The Regional Historic Center Limburg was founded in 2004 after merging with the state archives or Rijksarchief in Limburg (RAL) on the Sint Pieterstraat in Maastricht and the municipal archives or Gemeentearchief Maastricht (GAM). It is a service oriented information center for the history and culture of the Limburg province and the municipality of Maastricht. The Regional Historic Center Limburg is also the largest depository for public and private archives in the province. In our depots is a wealth of historic sources. We are a public body as according to the law.
national policy Regional Historic Centers
Since the 1890s, increased social attention for cultural heritage has taken center stage in the country policy of archives. Governments realise that, in addition to the enforcement of legal tasks, a more ambitious presentation of our cultural heritage is necessary to reach a wider public and generate more cultural participation. Even the public itself has expressed an increasing need to make better use of the intellectual, recreational and touristic opportunities offered by collective heritage. In what appears to be a growing market, the phrase ‘history is fun’ is reconfirmed on a daily basis by the numerous active and passive consumers of cultural-historical products and services.
It is from this background that the archive institutions have become aware of the necessity to trade in their supply oriented ways of working for a more demand driven approach. This will increase their meaningfulness to the public and thereby strengthen their reason for being. In this process, it is evident that all kinds of collaboration, digitisation and an adequate PR policy are important instruments. The demand driven policy in the management and the presentation of archive sources and knowledge aims for a larger and more varied public with the offer of interesting historic products and services. Finally, archive institutions are focusing on the customer, for whom exciting, new products are being developed.
This shift in orientation coincides with the broader ambitions of the Maastricht municipality to make cultural heritage more accessible through the project 'Zicht op Maastricht, biografie van een stad’, a biography presentation of the city of Maastricht. This project symbolises an approach to the history of material and immaterial culture, in which case the focus is not so much on the unique, scientific or ethical aspect, but rather on their significance for the future generations of users and residents.
While striving to reach a wider public, the ministry of education, culture and science (Ministerie van OCW) has taken charge of the fusion of state archives in the main provincial cities with local municipal archvies, creating so-called Regional Historic Centers.
coming into being
In april 2001, the State Secretary of Education, Culture and Science and the municipality board of Maastricht signed a declaration of intent, wherein they stipulated their agreement to the merge of the State Archive in Limburg and the Municipal Archive Maastricht. After all both archive institutions carry out many of the same principal tasks, their collections comlement eachother nicely and they cater to the same target groups. With the merge, it is now possible to maintain and present collections from both institutions as a collective whole, so that a larger and more diverse public can be reached. The public body of the Regional Historic Center Limburg was officially founded on December 18, 2003.
With our public orientation, rich collections, expert management and educational programming as a starting point, we strive to be the MAIN information and knowledge center for the history of Limburg and Maastricht. Moreover, we want to be an interesting partner for heritage institutions throughout the Netherlands and in the neighbouring regions of Belgium and Germany. The Ministry and Municipality of Maastricht consider the RHC Limburg as their archive managing institution in relation to the Archives Act, that principally advises on archive matters and contributes to policy of heritage. All archives and collections have been brought together under one roof in our building complex. Included in our collections is the rich image archive collection of Maastricht and Limburg with tens of thousands of cards, imprints, engravings, drawings, photos, videos etc. Our policy aims to make this material available digitally in the coming years, including descriptions and ordering facilities. This material can play an important role in the theme of the history of our surroundings that will be the spearhead of the RHC Limburg policy in the coming four years. A second spearhead is formed around the personal information (genealogy). A diverse educational programme made up of exhibitions, courses, publications, lectures, guided tours, contact days for amateur historians, genealogists etc.
Our building complex can also be used for all kinds of cultural and touristy activities. In addition to guided tours, we imagine organising cultural events such as concerts and expositions, and hiring out meeting rooms, office space and depot storage space.