The CNL is first and foremost a scientific institute, a research centre and a centre for documentation on Luxembourg literature, which offers researchers a library and archives.
The first collections for the National Centre of Literature were set up from 1986 onwards at the National Archives in the capital city, Luxembourg. In October 1995 the CNL then moved into its own premises: Maison Servais in Mersch.
The National Centre for Literature (CNL), located in the old Maison Servais of Mersch, is a state cultural institute managed by the Ministry of Culture. It is a centre for documentation and research on Luxembourg literature from 1815 to the present day, and also a centre for sociocultural activities relating to books and reading. Its library and archives are open to the public and comprise around 20,000 volumes and countless literary documents (manuscripts, letters, photos, etc.), works by Luxembourg authors, like Batty Weber, Nik Welter, Anise Koltz, etc.
These volumes can be consulted in the reading room on the first floor. The CNL organises exhibitions on current literary events and on the history of literature in the exhibition rooms on the ground floor of the building.
The CNL is a scientific institute, a centre of research and documentation for Luxembourg literature, whose numerous events have made it a genuine centre for sociocultural activities relating to books and reading.
The CNL researches and assembles under one roof testimonies of Luxembourg literature (manuscripts, printed materials, iconographic materials) dating from 1815 onwards, together with documents relating to the history and influence of Luxembourg literature. Moreover, the Centre preserves these items and adds to their value for the benefit of researchers and the public.
In view of Luxembourg's multilingual society, the literary documents preserved at CNL reflect the three languages normally spoken in the country: Luxembourgish, French and German.
The CNL reinforces international ties and collaborates closely with similar libraries and archives (e.g. Archives et Musée de la littérature in Brussels, Deutsches Literaturarchiv in Marbach am Neckar, etc.).
CNL's aims include the need to protect Luxemburgensia from dispersion and oblivion, to preserve it for future generations and to make it available for scholarly purposes.
The CNL also aims to be act as a rendezvous for professionals and lovers of literature. Its premises, which offer numerous opportunities for public gatherings (Salle Tony Bourg, "La Cave littéraire", the café and park), can also be used for conferences-debates, readings, theatre and cabaret performances, film and slide shows, guided tours and exhibitions.
The CNL aims to involve the wider public by offering an extensive range of educational services (introduction to literature, history of literature) and animation services for children, students, adults, for specialists and non-specialists of Luxembourg literature.
In order to allow Luxembourgers and foreign researchers to discover and rediscover the literature and authors from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the CNL has also published a number of literary guides.
These are addressed to an audience of children, students, adults, specialists and non-specialists on Luxembourg literature.