Rijksarchief Antwerpen / Archives de l’État à Anvers
- State Archive Antwerp
Door Verstraeteplaats 5
The French law of 26 October 1796 (5 Brumaire V) laid the foundations of the organisational structure of the present-day Belgian State Archives. The law stipulated that the archives of institutions and administrations abolished by the French authorities were to be collected and preserved at the regional metropolis of each newly created ‘Département’. In 1831, the archive depot in Brussels was officially named the “Archives Générales du Royaume” (National Archives of Belgium). By virtue of the Royal Decree of 17 December 1851, the “Archives de l’État dans les Provinces” (State Archives in the Provinces) were placed under the authority of the National Archivist.
Now broadly known as ‘the State Archives of Belgium’, the National Archives and the State Archives in the Provinces are a federal academic organisation that forms part of the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO). The State Archives are made up of the National Archives in Brussels and 17 State Archives that are distributed throughout the country. The State Archives’ role is to ensure the proper preservation of archival documents produced and managed by the state authorities. In order to fulfil its responsibilities, the State Archives issue directives and recommendations; conduct inspections and organise training for civil servants. The State Archives also act as an advisory body for the construction and preparation of premises for the conservation of archives and for the organisation of archive management within public institutions. The State Archives obtain and preserve (following sorting) archival documents that are at least 30 years old from courts, tribunals, public authorities, notaries and from the private sector and private individuals (companies, politicians, associations and societies, influential families, etc. that have played an important role in society). They ensure that public archives are transferred according to strict archival standards.
Around 1975, the State Archives in Antwerp was suffering from a lack of space and the fonds of the courts and external federal services were transferred to the State Archives in Beveren. In 1994, plans were put forward to expand the State Archives in Antwerp, but work on building a new wing with stores and offices only began at the end of 2007. As the extension work at the State Archives in Antwerp is still ongoing, these archives merged with the State Archives in Beveren on 1 May 2014. Once the work in Antwerp is completed, the State Archives in Antwerp will return to the Door Verstraeteplaats. The State Archives in Beveren will then operate again as an intermediate repository for the entire Flemish region.
The archives held at the State Archives in Antwerp-Beveren can be subdivided into two main geographical areas. Most of the documents can be freely consulted in the reading room of the depot in Beveren.
Researchers should note that the archives that were under the jurisdiction of the former judicial district of Dendermonde have been held by the State Archives in Ghent since 2015.
1) The State Archives in Antwerp-Beveren hold archives under the jurisdiction of the region of Flanders
These archival collections cover all or large parts of the Flemish region:
- Parish records of the Ancien Régime
- Civil status records (19th and 20th centuries)
- Commercial records of the Commercial Courts (essentially 20th century)
- Company archives (mainly 19th and 20th centuries)
- Archives of the central services of the Flemish Community (mainly in the second half of the 20th century)
- Overviews of available funds
- Finding aids
2) The archives under the jurisdiction of Antwerp
The archives under the jurisdiction of Antwerp come from public and private institutions, organisations, families and individuals who were, at one time or another, on the territory of the current province of Antwerp.
- Public Archives of the Ancien Régime
- Public archives of the contemporary period
- Ecclesiastical Archives
- Notarial archives
- Private Archives
- Genealogical sources
- Overviews of available funds
- Finding aids
For more on the State Archives in Antwerp-Beveren's holdings, see:
There are several online search engines: keyword, archives, creator, persons, themes (http://search.arch.be/). In order to facilitate access to documents, archivists produce academic reference works aimed at users, such as archive group overviews, guides, historical source studies and, in particular, inventories and search guides with detailed indexes. The search guides can be consulted in the reading room, and they are currently subject to a digitisation initiative, which aims to make them fully accessible on-line or via the intranet available on the computers in all the depositories of the State Archives.
State Archives guides and inventories may also be downloaded or purchased from the following link:
For overviews to the archives under the jurisdiction of the Flanders region, see:
PRENEEL M., Overzicht van de archieven in het Rijksarchief te Beveren. Archiefvormers van het ressort Vlaanderen, Guides des fonds et collections, série Aperçus n°7, publ. n°4543, Archives générales du Royaume, Bruxelles, 2006 (http://www.arch.be/docs/depots/antwerpen-beveren/archievenoverzicht-rijksarchief-beveren.pdf)
For overviews to the archives under the jurisdiction of Antwerp, see:
HOUTMAN E., Overzicht van de archieven en verzamelingen van het Rijksarchief te Antwerpen, Guides des fonds et collections, série Aperçus n°6, 3 tomes, publ. n°4542, Archives générales du Royaume, Bruxelles, 2006 (http://www.arch.be/docs/depots/antwerpen-beveren/archievenoverzicht-rijksarchief-antwerpen.pdf)
DEVOS G., COPPIETERS G., LEMAYEUR B. en SAS B., Gids van bedrijfsarchieven en archieven bij werkgevers-, werknemers en beroepsverenigingen in de provincie Antwerpen, série Guides n°59, publ. n°4016, Archives générales du Royaume, Bruxelles, 2002.
Tuesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
July and August: Tuesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed on Mondays, Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays, and inventory days.
Documents are distributed at 9:15 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. It is possible to reserve a maximum of five documents one working day in advance. References for documents to be reserved in advance should be communicated to the State Archives Antwerp-Beveren by email or fax.
Since 1 June 2018, access to the reading rooms of the State Archives is free. This new measure has been put in place to ensure access to our archives for all citizens. The State Archives online archives, which include civil status and church registers that are older than 100 years, can be accessed for free as well.
For other fees that may apply, please see: http://www.arch.be/docs/tarifs.pdf
The State Archives are committed to ensuring access to its reading rooms and other common areas for all users. Several improvements have been made in recent years to facilitate access for people with reduced mobility (parking spaces, access ramps, toilets, etc.). For further information about access to the State Archives in Antwerp-Beveren, please contact the institution by phone or email.
For information on reproduction services and fees, please visit the following web page: http://arch.arch.be/index.php?l=en&m=practical-information&r=reproductions
State Archives in Belgium website consulted on 22/07/2019
Pierre-Alain Tallier (dir.), Gertjan Desmet & Pascale Falek-Alhadeff, Sources pour l'histoire des populations juives et du judaïsme en Belgique/Bronnen voor de geschiedenis van de Joden en het Jodendom in België, 19de-21ste eeuw, Brussel, ARA-AGR/Avant-Propos, 2016, 1,328 p.