BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, December 11, 2014 — During the 2015-2018 period, the FPS Foreign Affairs will transfer its African archives to the Belgian State Archives. On 11 December, a memorandum was signed between the President of the Board of Directors of the FPS Foreign Affairs, Dirk Achten, and the Director-General of the Belgian State Archives, Karel Velle.
The archive pieces, originating from the closed African archives, date from the 1885 – 1962 period and come from the former Ministry of Colonies and the Governor-General of the Congo. The transfer to the State Archives takes place in accordance with the legal obligation for the FPS Foreign Affairs to transfer to the State Archives its archives dating more than 50 years. Moreover, in times of budgetary restrictions, the FPS Foreign Affairs should concentrate on activities adding more value to its mission. In that regard, the State Archives are a worthy successor, more suited to meet the requirements on the preservation and retrieval of archive records.
The department possesses three archives, of which the African archives is the largest part. The two remaining parts, the diplomatic archives and those of the Belgian Development Cooperation, will be ready for transfer to the State Archives only after having been subject to further inventory.
The relocation of the archives will take three years, but the inaccessibility of the documents will only be limited to a maximum of 2 weeks for each archival part that will be packed. The State Archives will ensure that researchers are received in the best conditions, similar to those at the FPS Foreign Affairs. In time, the accessibility of the archives will even be improved, as currently existing research instruments available in paper format only will be digitalized and published online on the website of the State Archives.
SOURCE: Belgium – Ministry of Foreign Affairs