Liberas (previously known as Liberas/Liberaal Archief) is the central archive of the liberal movement and liberal ideas in Belgium/Flanders. It focuses on individuals, organisations and groups that want to help shape this goal. It wants to be the solid and independent custodian of the rich cultural, social and political heritage of liberalism as expressed in the Oxford Charter. As the only Flemish archive and documentation centre for liberalism, it wants to save the past and map the present of all those organisations, associations, companies, schools, discussion groups, research centres and socially active people who are inspired by the freedom ideal, by free thinking and who champion free trade.
Liberas operates as the heritage centre for the history of the freedom ideal in all its facets. This ideal is translated into the quest for freedom, emancipation, self-development and democracy. All these aspects fall into the focus of our operation. Furthermore Liberas functions as a research institute and a place for cultural heritage.
Liberas: the heritage centre for the history of the freedom ideal in all its facets
Liberas stores archives of the Belgian Liberal Party throughout the 19th, 20th and most recently the 21st century. But it’s not only about politics, we have a far broader scope. Liberas collects material on various cultural and social aspects of daily life. For instance: we document the history of liberal sport organisations, liberal brass bands, liberal health care groups, liberal theatre groups, and so on.
In addition to all this, Liberas has a fine book collection. Our library holds approximately 40.000 volumes, focusing on the history and the ideas of liberalism, secularisation, freedom of expression, human rights, freemasonry, recent Belgian and European political history. Furthermore, you will find hundreds of journals dealing with the same themes.
Liberas/Liberaal Archief: a research institute
It’s our ambition to organise and participate in international historical workshops and conferences, to publish in academic journals and book series, to launch new initiatives, concentrated on the themes of liberalism, secularisation, press freedom, etc.
Liberas has a nice infrastructure in which meetings can be organised, ideas can be discussed and anyone can come together.
Liberas: a place for cultural heritage
We invite the public to come and see our expositions or to attend our historical lectures. We organise book presentations and give a forum to all kinds of groups who share the ideas included in the mission statement of our institute. The public learns to cherish our collection, contribute new archives or materials and has perhaps some inspiring suggestions for the future. The Flemish Government insists on social commitment, bringing on history and heritage in actual discussions and asks the public to participate in the broadest sense. The Board and the Staff of the Liberas work hard day by day to fulfil this engagement.