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The State Archives of North Rhine-Westphalia have been a central institution of North Rhine-Westphalia’s state archiving system since 2004, and their headquarters are in Duisburg.

They comprise three regional departments in

  • Duisburg (the Rhineland Department),
  • Münster (the Westphalia Department), and
  • Detmold (the East Westphalia-Lippe Department).

The regional departments are the direct points of contact for private users and authorities. They receive support from the Policy Department and the Central Services Department, which reports directly to the chairman of the State Archives.


The State Archives of North Rhine-Westphalia were the result of a merger, uniting the former public archives of the federal state. This merger was made possible by a government order on 14 November 2003 (current version).

They are headed by Dr. Frank M. Bischoff as chairman and have a current workforce of 243 (as of 1 September 2020). The business of the Archives is managed jointly by a Management Board, consisting of the chairman, the head of the Central Services Department and a regional head of department who serves for a year at a time. The three regional heads take turns, and their order is determined by the Board.

The State Archives are under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, which also has administrative and operational oversight over the State Archives. Issues arising from the Civil Registry Archives are handled by the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of the Interior.

The Chairman

The State Archives are headed by the Chairman, who bears the overall responsibility for the archives. This involves acting as their representative, determining the strategic direction and overseeing all archiving activities and their professional implementation.