Prepare your visit
To save you as much work as possible and to make your research uncomplicated and efficient, we have compiled the following useful information. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
We are looking forward to your visit!
Determine whether the archive of the Federal Foreign Office is the best source for your research or whether it would be better to consult other archives with holdings concerning foreign policy. Overviews of archives with such holdings offer the Archives Portal Europe and the Archivportal-D.
Use the search in invenio without registration (select ‘Suche ohne Anmeldung’) to check which record groups and files of the Political Archive are relevant for your research. The more you get to know our holdings, the better we can assist you. Our research guidelines (in German) can help you here to save time and effort.
Read publications about your subject. On our page Gut zu wissen (“Good to know”) you can find a list of essential reading materials and (if available) links to their digital versions.
The sources and references in them will give you important pointers to relevant holdings
Check invenio to see whether files are available for your specific time period. Please consider the rules of the Federal Archives Act, especially those concerning general accessibility of files (§11 Abs. 1) and accessibility of documents relating to persons (§11 Abs. 2).
If you have not visited the Political Archive yet for your current research project, please contact the Political Archive using the contact form “Enquiry to the Archive” and explain your research topic. Doing so, you are welcome to ask questions and ask for help.
When you have gotten an answer including the permission to visit our Archive, please use the contact form “Reserving a work station” to arrange an appointment to reserve a seat in our reading room. Please get in touch at least two weeks in advance since the reading room has limited seating. At peak times the reading room might be fully booked.
Have you already used the Political Archive in the past years but are not registered in invenio yet? Upon request, we will provide you with your User ID and password for logging into invenio. You will receive an e-mail from the sender “Lesesaal-im-Politischen- Archiv@bundesarchiv.de”. The subject of the mail is “Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amts - Ihre Zugangsdaten für BASYS 2 - Invenio”. With these data you can log into invenio.
Are you using the Political Archive for your research for the first time? Please register in invenio to pre-order files for your visit.
When you arrive
Access to the Reading Room
The Reading Room is located in the Federal Foreign Office in central Berlin.
The Federal Foreign Office is a security restricted area. Please understand that certain security measures are required, in particular security checks.
Use the entrance at Kurstrasse 36, where you will exchange your valid ID card or passport for a visitor’s pass.
Follow the signs to the Reading Room. No coats, jackets, bags, food or drink may be taken into the Reading Room. These must be left in the lockers directly outside the Reading Room (you will need a €1 or €2 coin for the lockers). You will be given a see-through bag for your working materials.
You will be given a see-through bag for your working materials on request.
In the Reading Room
Please go to the staff desk and fill in the necessary forms. The Reading Room staff will help you to use the finding aids and, if you have any substantive questions, will arrange for you to talk to a specialist.
The Reading Room has 27 work stations. There are sockets for plugging in your laptop. Wi-Fi is available. The Reading Room also has a reference library with volumes of collected documents and studies on the history of German foreign Policy.
Handling archival material
All the documents in the Political Archive are irreplaceable! Please handle the material with the utmost care, observe the Regulations for Users of the Reading Room (Reading Room Regulations and Regulations for the Use of the Political Archive of the Federal Foreign Office) and follow the staff’s instructions. Documents must not be removed from the Reading Room, damaged, stained or soiled. You must not write on them, stick anything on them or put them into a different order. Items such as padded strip weights and foam wedges are available from the Reading Room staff. These aids will help you to deal correctly with unwieldy archival material.
Telephones, loud conversations, food and drink are not allowed in the Reading Room. There is a seating area with a vending machine for drinks outside the Reading Room.
Do you have any questions? We will be glad to help you!