HOME arrow ABOUT US arrow About Amsab-ISH

Who we are
Amsab-ISH is an officially recognized Flemish cultural heritage institution engaged in archiving documents and other items of progressive social movements and persons.

We preserve and collect records from the 19th century onwards. Materials are related to the history of socialist organizations,
radical left-wing organizations, new social movements and groups involved in action for peace, women, the Third World, a different globalization, gay and lesbian rights, migrant rights, etc. Amsab-ISH has also become the archive of the green movement.

We arrange and describe these materials and then make them available to the public for free.
Our mission
We track down archives of progressive social movements, ecological movements and emancipation  movements in Belgium. We preserve and access them for the benefit of anyone interested. We promote scientific research in the field of social history. We strengthen research links with universities. We run projects aimed at the wider public in order to promote active involvement in archival preservation.


Staff and organization

How we are run
Amsab-Institute of Social History is a non-profit organization. The main policy bodies are a General Assembly and an Executive Board chaired by Frank Beke.

Research activities are supervised by a Scientific Advisory Council and scientific commissions.

Our statutes, policies and plans
2008 Cultural Heritage Decree of the Flemish Community pdfbutton

Statutes Amsab-Institute of Social History vzw
(25 October 2004)
(8 February 2007) pdfbutton

Strategic plan 2008-2012 pdfbutton

Strategic plan 2002-2006 pdfbutton

Yearly plan 2008 pdfbutton
Yearly plan 2007 pdfbutton
Yearly plan 2006 pdfbutton
Yearly plan 2005
Yearly plan 2004
Yearly plan 2003 pdfbutton

Our history
Amsab-Institute of Social History was founded in 1980 by Herman Balthazar and Wouter Steenhaut. Both of them were employed at the Department of Modern History at the University of Ghent at that time.

Amsab-Institute of Social History became an officially recognized Flemish cultural institution in 1985. Having gained offical recognition, the Institute was on more solid financial grounds for the first time. The Institute evolved out of the Ghent-Eeklo archives of the Belgian Socialist Party (BSP), established in 1964 to preserve the archival collections of the Ghent socialist movement. It considers the National Institute of Social History (1937-1940) to be its historic precursor.