 user days in 2016. The state archives of the federal states archive material amounting to 1.4 million metres held in 58 locations.
Libraries guarantee the fulfilment of the constitutionally guaranteed basic right of all citizens “to inform themselves unhindered from generally accessible sources” (Basic Law, Article 5, Para. 1.) The most frequent subdivision of libraries is made into public libraries and academic libraries. Both are open to the public, whereby the academic libraries focus on the needs of academics and students.
The German library statistics showed 6 779 public libraries in 2021 (compared to 7 240 public libraries in 2018). Of the 6 779 public libraries, 28.5 per cent are under full-time management and 71.5 per cent are under part-time or voluntary management (compared to 2018: 27.0 per cent under full-time management and 73.0 per cent under voluntary management). In terms of sponsorship, 49.6 per cent are sponsored by the public sector(all local authorities) (compared to 2018: 48.1 %) , 41.7 per cent by the Catholic Church (2018: 40.9 %), 8.2 per cent by the Protestant Church (2018: 8.9 %) and 0.9 per cent in other sponsorship (2018: 0.7 %). Public libraries had a media stock of107 million in 2021 (2018: 113 million), of which 85 million were in public libraries with full-time management (2018: 89 million) and 24 million in voluntary management (2018: 24 million). 80 million items were held by publicly owned libraries (2018: 94 million). Public libraries recorded a total of 57.4 million visits in 2018 (2021: 120 million visits) and 249 million borrowings (2018: 340). It should be noted that in 2021 the libraries were temporarily closed for corona reasons.
In 2021, there were 241 academic libraries (2018: 238), including six national or central libraries. Specialist libraries (2018: 5), 24 regional libraries (2018: 25), 80 university libraries (2018: 79) and
131 university and university of applied sciences libraries (2018: 129). There were 47 million physical borrowings (2018: 74 million). The temporary closure of these libraries due to corona should also be taken into account in these figures.
For the library laws see chapter 4.2.5, for the Federal Archives and Stasi Archives Act see chapter 4.2.2.
 See ibid.