Υπηρεσία Διπλωματικού και Ιστορικού Αρχείου
- Service of Diplomatic and Historical Archives
- Ypiresia Diplomatikou kai Istorikou Archeiou
The first efforts to maintain diplomatic archives in Greece began one year after the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence (1822). In April 1833, King Otto issued a royal decree aimed at the reconstruction of the state, making radical changes in almost all the basic institutions. This decree provided, amongst other things, for the foundation of an Archives Section as part of the newly constituted 'Secretariat of Foreign Affairs'. It was not until 1910, however, that an Archive Service with specific responsibilities and tasks was founded within the M.F.A. under the jurisdiction of the General Director of Political Affairs. During the German Occupation (1941-1944) the operation of the Foreign Ministry, and by extension of all its Services, was suspended, and access to the archives was strictly forbidden. After the liberation of Greece the record groups were in complete disarray: it became clear that the collection had been partly ransacked and selectively destroyed. Some of the files had been carried off when the Occupation forces departed for Germany, while a number of documents had been removed and destroyed, as was evident from the gaps found in the chronological sequence of the record groups when they were returned in sacks by the American army. The task of reclassifying the archives began in 1945 and was completed five years later. Although the Foreign Ministry files became available to scholars in 1959, research continued to be at a rudimentary level in terms of means and organisation of material, and also of the number of researchers who showed interest in the respective files. It was only after 1994 that significant progress in the reorganisation and modernisation of the Directorate of Archives in all respects has been achieved. This significant progress, can, to a large extent, be attributed to the re-establishment and upgrading of the Directorate of Archives, which, according to the New Regulation of the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1998), was renamed as the Service of Historical Archives.
Archival and Other Holdings
The Service of Diplomatic & Historical Archives (Y.D.I.A.) of the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs (M.F.A.) is responsible for the diplomatic records of the Greek authorities abroad (Embassies, Consulates, Permanent Delegations, Liaison Offices) and also has the management of the Library and the Film Archive together with its subsidiary departments (Photographic Archive and Digitisation Laboratory) of the M.F.A. After many years of efforts, Y.D.I.A. with the assistance of the Ministry’s Special Secretariat for the Development of International Programs succeeded in integrating in the NSRF Operational Programme "Digital Convergence 2007-2013" the project of digitization of the Ministry Central Service’s archival material of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. After the completion of a selection procedure in the fall of 2012, the implementation of the project began in the summer of 2013 and the outcome is scheduled to be finally delivered by the end of the 2014. The result of the project is the digitization of more than 4,000,000 pages of archival material of the period 1821-1923, which from January 2015 will be available to researchers through local terminals in the Y.D.I.A reading-room and online.
Finding Aids, Guides, and Publication
Catalogues and finding aids (only in Greek) are available onsite.
The reading room is open Monday to Friday: 9.30 am to 15.30 pm. The Archives are closed in August and November. It's also closed on public holidays.
Conditions of Access
To conduct research at the Service of Diplomatic and Historical Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the interested candidate must submit an application form provided by, and submitted to the administrative staff of the Service (an application is supported by a brief biographical note, a synopsis of scholar's study, the online application form can be found here: https://www.mfa.gr/en/diplomatic-and-historical-archives/history-of-the-archives-service/research-request.html). The permission is issued following ministerial approval and in accordance to a ministerial resolution from the designated Commission of the Ministry.
Public transportation: Metro station "Syntagma".
The Reading Room is open to researchers who have been granted permission to conduct research and supplied with the respective pass.Only files that have been recorded and classified may be studied in the Reading Room. Researchers shall fill in special forms with the details of the files they are interested in viewing one day in advance. Researchers can apply for up to three files per day.
Photocopying is by request only (up to 50 pages for each topic), and will involve an assessment by staff to see if it is possible, with the preservation needs of the item taking precedence. Photocopies may be produced only by the Ministry's employee in charge of the Reading Room. Documents preceding the 20th century cannot be photocopied, nor can documents that are in bad condition. Digital cameras are not allowed. Researchers must seek the written permission of the Archivist before publication of material from the archival holdings, and the source must be acknowledged.
Cash machines, cafeterias or restaurants can be found in close distance from the Archives.
Entry by V. Ritzaleos based on the Ministry's website.