Archives de l'État à Bruxelles / Rijksarchief te Brussel
- State Archives in Brussels
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 Brussels were opened in 2002 following the division of the province of Brabant into two new provinces (Walloon Brabant and Flemish Brabant) and the creation of the administrative district of Brussels-Capital.
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 online 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:
Open Tuesday to Friday, continuously from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Closed on Monday, Saturday and on public holidays and inventorying days.
July and August: Tuesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.
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 State Archives in Brussels, 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
State Archives in Belgium website consulted on 16/07/2019
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.