State Archives of Belgium

Our collective memory!

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National Archives of Belgium

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Rue de Ruysbroeck 2
1000 Brussels
  How to get there

T : 02 513 76 80
F : 02 513 76 81

Opening hours:

  • Tuesday to Friday:  8.30 am to 4.30 pm, appointment not mandatory
  • In July and August :  9 am to 12 am and 1 pm to  4.30 pm, appointment not mandatory => closed between noon and 1 pm.
  • Closed on Monday, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.

Reservations (optional): To book your seat in the reading room of the National Archives, please use the online booking form.
Orders for documents to be handed out in the reading room must be made by 8:45 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m.

  Click here for the complete list of closed days

26/01/2023 - Research - Acquisitions - Events - Bruges - NAB

On Thursday 26 January 2023, the charter of Philip of Alsace, Count of Flanders, which was kept in the Benedictine Abbey of Messines (Mesen) in West Flanders, and which had disappeared at the beginning of the First World War, was officially handed over to the State Archives of Belgium. The charter had resurfaced at The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City (The Met) in December 2016. In early 2020, The Met agreed return this precious document, which is part of our cultural heritage, to Belgium.

05/09/2022 - Various

In the context of the launch of the genealogical website (in the autumn of 2022), certain digitised parish registers or registers of civil status will be temporarily unavailable. We thank you for your understanding and apologize in advance for this inconvenience! In addition, we would like to point out that six months after the launch of this new website, the current inventories in the search engine (ordered by province and municipality) will be taken offline. The digitised registers can then only be consulted via the genealogical website. Concretely, this means that the current URLs will disappear. If you have made a link to these registers (in a family tree or on a website), this will have to be adapted after the launch of the website.

24/09/2020 - Research - NAB
FED-tWIN project DIGHIMAPS launched

Op 1 September 2020, a common research project of the State Archives and the University of Antwerp titled DIGHIMAPS was launched. In the future, meticulous georeferencing and vectorisation of maps and (semi-)automatic recognition of their content shall enable us to link more and more maps to other digital contents. Building on the work already undertaken in digitisation and geolocation, this FED-tWIN project examines the potential of digital cartographic collections as a key to our new digital environment.

02/12/2019 - Research - NAB

At the end of September 2019 data experts from across Europe gathered at the UK Data Archive (UKDA) for the annual CESSDA Expert Seminar (CES 2019). Belgium was represented by the SODA project, one of whose researchers gave a presentation about the new Open Data and Public Sector Information directive.

28/10/2019 - NAB

On 18 October 2019, the colloquium 'Saving the Web: the Promise of a Belgian Web Archive' took place in KBR. The colloquium was organised by the researchers of the PROMISE research project that aims to develop a federal strategy for the preservation of the Belgian web. Web archiving is clearly a 'hot topic' because the event attracted 107 participants from Belgium and abroad. The public was very varied and consisted of people active in the archival or library sector, supranational, federal, regional and local government services, research institutions and universities, genealogy, ...

01/04/2019 - Research - Events - NAB

“Cooperation, and even more so international cooperation, can be considered as a very positive factor in every regard”: With these words, National Archivist Karel Velle welcomed some hundred participants on March 18th to the launch event of the Time Machine project, a pan-European initiative and flagship project of the European Commission.

On 10 October 2016, the Belgian State Archives organised a congress about the impact of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) on the core activities of archive services and on their relationship with citizens and users. Eminent speakers from abroad, senior public servants, legal practitioners and archivists with in-depth expert knowledge and international experience reflected on the priorities of archive services, on issues and opportunities to live up to criteria such as accessibility, reliability, authenticity and completeness, but also on tools and procedures to defend and facilitate the very important right to information. The congress proceedings are now available!

The SODA project team would like to wish you a most happy new year! 2019 is the home stretch for the SODA project. Our feasability study for the establishment of a data archive and service provider for the social sciences in Belgium will yield its final report by the end of the year. This entails several challenges yet also opportunities. On the threshold of Europe 2020 the SODA project will finally deliver a clear roadmap that will guide decision-makers when the time comes to truly launch and sustain the Belgian data archive once the prototype is up and running. The project priorities are the following.

Open (research) data, open science, open access, data management plans, data security, protection of privacy… Such are but a few of the many questions that Belgian social scientists are now faced with more than ever. The SODA project team sought to learn more about the needs and concerns of its target audience by sending a needs assessment survey to all Belgian universities.

29/11/2018 - Digitisation - NAB

For over a decade now, the State Archives has been a key player in digital preservation: the institution’s internal developments and the numerous national and international co-operations bear witness of the commitment of the State Archives to tackle this major challenge of the 21st century.

06/11/2018 - Archives management - NAB
Guidance on data protection for archive services

The European Archives Group has prepared Guidelines for the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by archive services. These guidelines provide basic information and practical guidance to archivists regarding the specific challenges for the application of the GDPR in the archival sector. The Guidelines are addressed to public and private institutions that hold archives: National and State Archives, Regional and Municipal Archives, museums, libraries, foundations, etc. They are a work in progress, subject to improvement and enrichment, thanks to the feedback from the archives sector. The Guidelines are currently only available in English, but Dutch, French and German versions are planned for 2019.

30/10/2018 - Digitisation

The State Archives holds a real treasure of cartographic materials, but handing out original maps and plans in the reading rooms bears the risk of deteriorating the state of conservation of these documents. Indeed, repeated unrolling and rolling-up of these maps and plans that are sometimes of considerable size has taken its toll on the documents, which called for a large-scale digitization campaign. In recent years, some 60,000 maps and plans were digitised. This number increases steadily. Roughly 44,000 of these digital images have been processed and are now available for research.

06/09/2018 - Publications - NAB
Mapping between two XML-based metadata standards

In order to reuse some elements of the State Archives' IT infrastructures for the needs of the future data archive, a mapping between Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) and Encoded Archival Description (EAD) was developed. This crosswalk will enable the State Archives of Belgium to feature metadata pertaining to social science datasets in its online catalogues. The mapping is introduced in a paper published by the International Association for Social Sciences Information Services & Technology (IASSIST) in its open-access, peer-reviewed scientific journal, IASSIST Quarterly.

20/07/2017 - Events - Liège - Royal Palace - NAB
State Archives exhibition at Royal Palace

As each year, the Royal Palace opens its doors to the public during summer. Two of the three exhibitions shown there are co-organised by the State Archives! Discover them from 22 July to 3 September 2017. Free entrance.

11/03/2016 - Various - NAB

From 14 to 19 March 2016, the National Association of Italian Archivists carries out actions to raise awareness among the large public for the preservation of archival heritage in Italy and for the need to promote the profession of archivist. We have decided to support our Italian colleagues by spreading their actions and by presenting a number of documents about the history of Italy conserved in our repositories.

21/09/2015 - Digitisation - NAB
Over 38,000 seal moulds online

The National Archives of Belgium conserves one of the most voluminous collections of seal moulds in the world. Until recently, these 38,000 seal moulds were only accessible in the reading room of the National Archives in Brussels. But now they are also accessible online via our website.

28/08/2015 - Digitisation - NAB

On 27. August 2015, the Cartesius website was officially launched at the National Archives of Belgium in the presence of the state secretary for science policy and the defence minister. The State Archives, the Royal Library, the Royal Museum for Central Africa and the National Geographical Institute each conserve rich cartographic collections. The four institutions now have joined forces to bring their historical cartographic collections for the first time together to the broad public.

Two hundred years ago, on 18 June 1815, the famous battle of Waterloo was fought. The State Archives conserves hundreds of linear metres of records from this period that can be searched with archive guides, inventories, historical studies, etc. A number of events are also organised this year in relation with the commemorations.

20/01/2015 - Events - NAB
Colloquium about the First World War on 3 March 2015

On 3 March 2015, the National Archives organizes an international colloquium titled "The Great War from Below: between individual life courses and collective experiences. New sources, new perspectives". Registration mandatory, before 25 February 2015 via  Read more

31/03/2014 - Digitisation - Saint-Hubert - NAB

In March 2014, that is to say 100 years after the First World War broke out and 75 years after the start of the Second World War, the 17 linear metres of archives (100 boxes) were returned to Germany – to the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. Indeed, diplomatic archives are the property of the country that created them.

19/09/2011 - Digitisation - Acquisitions - NAB

In 2009, the National Archives of Belgium received a digital copy of the archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen, Germany. Since September 2011, this copy is fully implemented in the State Archives databases.

Directorate-General and Central Services

Director-General – National Archivist of Belgium: Pierre-Alain Tallier (ad interim)

Directorate-General Secretariat: Chantale Merckaert

Risk Prevention Officer: Philippe Fabry

Archives Supervision
Head: Kathleen Devolder
Archivists: Romain Durieux, Bieke Nouws, Marij Preneel, Stephanie Samyn, Nicolas Surdiacourt, Philippe Wery
Archive teams: Phaedra Traweels, Sophie Vanderus

International and External Relations
Head: Karin Van Honacker
Translators: Alexander Hezel, Pascal Neckebrouck

Public Relations, Communication and Press: Stéphanie Deschamps, Geertje Elaut

Digital Archiving Service:
Head of Department: Johan Van der Eycken
Scientific staff: Rolande Depoortere, Benjamin Peuch

Head of Department: Yves Lardinois
Developers: Gwendolyn Buntinx, Evy Cuyt, Sélim Teyar, Sandra Théate

Digitisation and Digital Valorisation Service (DiVa):
Head of Department: Annelies Coenen
Scientific personnel: Raphaëlle Claude
Team of scanners/importers/quality control: Nathalie Dragers, Iason Jongepier, Peter Fraussen, Kathleen Jorissen, Guillaume Lebbe, Claudine Lelubre, Toon Renard, Marie-Noëlle Verhulst

Directorate of Support Services

Director of Support Services: Eric Dam

Head: Caroline Huys
Staff: Pascale Bataille, Viky Heirweg, Marcel Delwiche

Head: Carine Delhovren
Staff: Carine Bourmanne, Stephan Hamtiaux, Aurélie Hessel, Lieve Maes

Head: Peter Van Overveldt
Staff: Patrice Blanche, Frédéric Gatisseur, Benny Huyghe

Head: Eric Dam
Facilities and Transport Staff: Emmanuel Etienne, Ronny Schoofs, Fabrice Vanderlinden
Cleaning Staff: Henriette Benvanuta Calligaro, Rik Dewaele, Christel Hanssen, Fatima Siraj, Afafe Taj

Brussels Department

Acting Head of Brussels Department: Pierre-Alain Tallier

Section 4: Public Service – Ancien Regime Archives – Restoration Workshop – Library
Head of Section: Marc Libert
Archivists: Lieve De Mecheleer, Dirk Leyder
Reading Room: Benoît Jacquet, Annemie Mahieu, Anja Marginet, Madiha El Maimouni
Library:  Catherine Vandenbruggen
Restoration Workshop: Bart Boon, Bénédicte Muls, Frank Van Laethem
Reproductions and Loans: Yolande Schaltin
Conservation, Preservation and Stacks Maintenance: Naima Ferrouj, Chantale Heuschen, Charlène Mol
Reception: Najima El Hajoui Zaroili

Section 5: Contemporary Archives (NAB + NAB2)
Head of Section (NAB + NAB2): Pierre-Alain Tallier
Head of Section 5 for NAB: Michaël Amara
Archivists: Guy Coppieters, Madeleine Jacquemin, Filip Strubbe
Stacks Managers: Faissal Beddi, Laurent Caltabellotta, Antoinette Delvaux, Ilse Van Damme, Michaël Van Leliendael, Chantal Windels
Conservation, Preservation and Stacks Maintenance: Faissal Beddi, Laurent Caltabellotta, Antoinette Delvaux, Ilse Van Damme, Michaël Van Leliendael, Chantal Windels

Operational Directorate I

Acting Head of Flanders Department: Eddy Put

Operational Directorate II

Operational Director: Sébastien Dubois

Operational Director Wallonia: Sébastien Dubois

Publications and Printing
Head: Roland Van der Gracht
Print Shop: Jan Fabri
Project collaborator: Sofie Onghena e-Procurement