Archives de l'État à Bruxelles / Rijksarchief te Brussel
- State Archives in Brussels
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 depository in Brussels (Anderlecht) is the preservation place for archives of all public institutions with regional or local competences that exercised or still exercise their functions in the Brussels region during or since the Ancien Régime. It also preserves the archives of the external services of the Federal Public Services (former Ministries), the archives of the courts and tribunals of the Brussels region and the minutes of a large number of notaries located in this region. Finally, the depository located in Anderlecht keeps a microfilm collection of the parish registers dating from before 1795, a microfilm collection of the civil status registers of Brussels’ communes and the provinces of Walloon Brabant, Hainaut, Liège and Namur, and finally a microfilm collection of the population registers of some communes of the former Province of Brabant.
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. Several inventories of the State Archives in Brussels (Anderlecht) can be consulted online as a pdf, this is free of charge. Publications published after 2012 can be downloaded through the shopweb, some older inventories through the section Activities \ Publications \ Inventory.
Open Tuesday to Friday, continuously from 9.00 am to 4.30 pm (the National Archives opens on 8.30 am on weekdays). On the 1st Saturday of the month: from 9.00 am to 12.30 pm and from 1.00 pm until 4.00 pm. Original documents may be consulted on Saturdays only after a reservation has been made until Friday 1.00 pm at the latest.
Closed on Monday, Saturday (except first Saturday of the month) and on public holidays and inventorying days.
July and August: Open from Tuesday to Friday, from 9.00 am to noon and from 1.00 pm to 4.30pm. Closed on Monday, Saturday and public holidays.
State Archives in Belgium website consulted on 29/10/2014
Pierre-Alain Tallier (dir.), Gertjan Desmet & Pascale Falek-Alhadeff, Bronnen voor de geschiedenis van de Joden en het Jodendom in België, 19de-21ste eeuw, Brussel, ARA-AGR/Avant-Propos, 2016, 1328 p.