Via BelgicaPress, you can search millions of pages of digitised historical Belgian newspapers. The digitised images of the newspaper pages are analysed with Optical character recognition software (OCR) in order to produce text files of the newspaper content. Thanks to OCR, the content is full-text searchable.
Only content which is over 100 years old is freely accessible over the internet (currently 1831-1918). You can search about 1,2 million pages from your home computer.
More recent newspapers, which are subject to copyright, can only be consulted in the Newspapers Reading Room of the Royal Libary of Belgium, or via the Belgian national research network (BELNET) for universities, colleges, schools and research centers.
Why do we digitise our newspapers?
Old newspapers are very fragile because they are printed on acidic wood-pulp paper, which became commonplace in the late 19th century. When exposed to air, the paper yellows and becomes brittle over time.
For some ten years now, the Royal Library of Belgium has been digitising its collections. Priority is given to vulnerable collections. More than 3,5 million newspaper pages have been digitised since 2006. By means of partnerships, a total of more than 4 million digitised documents have been produced.