Rijksarchief te Gent / Archives de l'Etat à Gand
- State Archives in Ghent
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.
In 2015, the State Archives in Ghent opened its new warehouse in Bagattenstraat, which can accommodate up to 40 linear kilometres of archives. The 7km of archives that were formerly housed in the Castle of Gerard the Devil are kept there. Some 19 km of archives held at the State Archives in Beveren until 2015were also transferred to the State Archives in Ghent.
The State Archives in Ghent acquire and preserve archives more than 30 years old from courts and tribunals, public administrations, notaries whose registered office or location is or was established in the territory of the province of East Flanders (including the archives produced in the former judicial district of Oudenaarde as well as the archives of the Ancien Régime formerly held in the State Archives in Renaix).
For a more detailed overview of the State Archives in Ghent's holdings see:
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:
An overview of the finding aids that are available in the State Archives in Ghent's reading room can be downloaded here:
Tuesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The State Archives in Ghent are closed between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. during the months of July and August.
The reading room of the State Archives of Ghent can accommodate up to 124 visitors. The State Archives in Ghent also works closely with the University of Ghent by hosting seminars and workshops that allow students to analyse the sources directly.
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 Ghent, 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 25/07/2019
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.