History and Politics


The service manages and updates extensive documentary resources which are available to the public and collected in two separate libraries: the History Library and the Library of Independent Congo.

The geographical area covered by the documentation of these two libraries is Africa, but its main strength is its documentation on the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.

1. History Library

This covers the history of Central Africa from the second half of the 19th century and brings together a wide range (14,000) of valuable publications, offprints, theses, dissertations and various documents, old and new, on the history of exploration and colonisation, especially Belgian colonisation, as well as current studies of these issues and their contemporary implications (historical, sociological, remembrance-related, artistic, etc.).

Practical details

  • Located at Pavillon Stanley, Leuvensesteenweg 13, 3080 Tervuren (Building D on the plan)
  • Opening days and hours: Monday to Friday, 9.00 to 12.00 and 13.00 to 16.00. Closed on Wednesdays
  • Free entry, by appointment only
  • Tel: +32 (0)2/769.52.76 – fax: +32 (0)2/769 57 18
  • Photocopies: €0.15 per copy

Contact: Lucienne di Mauro
Reading room rules (pdf - only available in Dutch or French)
Photographic reproduction of archive material for private use: which archive documents can you photograph? (pdf - only available in French and Dutch)
Online catalogue of the History Library

2. Library of Independent Congo

This has an extensive collection of documentation on the political, social and economic development of Congo/Kinshasa since decolonisation (the late 1950s) to the present day. New acquisitions are being added all the time, mainly from individuals who have worked in the Congo (the Honoré Paelinck collection of documents relating to ONATRA; the extensive Bogumil Jewsiewicki collection of dissertations from the University of Lubumbashi, etc.).

It includes in particular:

  • documents with limited circulation or which are otherwise relatively inaccessible
  • newspapers (including six newspapers currently published in Kinshasa) and periodicals (1,500 titles)
  • files of newspaper clippings (1,100)
  • posters from the Congolese elections in 2006 (30)
  • catalogued journal articles (11,000)
  • various documents (10,000)
  • theses and dissertations (1,200)
  • archives (1,050 items catalogued)
  • maps (133).

Most of this documentation has been digitised. The database currently has 32,000 items (listing all acquisitions – books, journal articles, theses, dissertations, documents, archive records, Congolese newspapers – since 1984).

Online catalogue of the Library of Independent Congo

A version of the catalogue which is updated daily is available on site.

Practical details

  • Located at Museumlaan 5B, 3080 Tervuren (Finance Building, Floor -1 / Building F on the plan)
  • By appointment only: Monday to Friday, 9.30 to 16.00. Closed on Wednesdays.
  • Tel: +32 (0)2/769.58.45 - fax: +32 (0)2/769.58.20
  • Convenient parking, disabled access
  • Photocopies: €0.15 per copy

Contact: Lore Van De Broeck

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