Applying for a special dispensation to consult or reproduce archives
The Luxembourg National Archives (ANLux) plays a key role in the conservation and communication of private and public archives, and management of government information.
Once they have been filed at the ANLux, and their administrative usefulness has expired, public archives may be disclosed to anyone who requests them from the ANLux. However, specific terms of protection apply and vary depending on the type of information contained in the archived document (e.g. documents considered to pose a threat to Luxembourg's national security, or containing personal information on a natural person, etc.).
During these periods of protection, it is generally not possible to consult or reproduce the documents in question. Nevertheless, researchers may file a request with the ANLux for a special dispensation to consult and/or reproduce such public archives.
Private individuals may also file a request to receive and/or reproduce public archives that concern them personally. If the document concerns a deceased person, the application may be filed by that person's spouse – provided the spouses were not legally separated – or by their civil partner, their direct descendants or, in the case of a minor, by their legal representative or guardian.
Who is concerned
Who can apply for a special dispensation?
- who is undertaking research or scientific work in the public interest; or
- whom a public archive concerns in the broadest sense of the term.
Documents in question
Any archive covered by a term of protection.
The term of protection is:
- 50 years from the date of the most recent document in the file to be deposited at the public archives:
- whose disclosure would be prejudicial to:
- Luxembourg's foreign relations and/or national security, or to public order; or
- the confidential nature of commercial and/or industrial information; or
- cases brought before judicial, extra-judicial and/or disciplinary bodies; or
- the prevention, investigation and/or prosecution of punishable offences;
- whose disclosure would be prejudicial to:
- 100 years from the date of the most recent document in the file to be deposited in the public archives, covered by financial secrecy;
- 75 years from the date of the notarial document, where notary's minutes and protocols are concerned.
Archives containing personal information about a natural person, including information on:
- their private, family and professional life; or
- their financial situation; or
- their ethnicity, political opinions, religious or philosophical views, or membership of a trade union; or
- the processing of data on their health and sexual life, including the processing of their genetic data;
may only be disclosed:
- 25 years after the death of the person in question, if the date of death is known; or
- 75 years from the date of the most recent document in the file, if:
- the date of death is not known; or
- it would require a disproportionate administrative investigation to determine the date of death.
Public archives can be consulted for free.
However, fees apply for the issuance of copies and digital reproductions.
How to proceed
Filing an application
Applications must be made using the appropriate form (consultation/reproduction) and submitted to the Luxembourg National Archives by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In their application for a dispensation for consultation, applicants must specify:
- all the files/documents they wish to consult, using the following format: archive reference, file title, file date, term of protection, category of protection;
- the subject of the research project;
- the timeframe on which the research project focuses;
- the ultimate purpose of the research project (publication, thesis, article, radio programme, etc.);
- any partners, institutions or professors involved in the research project;
- the end date of the research project;
- why the files are important for their research.
In the case of applications for dispensation for reproduction, applicants must also specify:
- the type of reproduction (photographs, scans, copies);
- the purpose of the reproductions (copies of unpublished works or publication).
Incomplete applications will not be processed, especially when the reasons for the research or the files are not specified.
Applicants must include the following documents with the application:
- a written authorisation issued by the person in question or by their beneficiaries: if they wish to consult documents concerning the latter but have no family ties with them; or
- proof of their family ties and their filiation: if they wish to consult the file of a member of their family (marriage certificate, birth certificate, declaration of civil partnership, etc.); or
- proof of their identity: if they wish to consult a document concerning themselves.
The administration's response
In general, the ANLux will forward the application to the body having produced the file(s) (ministry, administration) for approval.
The producer generally responds to the ANLux within 3 weeks of receiving the application.
Failing a response on the part of the producer within the allotted time, a decision will be taken by the Director of the ANLux personally.
The authorisation will generally be granted if the disclosure of the archived documents:
- is required to conduct research or scientific work in the public interest;
- is not excessively prejudicial to the privacy of the person that the document concerns.
The applicant will be notified of the ANLux Director's decision by e-mail.
In the event of approval, the applicant may then:
- go to the ANLux in person to consult the requested documents; or
- receive a copy of the requested document(s).
Validity of the authorisation
The authorisation for disclosure is generally time-limited – i.e. valid until the end of the applicant's research project.
If their application for a special dispensation for consultation and/or reproduction is successful, applicants may be required to:
- anonymise and/or pseudonymise personal data:
- when making use of the documents;
- when citing archive files. In this case, the citations should be in the following format: ANLux, archive reference;
- redact passages that may be harmful to other persons, if the archive documents are to be published or otherwise disseminated.
In all cases, applicants must:
- provide the ANLux with a copy of all the works/publications that are wholly or partially based on archives held in the ANLux;
- check and clarify possible copyright issues.
If their application is denied, applicants may refer the matter to the Archives Council (Conseil des archives) for a ruling. In that case, the application will be reassessed. The Council will hand down its ruling within 3 weeks of the referral.
Applicants may also appeal the refusal before the Luxembourg Administrative Court (Tribunal administratif de Luxembourg). The notice of appeal must be:
- signed by a lawyer;
- filed with the court within 3 months of the notification of refusal.
Forms / Online services
Demande de dérogation de consultation / reproduction d'une personne concernée
Who to contact
Luxembourg National ArchivesPlateau du Saint-Esprit
Postal address :
B.P. 6 L-2010 Luxembourg
Phone : (+352) 247-86660