June 2015: European Diary Archives and Collections (EDAC) is founded

In June 2015, a network of collections of auto/biographical writings or – at first defined more narrowly – of diary archives and collections was founded in Amsterdam. It was initiated by Miriam Nieboer, Monica Soeting and Nina Wijsbek from the “Nederlands Dagboekarchief” [Dutch Diary Archive], and it was agreed to name this European network “EDAC – European Diary Archives and Collections”. Since then, the EDAC network successfully expanded. Currently it has 11 member institutions in Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria and Hungary, including Philippe Lejeune, the well-known theorist of auto/biographical writings, who founded the “Association pour l‘autobiographie et le patrimoine autobiographique (L‘APA France)” in France in 1991. Staff members of the Dutch Diary Archive in Amsterdam are in charge of coordinating EDAC’s activities.

On 5 June, as we mentioned earlier, a European umbrella organization for diary archives , the EDAC (European Diary Archives and Collections), was established. The founding conference was hosted by the Meertens Institute in Amsterdam. In addition to the Dutch Diary Archive (NDA), representatives of diary archives from Germany, France, Hungary, Italy, Austria and the United Kingdom were also present. We have jointly formulated a “mission statement” and “goals” as indicated below.

EDAC’s mission statement and goals

Mission statement

The following mission statement was proposed and accepted: ‘The umbrella organization of diary archives and collections aims to exchange best practices, data and expertise between the different diary archives in Europe, and to promote scholarly research on diaries and other forms of life writing like letters , autobiographies and memoirs. “


  1. The members of the umbrella organization of diary archives and collections, who aim to collect and preserve diaries and all other forms of life writing and enable scholars to study them, will establish a network of the different diary archives and collections in Europe by means of a list serv, the exchange of publications and data, and yearly meetings in order to exchange best practices, data and expertise between the different diary archives.
  2. The members of the afore mentioned organization aim to jointly organize projects concerning the reading and researching diaries and other forms of life writing, scholarly and non-scholarly.

We have also made plans and decisions for the near future. The NDA will act as secretariat for the first two years. The next EDAC meeting – if everything goes according to plan – will take place next September in Pieve Santo Stefano , home of the Archivio diaristico nazionale  of Italy. We decided to set up an EDAC website. Diary archives and similar organizations in Europe that were not present at the founding conference will be invited to become members of EDAC.

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