KBR has collected newspapers since its founding in 1837. The collection continued to expand after the Royal Decree of 6 May 1854 on the founding of a Bureau de la Librairie at the Ministry of the Interior, which was in charge of the library at the time. While Edouard Fétis was the Library’s Head Curator (1887-1904), the collections of “ancient” political papers, which were stored at the House of Representatives until then, were transferred to the Library. Moreover, the 1874 provisions on Belgian Bibliography increased the number of new newspapers; lastly, the Act of 8 April 1965 ensured the establishment of the mandatory Legal Deposit.
Today, some 130 different newspapers – both national and regional editions – are still published in Belgium. Het Laatste Nieuws, Le Soir or Grenz-Echo – we have them in our collection
Newspapers that are still published today are only available bound in volumes about six months after their publication.
When we talk about defunct newspapers, we mean emblematic titles or daily papers that were distributed on a large scale but also official mouthpieces, parish newspapers, advertising papers and innumerable local papers. Particularly noteworthy are the collections of newspapers that were published under censorship during both World Wars, the lavish Belgian colonial press and a number of short-lived and sometimes unusual papers.
Collection of precious works
The Gaston Mertens Collection (Fonds Spécial XLVIII) has more than 60,000 specimens from some 1,650 Belgian municipalities (dating from the mid-seventeenth century to 1948).