In recent history, the world has repeatedly been confronted with economic shocks as a result of financial crisis, pandemic and war. Although they occur very rarely, such events are not unique. Economists are therefore increasingly looking to the past to understand their consequences.​

​The Belgian case in this respect is particularly interesting from an economic history perspective. Belgium was not only the first industrialized country on the European mainland, but the Belgian economy was also closely interconnected with the world economy at the beginning of the twentieth century: the stock exchanges of Brussels and Antwerp were global financial centers where securities of companies and governments from around the world were traded and Belgian companies were active internationally. At the moment, however, the Belgian past cannot fully play its role as a laboratory for economic analysis because company and stock exchange archives and long-term financial market data are not, or only to a limited extent, catalogued and accessible.​

The general purpose of ARCHIE.BEL is to promote multidisciplinary research into the economic history of Belgium in its broadest sense (including business and financial history) by (1) improving the accessibility of stock exchange and business archives through cataloging, (2) collecting and digitizing data and making it more widely available, and (3) jointly leveraging both these archives and data for academic research into financial and economic development and their interactions. The main expected results in the short term (two years) are catalogues of the archives of the stock exchanges of Brussels and Antwerp which will also be transferred to the Belgian State Archives, a website with data on the securities listed on these exchanges and their issuers, and two papers on the organization (microstructure) of the securities markets in Brussels and Antwerp.


ARCHIE.BEL is funded for a period of ten years (2022-2032) by the Belgian Science Policy (BESLPO) within the FED-tWIN program. FED-tWIN is a federal research program to support sustainable cooperation between the Federal Scientific Institutions (FSI) and Belgian universities. The aim of the program is to develop sustainable joint research activities between the FSI and the universities. To this end, research profiles are jointly elaborated by a FSI and a university, to be implemented by a post-doctoral researcher who is employed part-time at the FSI and part-time at the university.

Partners & supervisors

The project is jointly carried out within the Studiecentrum voor Onderneming en Beurs (SCOB) at the University of Antwerp and the Belgian State Archives in Antwerp-Beveren. The supervisors are SCOB chairman prof. dr. Jan Annaert (University of Antwerp) and dr. Johan Dambruyne (Belgian State Archives). 

Dr. Dambruyne is head of department at the Belgian State Archives in Antwerp-Beveren. The Belgian State Archives are a federal scientific institution devoted to preserving and managing Belgium’s archival heritage. The Antwerp-Beveren branch is the regional repository for business archives in Flanders. It preserves and manages roughly five linear kilometres of archives from small to large companies active in all industries.


The FED-tWIN researcher is senior researcher dr. Johan Poukens. He obtained his PhD in History from the University of Leuven in 2017 and previously held postdoctoral researcher positions at the University of Antwerp’s Department of Accountancy and Finance (2018-2021) and its History Department (2021-2022), as well as at the University of Groningen’s Economics, Econometrics and Finance Department (2021-2022). His research interests are data management, data modelling and stock exchange history.



Poukens, J., & Buelens, F. (2022). Stock exchange regulation and the official price lists of the stock exchanges of Brussels and Antwerp, 1801–1935. Financial History Review, 29(3), 342–357. doi:10.1017/S0968565022000117


Poukens, J. (1 Sep. 2023). The Antwerp Stock Exchange official list, 1814-1997. Paper presented at the European Historical Economics Society Conference (Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien, 1-2 Sep. 2023).