News & events

New website on the Belgian press during the First World War

12/07/2019

What do newspapers reveal about the Great War? A whole lot, apparently. People got their news from written sources in times of no social media, television or radio. They might have read one of the numerous dailies or local papers to get updates on the (home)front. Newspapers were essential for the inquisitive civilian. The new website belgianpressfromthegreatwar.be elaborates on the role and importance of newspapers from the First World War and shows the way to 380.000 digitised newspaper pages from 1914-1918, including the ones from the VIAA digitisation project News from the Great War.

Those newspapers reveal more than just the Great War story, and that is why they are undeniable heritage. Belgianpressfromthegreatwar.be shows the uniqueness and diversity of the Belgian press landscape that described the battle and daily life during the First World War comprehensively. However, these war papers were not only important for Belgium. They emerged during a worldwide conflict, involving the presence of numerous nationalities on Belgian territory. 

The newspapers that were preserved by various Belgian heritage institutions were digitised the past few years and can be read (worldwide) online via three digital archives: News from the Great War, The Belgian War Press and BelgicaPress


Heritage of global importance

To make the unmistakable importance of this heritage tangible, we presented a solid dossier in 2017 together with vzw Flanders Heritage Library, FARO, PACKED, State Archives of Belgium/CegeSoma and KBR (Royal Library of Belgium), to have it included in the UNESCO Memory of the World register. Unfortunately, the collection was not approved by UNESCO, together with various other dossiers regarding war heritage. In order to save the content of the dossier, the Flanders Heritage Library transformed it to a website for Belgian newspapers from the First World War.