State Archives of Belgium

Our collective memory!

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A scientific institution

The National Archives and State Archives in the Provinces, in short the ‘State Archives’, is a federal scientific institution of the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO). The institution is composed of the National Archives in Brussels and 19 State Archives repositories throughout the country. Our annual reports provide an overview of our activities from the past decade.

Acquisition and preservation

The State Archives obtain and preserve (following appraisal) archive documents that are at least 30 years old from courts, tribunals, public authorities, notaries and from the private sector and private individuals (businesses, politicians, associations and societies, influential families, etc. that have played an important role in society). It ensures that public archives are transferred according to strict archival standards.

Supervision and advice

The State Archives supervises the proper preservation of federal, provincial and local government archives. State archivists carry out inspections and advise administrations to improve their archive and information management. They evaluate the scientific, historical and social value of archive series and record in selection lists their final destination: destruction or transfer to the State Archives for permanent preservation. Administrations may not destroy documents without permission from the State Archives.

Making archives accessible

The scientific personnel of the State Archives makes archives accessible for research by authouring inventories and other search aids such as research guides, archive overviews, guides and institutional studies. Indeed, one of the key tasks of the institution is to make these archive documents available to the public, while respecting the privacy of particular information. By means of its 19 reading rooms, the State Archives provides appropriate infrastructure to a wide public. Maintaining a direct service to the public via the Internet is another of the institution’s key priorities.

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