How to get there:
The State Archives of Belgium are on the following address:
rue de Ruysbroeck 2
phone: +32 2 513 76 80
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It is easy to get there by taxi or public transportation. The national airport of Belgium, which is situated in Zaventem near Brussels, is about 14.4 km (8.95 miles) away and it takes about 16 minutes to drive by car (without traffic).
The museum district “Kunstberg – Mont des Arts”:
The archives are near the Kunstberg which in French is called Mont des Arts (hill of Arts).
That area in fact serves as the Museum District of Brussels which was conceived by King Léopold II. King Léopold II decided to turn the whole district into what today is known as the Mont des Arts. The King dreamed of making Brussels a modern and cultural capital city and Mont des Arts the treasure of his country and witness to the history of Belgium.
The Mont des Arts is situated in about the same area which was known as the “Jewish quarter” until the 15th century.
Probably one of the most the most famous museums on the Kunstberg is the Magritte Museum in the Althenloh building. It belongs to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and opened to the public on 2nd June 2009. For a complete list of the museums and a background on the Kunstberg, you can visit the website of the Mont des Arts (see the list with websites at the end of this article).
The Jewish Museum of Belgium:
One museum which sits just outside that area and is thus not mentioned on the website from the Mont des Arts, is the Jewish museum. It is about 300 meters from the State Archives.
There is a genealogy department in that museum (Cercle de Généalogie Juive de Belgique asbl) which meets each first Tuesday of the month (not in July and August).
The Jewish Museum of Belgium is on the following address:
Musée Juif de Belgique
rue des Minimes 21
phone: +32 2 512 19 63
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Opening hours of the State Archives:
The State Archives are open from Tuesday to Friday on 8.30am to 6.00pm. On Monday they are closed. And in July and August they are closed between 12 and 13 o’ clock in the afternoon while closing an hour earlier in the evenings (please confirm on their website for current times).
There are lockers available for the visitors. You have to activate the locks with a coin of 50 eurocent which you’ll get back after you finished using the locker. The lockers are next to the toilets in the basement of the building.
The reading room:
When you get there, you’ll need to ask directions to the reading room which is on the second floor (if you take the elevator, for reasons unknown to me it is on the button with minus 2 that you need to press to get there):
Entrance to the reading room costs money. The first option is to pay for a week pass and another option is to pay for a year pass (in 2011 I paid €15 for a year pass). The card will be given to you after paying (Please take cash money with you as that is the only way to pay them, I had to walk to a bank which took me about 7 minutes to walk).
They usually will introduce you on how best to work when ordering files and making use of the reading.
TIP: Click here to read my next post which discusses how to request files in the reading room of the State Archives in Belgium. In that article I go deeper into the details on how to request files in the reading room.
Although I explain how to work when you are specifically looking for immigration files, I believe that these tips can be useful when requesting other types of files as well.
- State Archives in Belgium:
- General website:http://arch.arch.be/index.php?lang=en_GB
- Opening times:http://arch.arch.be/content/view/117/137/lang,en_GB/
- The Mont des Arts – Kunstberg:
- General website:http://www.kunstberg.com/
- Printable map of the Mont des Arts:http://www.kunstberg.com/cms_files/N-59-File.pdf
- List with museums:http://www.kunstberg.com/en/58
- The Jewish Museum of Belgium:http://www.mjb-jmb.org
- On http://www.ebru.be (Les rues, places et avenues de Bruxelles) you’ll find descriptions of many streets from Brussels, the following links tell us more some of the streets in the area of the Mont des Arts:
Further reading: The following 3 articles on this website attempt to present the reader with a general overview of the Belgian State Archives:
- An introduction to the Belgian State Archives and its immigration files
- The State Archives in Belgium: Getting there (current page)
- Preparing your research at the Belgian State Archives