Denis Diagre

Senior Researcher
Historian and Archivist / Cites Expert (Cactaceae)
Department: Herbarium & Library
Contact : Denis Diagre
Phone: +32 2 260 09 30 

ResearchGate ORCID 


Research on the history of sciences generates an introspective point of view on scientific practices. Thanks to the rich archives and many other historical resources of the NBGB, one can understand how science was made, and still is, how ideas evolved, or not, how society put a strain to scientists or supported them, and how a scientific institution and the surrounding environment interacted in the past and continue to do in the future… among many other things. My main interests are the history of botanical gardens, transformism, plant-hunters and environmental concerns in the XIXth Century.

Valuing, studying and ensuring the conservation of the extensive archival resources of the National Botanic Garden of Belgium also form part of my job. This gives me the opportunity to provide our home botanists, as well as researchers from all over the world, interesting research data in the several disciplines exercised nowadays in botanic gardens, like systematics, nomenclature, nature conservation, and many more.

Last but not least, historical research and archives are an aid in communicating with a broader audience, in this very demanding democratic society. Speeches, exhibitions, and historical billboards in the greenhouses help the laymen understand what a botanic garden can mean for them, and why botanists, though sometimes shy and quiet, deserve their utmost respect and attention.

I am also Cites expert for the Cactaceae, a group of plants I have now grown and loved for more than 30 years.

Professional activities

  • President of the Centre National d'Histoire des Sciences.
  • Lecturer at ULB.
  • Member of the Comité National de Logique, Histoire et Philosophie des Sciences

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