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Guide to the archives of the ministries and the High Councils of State, 1814-1940

F. J. M. Otten

The archives of central government bodies which are stored in the National Archive – ministries and bodies such as the States General and the State Council (Raad van State) – are very important for historical research. However, given the vast scope of these archives, the different ways in which they are structured, and the complex nature of the organisations they serve, it is very difficult to use them when carrying out research. During the period 1813-1940, several new ministries were set up and others were phased out. This research guide aims to help scholars find answers to questions such as: “Which government departments were involved in the subject I am researching?” “Have the archives of those particular government bodies survived?” and “How can I access them?”

Exactly the same standardised data have been gathered on each ministry or council, namely the history of the organisation in question, how its portfolio developed, the archives, printed sources and its key institutional literature. The most extensive section is the part entitled ‘Archives’ which focuses on the way in which the archives are set up and the importance of the points of access provided by the administrative bodies themselves. The introductory chapter provides an explanation about the archive systems used by the government. The appendix contains a list of archival terms, a survey of policy areas, and an organogram showing how the different departments are divided up.

The archival guide came about as the result of a collaborative effort with the National Archive in The Hague.