Biography Nationale de Belgique

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The Biographie nationale de Belgique is a biographical reference work for Belgium written in French . It was published in 44 volumes by the Académie royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique between 1866 and 1986. The work contains biographies of important deceased personalities who lived on the territory of what is now Belgium. A period from antiquity to the 20th century was taken into account .


The Belgian academy, previously known as the Académie royale des Sciences et des Lettres , was commissioned to publish the national biography on December 1, 1845 by a decree from King Leopold I , when Prime Minister Sylvain van de Weyer reorganized the academy and the Beaux as an additional class -arts (fine arts) added. The efforts of a commission set up to organize the publication of the reference work initially failed. After Adolphe Quetelet , a member of the Commission had had in 1848 renewed the demand for publication of National Biography and Charles Rogier among others had entered for this work began in 1859, with a new commission headed by the historian and librarian Jules de Saint-Genois used has been. As a result, a list of the personalities to be included was drawn up and the authors to be entrusted to write the biographies were selected.

Between 1866 and 1938, 27 volumes of the national biography appeared in complete alphabetical order; the work was thus temporarily completed. An index volume listing the names of the persons recorded up to then was published late in 1944 as the 28th volume due to the Second World War . After the Flemish Academies announced that they would publish their own biographical lexicon in Dutch (see below), the academy responsible for the French-speaking part of Belgium published a total of 16 supplement volumes of Biographie nationale between 1956 and 1986 . This includes 44 volumes with 12 086 biographies.

Nouvelle Biographie Nationale

The continuation of the Belgian national biography has been published since 1988 according to a new, modern concept under the title Nouvelle Biographie Nationale by the Académie royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique . 14 volumes had appeared by 2018. Both works were digitized by the InBev-Baillet Latour Fund and are freely accessible on the Academy's website.

Nationaal Biografisch Woordenboek

At the same time, a biographical reference work in Dutch has been produced since 1964 , called Nationaal Biografisch Woordenboek , which focuses more on people who were important to the history and culture of the Flemish part of the country. It is published by the Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van België voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten in collaboration with the Koninklijke Academie voor Nederlandse Taal en Letteren and the Koninklijke Academie voor Geneeskunde van België .

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