FPS Foreign Affairs transfers its precious library collection to the Royal Library of Belgium

Patrick Lefèvre & Dirk Achten

The Federal Public Service (FPS) Foreign Affairs has officially transferred its library collections to the Royal Library of Belgium. Dirk Achten, Secretary-General of the FPS Foreign Affairs and Patrick Lefèvre, Director-General of the Royal Library completed the transfer agreement this morning. The Royal Library can guarantee that Belgium's oldest ministerial library (1831) will be preserved under the best conditions. It can also offer a better service to readers, since all works will be found in a single catalogue and reading room.
 
A first in the collaboration between federal institutions
It is the first time that a federal public service library is to be transferred to the Royal Library. “Naturally, we hope that other federal libraries will also follow this lead,” confirms Patrick Lefèvre. “Should others intend to transfer their libraries, then the Royal Library of Belgium is certainly the most logical place for them.” Dirk Achten: “We felt comfortable in setting up this project because of the impressive way in which the Royal Library approaches its tasksThe Royal Library is able to conserve our ministerial library for the future”.
 
A diverse and rich heritage
The Foreign Affairs library is the oldest ministerial library in existence (founded in 1831) and also, together with the Fonds Quetelet library (FPS Economy), the most extensive. It consists of over half a million volumes. The current library was created by merging four existing libraries: the Diplomatic library, the library belonging to the former Ministry of the Colonies (founded in 1885), better known as the African Library, the library for international legal documentation (founded in 1887) and the library of the DGDC (Directorate-General for Development Cooperation, founded in 1963).
 
The library also includes various special bound editions that are not really related to the core subjects of the collection. A small selection of the range: a French - Latin - Chinese dictionary from the year 1813, the Official Journal including legislation related to the Ionian Islands from the 1820s, a print of an article from Stefanie of Belgium about female emancipation (1909), and a set of personal photos from Belgium's Military Governor von der Goltz, which he forgot when he left the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 
Patrick Lefèvre & Dirk Achten