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Welcome to CEGESOMA

CEGESOMA, Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society, is the Belgian centre of excellence for the history of 20th century conflicts. It carries out research, organises public events and holds document collections. As a federal institution it is, together with the State Archives and the Royal Library, part of the Documentation Pole. It is a platform for academic and public activities in Belgium and abroad, in particular with regard to the two World Wars.

Notice to the Visitors and Partners of CegeSoma and the State Archives of Belgium

From 1 January, CegeSoma will be part of the State Archives

From 1 January 2016, CegeSoma will be integrated in the State Archives under its new name “Study Centre War and Society”. From that date, CegeSoma will be the fourth Operational Directorate (OD4) of the State Archives.
The tasks of OD4 / CegeSoma remain unchanged. For now, the integration has no consequences for the researcher or the visitor of CegeSoma. There will be no changes at present with regard to the reading room (the regulations, tariffs, opening hours) and the online services (websites, search systems). At the beginning of 2016, measures will be developed and implemented to harmonise public service in all Operational Directorates of the State Archives. We will inform you of these measures in due time. Also for the partners of CegeSoma and the State Archives, everything will remain the same, a few practical matters excepted.
You can follow these developments via the usual information channels: newsletters, websites and facebook pages.

Karel Velle & Rudi Van Doorslaer17 December 2015

Important notice

On Thursday 5 May 2016 (Ascension Day) and on Friday 6 May 2016, the Centre will be closed.


War Enthusiasm: Europeans Attracted by the Dark Side


How could we explain the rapture that seized thousands when World War One broke out? How can we understand how sensitive, cultivated and smart people from different European backgrounds turned into enthusiastic and convinced warmongers?
Oorlogsenthousiasme. Europa 1900-1918” by Ewoud Kieft, a Dutch historian, writer and musician, is centered on these questions. Kieft will give a conference on his book at CegeSoma on Wednesday 11 May 2016.
Read more...

Workshop on Reconciliation in Post-War Contexts

Woman prays at Potocari genocide memorial centre near Srebrenica.
Woman prays at Potocari genocide memorial centre near Srebrenica.

CegeSoma co-organises an international workshop on reconciliation in post-conflict situations. The discussion will focus on the tensions between international policies and the expectations and needs of local communities.

The workshop will take place in Den Haag on 18 May 2016 in English. All details are in the programme.

Deux siècles de justice. Encyclopédie historique de la justice belge


During the shocking moments of the Dutroux affair, a commonplace remark was that Belgian justice ought to move on from the 19th to the 21st century. In reality, this judiciary system has developed continually on the frenetic pace of the ebb and flow of the priorities of Belgian society.  A voluminous encyclopedia gathering the top experts in the field gives a full account of the question (to order it, click here).
Read more...

The Cahiers d’histoire du temps présent and numerous other publications of CegeSoma at give-away prices

For a modest sum, it is still possible to acquire the majority of the CHTP-BEG as well as several studies and work instruments on Belgian 20th century history.

Read more...

Research ? Not Only for Academics !

Associated Researchers Meeting Day on 23 May 2016

Scholarly research about 20th century conflicts has long ceased to be the exclusive domain of academic historians. Scholars from other disciplines, as well as non-academic researchers are now actively pulling their weight in the field. This yields results that are often as diverse as they are valuable. In order to bring this varied group of researchers together in one network, CegeSoma has created the statute of Associated Researcher. This statute replaces the old network of 'correspondents'. Read more...

Tuer au nom d'Allah. Radicalisation ou subculture? Les combattants européens en Syrie


Some 500 Belgians, mostly in their 20s, left their home country for Syria, where they joined the most brutal terrorist group IS, also known by its Arabic acronym Daesh. So did thousands of other Europeans. This phenomenon raises difficult questions. Rik Coolsaet (Ghent University & Egmont-Royal Institute for International Relations) will give a conference on the subject on Wednesday 25 May 2016 at CegeSoma.
Read more...

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