Archives générales du Royaume et Archives de l'État dans les Provinces / Algemeen Rijksarchief en Rijksarchief in de Provinciën

  • State Archives and Archives in the Provinces
  • AGR
  • ARA

History

In retrospect, the National Archives of Belgium were established by the French law of October 26th 1796 (5 Brumair V), which, amongst others, foresaw in the organisation of departmental depots (amongst others, in Brussels), in which the archives of the disbanded institutions of the Ancien Régime would be stored. In 1831, the archive depot in Brussels was officially named the National Archives of Belgium. Already in the early nineteenth century, more archival depots in the provinces were installed, which were officially placed under the direction of the National State Archivist (who holds his office in the National Archives) in 1851. The“Archives Générales du Royaume”(National Archives of Belgium) and the“Archives de l’État dans les Provinces”(State Archives in the Provinces), in other words the State Archives are a federal academic establishment that forms part of the“Service Public Fédéral de Programmation Politique scientifique”(Belgian Federal Science Policy Office). The institution includes the“Archives Générales du Royaume”in Brussels and 18 State Archives that are distributed throughout the country. The State Archives ensure the proper preservation of archival documents produced and managed by the state authorities. For this purpose, the State Archives issue directives and recommendations, conduct inspections, organises training for civil servants and 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 a public authority.The State Archives obtain and preserve (following sorting) archive 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.

Archival and Other Holdings

The National Archives of Belgium preserve the archives of the central institutions of the Burgundian, Austrian and Spanish Netherlands until 1795, the archives of the central public institutions of the French period (1795-1815) and of the Kingdom the Netherlands (1815-1830), and finally the archives of the central institutions of the national government–and later of the federal government–from the birth of Belgium (1830) until today, not including the archives of the defence and foreign affairs ministries. The -recently modified- Archives Law of 24 June 1955 (articles 5 and 6) and the royal decree of 12 December 1957 granted to the National Archivist and his delegates a power of supervision for the conservation of archives from all Belgian courts, tribunals,federal and provincial authorities and public institutions. Beside the archives from the central public institutions, the National Archives also preserve a large number of private archives such as personal archives that politicians have handed over to the State Archives. Numerous family archives–some of which are of considerable size–entrusted to the State Archives by Belgium’s most important families also add considerably to the richness of the Archives. Finally, one has to mention the numerous collections of the Archives–a very useful resource for researchers: maps and plans, engravings and manuscripts of various origins.

Finding Aids, Guides, and Publication

The National Archives of Belgium preserve the archives of the central institutions of the Burgundian, Austrian and Spanish Netherlands until 1795, the archives of the central public institutions of the French period (1795-1815) and of the Kingdom the Netherlands (1815-1830), and finally the archives of the central institutions of the national government–and later of the federal government–from the birth of Belgium (1830) until today, not including the archives of the defence and foreign affairs ministries. The -recently modified- Archives Law of 24 June 1955 (articles 5 and 6) and the royal decree of 12 December 1957 granted to the National Archivist and his delegates a power of supervision for the conservation of archives from all Belgian courts, tribunals, federal and provincial authorities and public institutions.Beside the archives from the central public institutions, the National Archives also preserve a large number of private archives such as personal archives that politicians have handed over to the State Archives. Numerous family archives–some of which are of considerable size–entrusted to the State Archives by Belgium’s most important families also add considerably to the richness of the Archives. Finally, one has to mention the numerous collections of the Archives–a very useful resource for researchers: maps and plans, engravings and manuscripts of various origins.

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.

Sources

  • Mémorial de la Shoah Yad Vashem