Archives générales du Royaume et Archives de l'État dans les Provinces / Algemeen Rijksarchief en Rijksarchief in de Provinciën
- National Archives and State Archives in the Provinces
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.
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. The National Archives also hold collections of maps, plans, drawings, manuscripts, seal casts and an extensive number of historical and archival works.
For more on the National Archives' holdings, see:
Finding Aids, Guides, and Publication
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:
Tuesday to Friday: 8.30 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 Monday, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
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: 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 National Archives, 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
Mémorial de la Shoah Yad Vashem
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.