More than ‘just books’.

KBR is the national scientific library and collects all Belgian publications. The institution preserves, manages and studies more than 8 million documents, a rich cultural and historical heritage.

KBR provides access to all information in its collections, facilitates research and offers a broad cultural experience.

KBR, a unique and inspiring place with a wealth of outstanding knowledge - all protected and made accessible for you.

Collections and research

  • American Studies: KBR has an extensive collection of paper and electronic sources.
  • The Belgian Bibliography makes inventories of catalogue records of all non-periodical publications (monographs, brochures, offline electronic documents…) submitted to the Legal Deposit.
  • Chalcography. KBR keeps more than 9,000 ancient and modern engraved plates (wood and copper). The plates tell the history of engraving in Belgium and Europe since 1488.
  • The Coins and Medals Department holds the national collection of coins and medals.
  • Contemporary Printed Books, KBR’s main collection of printed works contains the publications printed after 1800.
  • KBR provides serveral types of electronic resources that allow you to access a wealth of information, via the internet, from general to specific information, mainly in the field of human and social sciences.
  • The Manuscripts Department contains approximately 35,000 manuscripts, including 4,500 medieval codices.
  • KBR’s collection of maps and plans consists of: more than 100,000 maps and plans.
  • The Music Department is the country’s most important scientific centre for the preservation of musical documents.
  • In terms of diversity and volumes, KBR’s collection of newspapers is by far the largest in Belgium. From seventeenth century journals to last week’s papers
  • It is estimated that KBR’s graphic collection, which is kept at the Prints Department, contains more than one million objects, making it by far the largest collection of graphic works in Belgium and one of the finest in the world.
  • Since 2007, old books (dating from before 1830) are held at the Rare Books Department. Currently, the Department houses approximately 282,000 printed volumes.

  • KBR manages, preserves and safeguards a large heritage collection and ensures access to our heritage for current and future generations. For this reason KBR focuses on the following three guidelines: preventive conservation, conservation and restoration
  • KBR has been digitising its collections, not only for preventive conservation purposes, but also for the online dissemination of these collections.
  • Research is part of KBR’s core purpose. Our scientific staff research our collections and often they collaborate with researchers from other scientific institutions.

KBR Museum

Belgium has been hiding a valuable treasure for 600 years.

Explore the 15th century in our region through the images, stories and characters from the Library of the Dukes of Burgundy. Discover Europe’s medieval cultural past against the backdrop of the sixteenth-century Chapel of Nassau.

These masterpieces, which have survived the ravages of time and of history, have been looked after for you by KBR. It is now opening its vaults to share the highlights of this fantastic collection via its new museum.

These days, everyone knows about Jan Van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden, but the miniature artists, responsible for producing illuminated manuscripts, are every bit as impressive. So much so that some say that the finest Flemish Primitive paintings can perhaps be found in manuscripts.

It is these original manuscripts that are at the heart of the new museum.

Palace of Charles of Lorraine

The Palace of Charles of Lorraine hosts KBR’s temporary exhibitions.. Did you know that in 1839 the Royal Library of Belgium was housed in the Palace of Charles of Lorraine?

An impressive staircase, adorned with a statue of Hercules sculpted by Laurent Delvaux, leads up to the first-floor rotunda. The rotunda’s paving includes a central rosette made up of 28 types of Belgian marble, a sample of the Prince’s collection of 5,000 minerals.

This wonderful floor art leads to five rooms decorated with stuccos and silk, where the governor would entertain his guests and take care of state affairs.


Keizerslaan 2 Boulevard de l'Empereur
B-1000 Brussels
  +32 (0)2 519 53 11

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Agenda: conferences, symposia and Exhibitions

In 2017 the Institute underwent a peer review. A summary of the evaluation can be found in the ‘Management Summary‘.