State Archives of Belgium

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International Relations

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The State Archives is deeply rooted in the European archival community:

International networks and projects

The State Archives is – and has been from the creation in 1948 – an active member of the International Council on Archives (ICA), with over the years a considerable number of (national) archivists participating in the professional sections and working groups of ICA, and being a delegate in the Executive Board of ICA and the Forum of National Archivists (FAN).
The ICA website provides access to numerous online aids and international norms, most of which can be accessed for free, while others are ‘for members only’. Both organisations and individual archivists can become a member of ICA. The interesting multilingual online archives glossary, a dynamic crowdsourcing project, can also be accessed freely.

The State Archives is the official representative for Belgium in the International Commission for the International Tracing Service (ITS), an archive and a center for documenting  National Socialist persecution and the liberated survivors based in Germany.

Another international research project that involves the State Archives is HECTOR, a project on the management of hybrid archives with among others the Université de Montréal.

European networks and projects

  • Next to being an active member of the ICA, the State Archives has been a fervent advocate for the European Branch of ICA, Eurbica. The present national archivist has been acting as secretary-general (2010-2012) and as president (2012-2016) of Eurbica. In 2016, a state archivist was elected as a member of the new Eurbica executive board.
  • The State Archives stood in 1999 at the origin of the European Board of National Archivists (EBNA) and participated since the beginning in the European Archives Group (EAG), created by the European Commission in 2005. The mission of the EAG is to ensure cooperation and coordination on matters relating to archives. The EAG advises the Commission on issues that affect archives.     
    The EAG has cooperated in EU programmes, for example to make archives in Europe more widely available via the Archives Portal Europe, and on methods for digital preservation in the eARK project.         
    Issues discussed at recent meetings include the role of archives services in the EU digital agenda and the digital single market.
  • Also in the managing, promoting and feeding of the Archives Portal Europe, partner of Europeana, the Belgian State Archives plays a leading part, with the national archivist acting as chair of the Assembly of associates of the Stichting APEF, an archivist being secretary of the Governing Board and two other archivists playing a prominent role in the Country managers network.
  • Cegesoma, the Study Centre War and Society, being part of the State Archives, is partner in the Horizon 2020 project European Holocaust Research Infrastructure, a project and a portal supporting the Holocaust research community by building a digital infrastructure and facilitating human networks. Watch a short film about EHRI.
  • The national archivist or his representatives take part in various executive boards of EU organisations and projects: Europeana, Dariah, Cendari, DLM-forum.
  • The State Archives’ new SODHA department (Social Sciences and Digital Humanities Archive) acts as service provider and Belgian representative in the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) since October 2020. Belgium joined the consortium in 2015. CESSDA enjoys the European legal status of European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC). After researchers deposit their data in reusable format on the SODHA platform, the State Archives forwards them to the CESSDA Data Catalogue, thus extending their online publicity to the European level.

Cross-border networks and projects

Beside these (pan-)European networks, the Belgian State Archives are also involved in a range of bi- and multilateral archival networks, for instance:

  • Leitungskreis of the Internationales Archivsymposion (IAS) (Belgium-Netherlands-Luxemburg-Germany). This cross-border network laid the basis for the Erasmus+ e-learning project (vocational training) about material conservation of archives (only available in German, Dutch and French translations are planned).
  • Association internationale des archives francophones (AIAF) that accomodates the very rich PIAF portal, where French-speaking archivists can find online training, audio-visual tutorials, guidelines, documentation, etc.
  • Vlaams-Zeeuws archivarissenoverleg.
  • The organisation committee of the annual Brabantse archivarissendag. e-Procurement