Archief Koninklijk Paleis / Archives du Palais Royal
- Archives of the Royal Palace
By virtue of the Ministerial Decree of the 10th of January 1967, this archives service is a section of the National Archives and the State Archives in the Provinces (the State Archives, in short). The service is under the authority of the King’s Cabinet, but administered by a Chief Archivist, member of the scientific personnel of the State Archives.
The Archives of the Royal Palace are housed in the former Hôtel d'Assche, at the crossroads between Place des Palais/Paleizenplein and Rue Ducale/Hertogstraat. In addition to the Archives, the Cabinet of the King and the Civil List of the King as well as the Military Household of the King are located there.
The Hôtel of the Marquis d’Assche was built in the late 18th century and acquired on 28 September 1852 by the Belgian government. In 1856, the General Staff of Adrien Goffinet (Officer to Prince Leopold), the offices of the Royal Palace and the Library of the King moved there. Twenty years later, the office of the King’s Civil List were also established at the Hôtel d’Assche, which thereby became the so-called “House of the Civil List”. It was rebuilt in 1920.
The Archives of the Royal Palace preserve all archives produced by the departments and services of the Royal Palace – in principle since the 21st of July 1831, when Prince Leopold of Saxe-Cobourg (1790-1865) took the constitutional oath as King of the Belgians. The Archives comprise the archives of the department of the grand Marshal of the Court, the King’s Cabinet, the King’s Civil List, the King’s Military Household, and – for the period from 1914 to 1944 – the King’s Secretariat. Furthermore they comprise the archives of the Secretariat of Queen Elisabeth, of the Secretariat of the Count and Countess of Flanders, of the Secretariat of Prince Leopold and Princess Astrid, and of the Secretariat of Prince Charles.
It is also important to note the presence of the archives of former Prime Minister Joseph Pholien and of the archives of the “Fonds Goffinet” (comprising among others the archives of Queen Elisabeth and the archives of King Leopold II and his collaborators, Adrien, Auguste and Constant Goffinet).
The content and significance of these archives reflect the tasks and competences of their respective producers. The study of the former Head of the King’s Cabinet, Mr. André Molitor (see below), offers an overview over these archives.
The Archives of the Royal Palace also preserve a “Maps, Plans and Illustrations” collection, a “Photographs” collection and a “Medal Collection”.
An overview (unpublished) over the entire archives can be consulted in the reading room of the Archives of the Royal Palace. All consultable archive groups have an unpublished archive list or an inventory. These research aids can be consulted on the spot by researchers. For some archive groups, a detailed inventory has been published.
Finally, the Archives of the Royal Palace possess a library in which mainly works on the monarchy and the political history of Belgium, a part of the archives of Queen Elisabeth (including her music library) as well as series of official publications (Belgian Official Journal, Royal Almanac, Annals of the Administration and the Judiciary of Belgium) are preserved.
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 available for download or purchase from the following link:
Specific inventories to the Archives of the Royal Palace include:
Molitor A., La fonction royale en Belgique, Bruxelles, 1994 (2e édition, revue).
Janssens G., Het Archief van het Koninklijk Paleis te Brussel, dans : Archives et bibliothèques de Belgique, 62 (1991), p. 307-342.
Janssens G., Bewaring en toegankelijkheid in het Archief van het Koninklijk Paleis te Brussel, dans : Bibliotheek- en Archiefgids, 71 (1995), p. 110-117.
Janssens G., La conservation et la consultabilité des documents aux Archives du Palais royal à Bruxelles, dans : Museum Dynasticum, 8 (1996), p.11-19.
Janssens G., Das Archiv des Königspalastes in Brüssel, dans : Der Archivar, 50(1997), kol. 600-607.
Janssens G. , Het Staatshoofd, dans : Bronnen voor de studie van het hedendaagse België. 19e-21e eeuw (red. P. VAN DEN EECKHOUT & G. VANTHEMSCHE), Bruxelles, 2009, p. 265-287.
Tuesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Due to access control and limited seating, an appointment must be made in advance with the archivist by e-mail or in writing. Closed on Mondays, Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays and during the file inspection week.
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, toilets, etc.). For further information about access, please contact the Archives of the Royal Palace 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.