The Provincial Historical Archive of Biscay is a public cultural and administrative institution. Its functions as both an historical and temporary storage archive, are basically to collect, store and distribute documentation sent to it by the public administration’s bodies and institutions in the province.

It is a State archive, whose management was transferred to the Autonomous Region of the Basque Country by Royal Decree 897/2011 of 24 June, on the extension of the functions and services of the General State Administration transferred to the Autonomous Region of the Basque Country. Subsequently, the Basque Regional Government transferred the management to the Provincial Council of Biscay by Decree 87/2018 of 12 June.




Provincial Archive of Biscay

Calle Henao, 8, 48009 Bilbo, Bizkaia

  • Research room: Monday to Friday, 8.15 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Information and general matters: Monday to Friday, 8.15 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Bank Holidays on which the Archive will be closed:
    • 1 January: New Year
    • 6 January: Epiphany
    • 19 March: St Joseph
    • 9 April: Maundy Thursday
    • 10 April: Good Friday
    • 13 April: Easter Monday
    • 1 May: Labour Day
    • 25 July: St James the Apostle
    • 31 July: St Ignatius of Loyola 15
    • August: Assumption of the Virgin
    • 28 August: Friday of the Bilbao Great Week
    • 12 October: Spanish National Day
    • 8 December: the Immaculate Conception
    • 25 December: Christmas Day

History of the Archive and the building

History of the archive

The Provincial Historical Archive of Biscay, as is the case with the other Provincial Historical Archives, has its legal origin in the Decree of 12 November, 1931 of the Ministries of Justice and Public Instruction and...

Access details of HISTORY OF THE ARCHIVE

History of the building

Until 1988, when it was moved to its current headquarters in calle Henao in Bilbao, the Provincial Historical Archive did not have its own building. Instead, it had occupied a number of provisional premises....



Classification table of funds and collections

Classification table of funds and collections 2019 (PDF, 95KB)

Download Classification table (PDF, 95KB)


  • The Provincial Historical Archive of Biscay is committed to providing a quality, efficient and personal service in response to requests and demands by users, within an appropriate and satisfactory period of time and process, as far as its possibilities and resources allow.

    • Access to the documentary funds in the research room.
    • Response to the consultations requested by post, email, fax or phone.
    • Guidance and advice in searching for and locating documents in the Archive itself, as well as those stored in other archives.
    • Information on the documentary funds and on the handling and knowledge of the instruments describing them and databases available in the room.
    • Technical advice on the archives in the Peripheral Central Administration with the aim of preparing the transfer of funds in the best way.
    • Search for legal and administrative historical records, both for government and private citizens.
    • Issue of simple and certified copies of stored documents.
    • Administrative loan of documents to the government bodies and institutions which produced the documents stored.
    • Temporary loan of documents for exhibitions.
    • Auxiliary library for users.
    • Guided visits and teaching activities.
  • The Provincial Historical Archive of Biscay loans documents that may be administrative or stored temporarily.

    Administrative documents will be loaned as a result of the Archive’s function as a temporary storage archive for the General State Administration in the province. In this case, the request for and reception of the documents must be made by the head of the body or administrative unit that produces them.

    The request for documents generated by a body or administrative unit that is not that of the person requesting them must be authorised by the body which produced the documents, unless when they are required by the courts or by those government offices to which the law assigns the function of guardianship, inspection and control. The request for the loan must be accompanied by the authorisation.

    As a general rule, and as far as it is possible, authenticated copies will be sent of the requested documents, unless other provisions are made under the law regulating this procedure, or there is any other circumstance that that makes it necessary to loan the originals.

    Once the documents have been used for purpose for which they were delivered, they must be returned to the Archive in the same state of conservation as they were before the loan. When documents are added to the documentary units that are to be loaned, this circumstance must be notified to the person responsible for the archive. In general, the loan will be for a period of three months, which may be extended according to the nature of the procedure for which it was required.

    As well as the aforementioned administrative loan, the Provincial Historical Archive of Biscay works with other institutions to provide temporary loans of documents when required for their use in exhibitions. This service requires the prior issue of a Ministerial Order authorising the release of the documents.

    Before requesting documents, the institution organising the exhibition must contact the Archive to learn the procedure to be followed under the regulations established for this purpose. Given that the procedures to be followed are rigorous, and that in most cases the requested documents must be provided with preventive and restorative treatment, the request must be sent to the head/management of the Archive with at least three months’ notice before the planned date of its release.

  • The Provincial Historical Archive of Biscay offers educational visits designed to make the Archive’s facilities, history, functions and services better known. These visits are adapted to the educational level, interests and characteristics of each group.

    In order not to disturb the daily operation of the institution and ensure the visits are carried out in ideal conditions, they must be requested in advance and the group should not exceed 15 people.

    Information and applications:

Auxiliary Library

The Archive has an auxiliary library specialising in archival works, institutional, general and local history, ancillary sciences of history, new information and communication technologies, works of reference and consultation and collections of legislation.

It is designed to serve as support both for the staff of the Archive in carrying out their work cataloguing the documentary funds, and for those who use the room for their research work.

The publications included in it come from purchases or donations from institutions and private collections. In addition, some of the documentary funds from various government bodies are accompanied by bibliographical funds that are of the greatest importance for the study and knowledge of these institutions.

There are 2,678 monographs in all, and about 100 serial publications.

The bibliographical descriptions of the fund incorporations until 2011 may be consulted in the Collective Catalogue of the Libraries of the State Archives. For publications incorporated after this date, the search and location may be made by consulting the existing catalogues in the research room of the Archive itself.

Consultation in the room is governed by the same rules as consultation of documents. Currently the documents may not be taken away on loan.