The digital future of the State Archives

Agreement concluded before the Council of the Duke of Brabant between Arnoul, Count of Looz, and Isabelle de Condé and her sons by which the latter renounce their claims on the county of Looz (territory corresponding roughly to the present province of Limburg).

Document on parchment with 5 equestrian seals hanging from crimson silk cords.
Restored and digitised with the support of the David-Constant Fund (King Baudouin Foundation).
Brussels, 7 April, 1281.
State Archives in Liège.
Charters of the Saint-Lambert cathedral in Liège, no. 373

The State Archives are at the heart of society's digitisation.
The digitisation of old documents allows them to be preserved for future generations, while making them accessible to everyone on the Internet. This is particularly true of documents dating from the Middle Ages - the oldest documents preserved in Belgium date back to the 9th century!

They were written on parchment (i.e. animal skin that had been specially treated) and sealed, and require special conservation conditions. The development of artificial intelligence will increasingly allow the automated reading of very old and more recent writings.

In the future, the State Archives will also have to save born-digital archives, i.e. documents produced only in digital form. This no longer involves scanning papers but presents a completely different challenge, i.e. organising the durable conservation, but above all the readability of computer files for the next centuries.

Enlargement of a detail via the State Archives search engine

Restoration work on the charters of the Counts of Flanders (State Archives in Ghent) with the support of the Baillet Latour Fund.

©State Archives


State Archives of Belgium (AR-AGR)