Archief van het Aartsbisdom Mechelen-Brussel

  • Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels, Archives
  • Aartsbisschoppelijk Archief
  • AAM


Diocesaan Pastoraal Centrum - Frederik de Merodestraat 18


+32 15 29 84 22
+32 15 29 26 54


The first steps towards the formation of an archbishop's archive date from after the founding of the Archdiocese of Mechelen in 1559. The oldest pieces date from before the founding of the archdiocese (the so-called Cameracensia and Leodiensia ). The archive was originally in the Archbishop's residence in Brussels. In the first half of the 18th century it was transferred to the Archbishop's Palace on the Wollemarkt in Mechelen.

During the French Revolution a number of documents were seized by the government. In the 19th century, the documents relating to East Flemish parishes that belonged to the Archdiocese of Mechelen in the Ancien Régime were transferred to the Diocese of Ghent. A second transfer took place after 1962. Then the archives of the old Diocese of Antwerp (1559-1801) and the archives of Antwerp parishes from the period 1801-1961 moved to the new Diocese of Antwerp.

In the interbellum period, at the initiative of the then archivist, Canon Jozef Laenen, the archive was transferred from the attics of the Archbishop's Palace to the neighboring Refugie van Sint-Truiden. It remained housed there until. in 1987. the necessity of a different repository became apparent. The archive was then housed in the former library of the Groot Seminarie (the current Diocesan Pastoral Center). Since January 2004, the archive has been housed in the former chapel of the Seminary that was built in 1954-1955 on the initiative of Cardinal Van Roey.

Mandates/Sources of Authority

The Archbishops Archives in Mechelen (AAM) is a private ecclesiastical archival institution which is part of the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels vzw. It is located in the Diocesan Pastoral Center/Diocesaan Pastoraal Centrum (formerly Great Seminary/Grootseminarie) in Mechelen and the Archbishop's Palace on Wollemarkt, also in Mechelen.

The AAM has as its core mission to collect, describe and open the archives of the Archdiocese according to international standards for records management.

The AAM also fulfills an intermediary and supportive role for archivists of local church archives in the parishes of the Archdiocese for the purpose of securing this local religious heritage for the future.

The AAM develops public activities aiming to bring the broad heritage of the historical archives to the attention of a large audience.

The AAM works structurally with other heritage institutions active in the religious heritage field.

Records Management and Collecting Policies

The archiepiscopal archives serve the central services of the archdiocese and the three territorial vicariates in the field of archival management. It is also responsible for the management, disclosure and valorisation of the Archdiocese's archives.

The core task of the AAM is the collection, management, access and valorisation of the archives of the Archdiocese in their dynamic, semistatic and historical phase, and this in accordance with the internationally applicable standards regarding archive management.

Moreover, the AAM plays an intermediary and supporting role with regard to archive managers of local ecclesiastical archives in the parishes of the Archdiocese with the aim of safeguarding this local religious heritage for the future.

The AAM makes its historical archives available to anyone interested in the evolving interaction between religion and society in the Archdiocese.

The AAM does this with the conviction that bishop's archives offer a specific and unique set of instruments with a view to constructing a cultural biography of the Archdiocese, in particular with regard to the historical role of religion and religious traditions as constituting elements of cultural identity.

Finding Aids, Guides, and Publication

Overviews and descriptions of the archiepiscopal archive's holdings can be found online at Archiefbank Vlaanderen and ODIS databases:

Opening Times

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and 1.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. It is not necessary to make an appointment, but for specific research questions it is advisable to send an email in advance.

Conditions of Access

Access to the reading room and consultation of archive documents is free of charge. Upon their first visit to the archive, each reader must show proof of identity (identity card or official document and completes an identification form). When registering, the reader declares that he will take note of and agree with the reading room rules.

The reading room rules can be found here:

Reproduction Services


  • Black and white photocopies: € 0.25 (A4); € 0.50 (A3)

  • Color photocopy: € 1 (A4); € 2 (A3)

  • € 6 administration costs + shipping costs (applicable rates of bpost) if the copies are sent by post

  • scans and photos: € 0.50 per recording + € 6 administration costs


  • Website and Facebook page "Aartsbisschoppelijk Archief te Mechelen" consulted on 19/07/2019

  • 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.