The low-lying dipole strength distribution in the rare isotope 176Hf was studied in nuclear resonance fluorescence experiments performed at the Stuttgart Dynamitron facility using bremsstrahlung beams with end- point energies of 4.1 and 2.4 MeV. In total, about 55 excited spin-1 states, unknown so far, were observed in the excitation energy range up to 4 MeV. Detailed spectroscopic information has been obtained on excitation energies, spins, decay widths, decay branchings, and transition probabilities. Ascribing a positive parity to all observed K=1 states, the detected total B(M1)↑ strength in the energy range of the scissors mode amounts to 2.56(6)μ2N, nearly as much as for well-deformed midshell rare-earth nuclei. The total strength is higher than in the heavier Hf isotopes 178,180Hf, but fits well into the systematics. The observed low-lying ΔK=0 transitions (with probable E1 character) lie in the energy range around 2 MeV, as expected from the systematics. The excitation probabilities correspond to values which are characteristic for nuclei in the transitional region from deformed rotors to more γ-soft nuclei.