Husserl Archives Leuven

International Centre for Phenomenological Research

International Centre for Phenomenological Research
Welcome to the husserl archives!

Our doors are always open from Monday to Friday, 10-12 and 14-16pm

If you are interested in the history of the Archives, want to take a closer look at the manuscripts or get a grip of the spirit of Husserl: we offer ‘guided tours’, just write a mail to

Husserl Archives in Leuven

The Husserl Archives in Leuven is responsible for the publication of the philosophical work of Edmund Husserl. It was established in 1939 when, facing the threat that because of his Jewish origin, Husserl's work might be destroyed by the National Socialist authorities, Professor H.L. Van Breda successfully brought Husserl's estate secretly from Freiburg to Leuven.

Husserl HandwritingThe chief mission of the Archives remains research into and documentation of Husserl's estate. The Archives receives visitors from around the world interested in consulting Husserl's manuscripts, or the extensive Phenomenology library of the research centre. Thanks to activities such as the publication of monographs and the organisation of international conferences, the Husserl-Archives plays a central role in the dissemination and development of the phenomenological movement.


Exhibition: Ashes to Archives - War and Philosophy in Leuven

Tentoonstellingszaal Central Library

20-2-2015 - 20-03-2015

This exhibition tells the intriguing story of the Institute of Philosophyand the Husserl Archives at the KU Leuven against the backdrop of the First and Second World Wars. By illustrating the history of the Institute and tracing the life and work of Edmund Husserl, the founder of phenomenology, the exhibition will illuminate the intimate relationship between philosophy, phenomenology, and war.

Husserl’s son Wolfgang (photo) was killed in 1916 at Verdun and many of Husserl’s students fought in the war and wrote about it. The Institute of Philosophy served as a field hospital during the German occupation of Leuven, and was instrumental in saving Husserl’s writings—40,000 pages and his philosophical library of over 4,000 books and pamphlets—in 1938.

In 1951, Father Herman Van Breda launched the edition of Husserl’s writings, the Husserliana, and created a crucial anchoring point with the Husserl Archives in Leuven for the reestablishment of intellectual contacts between France and Germany, and throughout Europe. Many important philosophers, including Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Jacques Derrida, came to Leuven to read Husserl’s unpublished work, and Van Breda enjoyed extensive contacts with Lévinas, Heidegger, and others. In this unique manner, the Institute of Philosophy and the Husserl Archives proved critical for the post-war reconstitution of a European republic of philosophy, one that had been tragically fragmented with the outbreak of the First World War.


Upcoming events

Workshop: Sources of Normativity – Phenomenology in Finland

Jaakko Belt, Mirja Hartimo, Sara Heinämaa, Joona Taipale and Fredrik Westerlund

February 24, 9:30 - 6 pm, Salons

Multi-centered Phenomenology Workshop (Paris-Copenhagen-Leuven)

March 2, 1 - 6 pm, Salons

March 3, 9:30 - 5:30 pm, Salons