Maria Theresa ruled the Austrian Netherlands in the 1740 – 1780 decennia, from the center of the Habsburg Monarchy in Vienna without ever coming to our territories. How was she kept informed about what happened in her so far away "Belgian provinces” ? How were reforms carried out under her reign? What kind of official representation guaranteed her sovereignty in the Netherlands? On 20 and 21 December 2017, an international scientific event will examine this typical example of “remote sovereignty”. A close collaboration between the archives of the Académie royale de Belgique, the State Archives of Belgium, the Royal Library of Belgium and the Moretus Plantin University Library (UNamur) highlights the tracks, sources and witnesses preserved in our archive deposits and still visible in the public space by the so peculiar characteristics of the complex monarchies of Ancient Regime. Last but not least, a virtual exhibition will guide the public through the original documents kept by those different institutions.
This event, organized by the Institut des Hautes Études de Belgique, is supported by the FNRS (the Fund for Scientific Research of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation), the Académie royale de Belgique, the Centre de recherche SociAMM and the Groupe d’Étude du XVIIIe siècle (Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences of the Université libre de Bruxelles), and the Department of History of the University of Namur. Conferences will be held in the prestigious setting of the Académie royale de Belgique, an ideal place to understand how the political power hooks into the City. Created under the reign of Maria Theresa, the Academy is still part of the Royal district built at the time to house the main government and judicial institutions of the Austrian Netherlands’s capital.