Skip to main content
Find archived material

Accessing and using records

The State Archives of North Rhine Westphalia hold hundreds of thousands of documents, covering more than 1200 years of history. On the following pages, you will find information about the use of our archives and how to conduct a search, both online and in person, in our Reading Rooms in Duisburg, Münster and Detmold. If you’d like to visit a Reading Room, you can also find out how to prepare and plan for your visit in practical terms.

Finding and using records online

Are you looking for historical documents for your questions or research? This is where you can find out how to carry out an online search for archived records and which online stocks you’ll be able to access.
Ein Mann schreibt etwas mit seiner Computertastatur.

Finding and using records in the reading room

Would you like to visit the State Archives and search through our records in one of our Reading Rooms? This is where you’ll find some practical help to make your visit successful.
Im Lesesaal der Abteilung Westfalen in Münster, liest ein Mann in eine Akte. Vor ihm befinden sich weitere Akten auf dem Tisch.

Our stocks

Are you at the beginning of your research, and you’re not sure whether the State Archives actually contain documents that are relevant to your questions or project? This is where you’ll find an initial overview of the historical areas covered by the records at our facilities.
Eine Nahaufnahme einiger alter Akten in einem Regal. Aus den Akten schauen oben Zettel mit Signaturen und Barcodes heraus.

Good to know


Would you like to access documents that are still subject to closure periods? Would you like to obtain reproductions of documents?

Eine Frau und ein Mann schauen sich gemeinsam eine alte Akte an. Die Frau erklärt dem Mann etwas dazu.