Belgium Culture and Libraries

By | December 21, 2021

Among the scientific institutes of Belgium we must first mention the Académie Royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, founded in 1772 by the Empress Maria Theresa under the name of Académie Impériale et Royale des Sciences et Belles-Lettres de Brussels; it is divided into three classes: literature (history, philology, philosophy, law, political economy, etc.), science and fine arts. Each of them publishes two series of Mémoires (in-4 ° and in-8 °) and a Bulletin. The Academy has also published a Biographie Nationale since 1866. A Commission Royale d’histoire is annexed to the Academy, founded in 1834, which publishes a collection of documents relating to the history of Belgium (series in-4 °, once again under the name of Chroniques belges inédites, today Publications de la Commission Royale d’histoire, and series in −8 ° under the latter title); it publishes a Bulletin. The Institut Historique Belge in Rome depends on this commission (founded in 1902: it publishes the Analecta Vaticano – Belgica and a Bulletin).

In Brussels there is also the Académie Royale de Langue et de Littérature Française en Belgique, dedicated to French literature and philology (publications in-8 ° and Bulletin). it was founded in 1920. The Académie Royale de Médecine de Belgique, which dates back to 1841, publishes some Mémoires and a Bulletin. Since 1886, a Flemish royal academy (Koninklijke Vlaamsche Academie voor Taal-en Letterkunde) based in Ghent, has devoted its work to Dutch literature and philology. To it we also owe some publications (in −8 °) and a bulletin (Verslagen en NIededeelingen). The Académie Royale d’Archéologie de Belgique (seat in Antwerp: publishes the Annales and a Bulletin) is a private organization.

There are also some bodies that depend on the individual ministries. Thus p. eg, from the Ministry of Sciences and Arts: the Commission de toponymie et dialectologie-Commissie voor toponymie en dialectologie (founded in 1926; Bulletin-Handelingen); the Commission Royale des Monuments et des Sites, which publishes a Bulletin des Commissions Royales d’art et archeologie. Other bodies depend on the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Justice.

Among the scientific institutions and societies we will mention only the main ones, excluding all regional or local bodies.

Sciences called “moral”: Society for the advancement of philological and historical studies (Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire); Zuid-Nederlandsche Maatschappij voor taalkunde en geschiedenis (Antwerp: Bijdragen tot de geschiedenis); Society of Bibliophiles and Iconophiles of Belgium (provides for the publications of the National Opera for the reproduction of illuminated manuscripts of Belgium); Walloon Literature Society (Liège: prepares a Dictionnaire Wallon and publishes two bulletins); Queen Elizabeth Egyptological Institute (publications and Chronique d’Égypte); Royal Society of Numismatics and Seal (Revue Belge de Numismatique et de Sigillographie); Royal Belgian Society of Geography (Bulletin); Belgian Society of Philosophy (Archives). For Belgium culture and traditions, please check

Sciences called “exact”: Belgian Society of Mathematics (Mathesis); Royal Belgian Society of Astronomy (Le ciel); Royal Zoological Society of Belgium (AnnalesBulletin); Entomological Society of Belgium (MémoiresAnnalesBulletin); Belgian Society of Biology (Comptes – rendus); Royal Society of Medical and Natural Sciences of Belgium (Annales and Bulletin); Anthropological Society of Brussels (Bulletin); Chemical Society of Belgium (Bulletin); Belgian Society of Geology, Paleontology and Hydrology (MémoiresBulletin); Geological Society of Belgium (Liège, AnnalesBulletin).

Most of these companies belong to the Belgian Federation of Mathematical, Physical, Chemical, Natural, Medical and Applied Sciences Societies.

The Scientific Society of Brussels (Annales and Revue des questions scientifiques) brings together Catholic scholars, lovers of exact sciences or related disciplines.

Finally, we must mention the Fondation Universitaire and the Fonds National de la Recherche scientifique, which owe their origin, one to an American initiative, the other to the initiative of King Albert I (1927). These two institutions, closely linked together, financially support the scientific movement of Belgium.

Libraries. – The great book center of the kingdom is, of course, the capital. Here the royal library, founded in 1838, equipped with excellent printed catalogs, has a collection of 700,000 vols., 26,000 prints, 34,000 papers and 31,000 mss.; the Bibliothèque internationale, which is part of the recently founded Center International (1907), already has 200,000 vols. and it is on the way to become the great international library of this century; the university exceeds 80,000 vols., that of the Parliament and the Civic one reach 65,000 and 35,000 respectively. There are also several technical libraries, among which the most notable is that of the Central Statistical Commission with 52,000 vols. Provincial universities also have large libraries. The Ghent university has 450,000 volumes, including about 550 incunabula and 2650 mss., that of Leuven possesses over 510,000 vols., a collection of 60,000 dissertations, which is surpassed by that of Liège (175,000 dissertations and 440.00 volumes). Liège also has a central public library with 90,000 volumes. On the other hand, the municipal councils in the smaller centers, founded in the last years of the century, have little importance. XVIII or in the first half of the last century (Arlon, Ath, Bruges, Courtrai, Namur, Ostend, Tournai); but that of Antwerp (1505) exceeds 170,000 volumes and that of Malines (1756) 120,000 volumes. The Benedictine library of Maredsous (1872) is also modern, with 72,000 volumes and approximately 10,000 pamphlets. Equally important in the capital are the popular libraries founded in 1868 and consisting of a central office and five branches. During the German invasion the library of Leuven was badly damaged,

The regulation of the public libraries of Belgium dates back to 1837 and is largely based on the Manuel du Bibliothécaire by P. Namour (1834), to whom we owe the excellent Histoire des bibliothèques publiques de la Belgique, published in 1834.

Belgium Culture