Archives de l'État à Arlon / Rijksarchief te Aarlen

  • State Archives in Arlon
  • AEA


Parc des Expositions 9


+32 63 22 06 13


+32 63 22 42 94


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.


The State Archives in Arlon were established by Royal Decree of November 15, 1849. Since 1980 the State Archives have been located in the "Exhibition Park". In 2019, the building was extended and the storage capacity increased to 40 linear kilometres.

Over the centuries, Luxembourg has experienced a number of territorial evolutions. Both in 1659 (Peace of the Pyrenees) and in 1815 (Congress of Vienna) and in 1839 (Treaty of London), Luxembourg had to cede part of its territory. In 1839, the Walloon part and the region of Arlon were annexed to Belgium. The archives were divided between the two countries and the documents relating to places that had become part of Belgium were transferred to Arlon.

The State Archives in Arlon were established by Royal Decree of 15 November 1849. The transferred archives were stored in the attics of the provincial administration and in the residence of Governor Steenhault (rue de Luxembourg). In 1850 the Belgian files were collected on the top floor of the new Provinciehuis. Ten years later, the construction of a new archive repository at Place Léopold was started, where the State Archives of Arlon would remain until 1963.

During the First World War, the State Archives were able to prevent the German troops from plundering the archives. Nevertheless, in 1985, documents stolen from the Arlon archive by a German soldier were found in Bavaria. In 1931-1932, the depot was thoroughly expanded and renovated.

In 1931-1932, the building next to the provincial government building, where the collections were kept, was extended westwards. New rooms were created and the facade was given twenty-four windows.

In June 1944 the State Archives in Arlon had to be evacuated due to circumstances. The archives were transferred to the Fourneau David estate (Châtillon) and the library was placed in the attics of the archaeological museum. On 15 November 1945, the State Archives in Arlon returned to their former location. Because of the growth of the files and an increase in the number of visitors to the reading room, the lack of space became more and more acute.

In 1960, the state archivist Etienne Sabbe obtained the establishment of an "auxiliary depot" in Saint-Hubert. In this way, he wanted to relieve various branches of the State Archives of the flood of documents caused by the coming into force of the Archives Act of 24 June 1955. The abbot's palace of Saint-Hubert, which offered a great deal of space, had been empty since 1956, when the prison was closed down. An agreement was signed with the Provincial Cultural Centre of Luxembourg (a non-profit organisation that was later integrated into the provincial administration to promote cultural life in the north of the province) to take over the buildings. The archives of the Marche district and the canton of Saint-Hubert were transferred from Arlon to Saint-Hubert, where an official from the State Archives supervised the collections on site.

In Arlon, meanwhile, the governor had the State Archives moved in 1963 from an annex of the Provincial Palace to a boarding school in Guirsch, a few kilometres southeast of Arlon. The reading room was accommodated in a former dentist's practice near Arlon station. This uncomfortable situation continued until March 1980, when wing A of the current building of the State Archives in Arlon - constructed by the Government Buildings Agency - opened its doors to the public after three months of relocation. The architects of the building that houses the State Archives in Arlon today had already foreseen a possible extension at the time. On each floor there is a corridor that can be connected to a future extension of the building. There is enough capacity to triple the ground surface area.

The State Archives in Saint-Hubert were opened in 1962 and served, until 2019, both to relieve other State Archives and to store the archives of the Marche district and of the canton of Saint-Hubert. However, at the end of the 1980s, the Saint-Hubert depot reached the limits of its capacity. The successive managers of the State Archives in Saint-Hubert sought and found solutions for expansion. But they were limited by the exceptional heritage value of the building and the difficulty of making it meet today's logistical requirements for archive storage. At the beginning of the 21st century, the State Archives in other provinces were gradually being equipped with buildings that could easily accommodate the archives located in Saint-Hubert.

At the end of 2012, a project to extend the State Archives in Arlon was launched. A few years later, the works started, with the Buildings Authority as the client and the Franki company as the contractor.

A better public relations function and a more efficient use of budgetary means were not compatible with the maintenance of two state archives services in the province of Luxembourg, since the staff was spread over two sites, not to mention the operating costs of the buildings - mainly in terms of energy - which remained too high in relation to the storage capacity. The new wing of the State Archives in Arlon is equipped with solar panels and a heating and ventilation system based on geothermal heat. The old wing is being made completely asbestos-free and insulated. The new reading room in wing B opened to the public on 2 July 2019.

Archival and Other Holdings

The State Archives in Arlon hold the archives of provincial, federal and local institutions as well as individuals who were based in the province of Luxembourg.

For a broader overview of the State Archives in Arlon's holdings see:

Finding Aids, Guides, and Publication

There are several online search engines: keyword, archives, creator, persons, themes ( 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:

Direct links to specific inventories for the State Archives in Arlon can be found at the following links:

Opening Times

From Tuesday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Documents requested in the reading room are delivered at 9:15 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m., and 3:15 p.m.

The reading room of the State Archives in Arlon is also open on the first Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 1 p.m. until 4. p.m. Original documents may be consulted on Saturdays only after a reservation has been made before Friday 1 p.m. at the latest.

July and August: closed between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. and Saturdays (all day)

Conditions of Access

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:


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 Arlon, please contact the institution by phone or email.

Reproduction Services

For information on reproduction services and fees, please visit the following web page:


  • State Archives in Belgium website consulted on 18/07/2019

  • 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.

  • State Archives in Arlon website last consulted 20/05/2022

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