Netherlands Archives and Libraries
|The Netherlands Background|
|Local Research Resources|
The FamilySearch moderator for The Netherlands is Daniel Jones.
Archives collect and preserve original documents of organizations such as churches or governments. Libraries generally collect published sources such as books, maps, and microfilm. This section describes the major repositories of genealogical and historical records and sources for the Netherlands. When one of these institutions is referred to elsewhere in this outline, return to this section to obtain the address.
If you plan to visit one of these repositories, contact the organization and ask for information about its collection, hours, services, and fees.
Although the records you need may be in an archive or library in the Netherlands, the Family History Library may have a microfilm copy of them. The library has copies of many records from many Dutch archives as noted below.
In the Netherlands there are five major types of genealogical repositories:
- State (national and provincial) archives.
- Regional and municipal archives.
- Royal and Nobility archives
- Church archives.
- Church parish offices.
- Historical and genealogical societies.
Nationaal Archief (National Archive)
The Dutch government collects records relating to Dutch history, culture, and people. The National Archive is located in ’s-Gravenhage and has the following web-site: National Archive. It contains records of a national nature. The provincial archives are located in the capital of each of the 12 provinces.
To find addresses of other archives, see: Archives. You can access it in 5 different languages, namely Dutch, English, German, French and Spanish.
The Nationaal Archief is the largest public archive in the Netherlands. Almost 1000 years of Dutch history are stored here, in 93 kilometres of documents, maps, drawings and photographs.
The Nationaal Archief manages more than 6,000 different archives. In this section (see the web-site) you can find out what records the National Archives have in their possession. The documents themselves can only be consulted in the reading room.
Each archive collects records from its respective province. Records of genealogical value at these archives include:
- Church records.
- Civil registrations.
- Population registers.
- Court records.
- Military records.
- Emigration lists.
- Notarial records.
- Land records.
- Tax records.
The Archives Law of 1962 allows free public access to any document found in government archives. There are fees for copies of the records. Records in other repositories such as municipal halls and church, business, and private archives are not open to the public.
The state archives of the Netherlands are open to the public. Microfilm copies of many of the records found at these archives are available at the Family History Library. All records containing genealogical information housed in the state archives of Friesland have been filmed.
The address of the National Archive (Nationaal Archief) is:
- Nationaal Archief
Prins Willem-Alexanderhof 20
2595 BE 's-Gravenhage
- Postbus 90520
2509 LM ’s-Gravenhage
Telephone: 070-331-5400 (general information)
070-331-5444 (information concerning the holdings)
Fax: 070-331 5499
Regional and Municipal Archives
Regional archives consist of the records from two or more municipalities. Municipal archives exist for most large towns. They contain the same type of genealogical records found in the state archives. The Family History Library has microfilmed many records from these archives.
Royal and Nobility Archives
Address: Paleis Noordeinde, Den Haag (Via Paleistuin, Prinsessewal)
Postal address: Postbus 30412, 2500 GK Den Haag
tel.: (070)362-47-01 (070)362-47-01
Opening hours: Monday - Friday by telephone appointment
Closed regular holidays as well as 31 January
How to get there:
From train station HS: tram 8 or bus 5, train station CS: tram 7 or bus 4 (stop Mauritskade)
In the Royal House Archive are the personal records found of the members of the House of Nassau and Orange Nassau from the 13th century till the present.
Hoge Raad van Adel
Address: Nassaulaan 2-B, 2514 JS Den Haag
Postal address: Postbus 16325, 2500 BH Den Haag
tel.: (070)361-42-81 (070)361-42-81
Web-site: Court of Nobility
Opening hours: Monday - Friday 9.30 - 16.30 uur
Advising of the Crown concerning nobility issues, gevornment heraldry, some name changes and military emblems; advising of lower public judicial bodies concerning flags; advising of corporations and privat persons concerning genealogy and heraldry.
There are archives for all of the major churches of the country. The largest are discussed below.
Roman Catholic Church. One of the largest archives of the Roman Catholic church are found in the Radboud Universiteit in Nijmegen, Gelderland, Nederland. The web-site for this Katholiek Documentatie Centrum (Catholic Documentation Center) archive is: Documentatie Centrum (KDC)
Archives exist for each of the dioceses of:
- Breda Bisdom Breda
- Groningen-Leeuwarden Bisdom Groningen-Leeuwarden
- Haarlem Bisdom Haarlem
- ’s-Hertogenbosch Bisdom Den Bosch
- Roermond Bisdom Roermond
- Rotterdam Bisdom Rotterdam
- Utrecht Aartsbisdom Utrecht
Dutch Reformed Church.
Web-site for the Protestant Churches in the Netherlands Protestantse Kerk in Nederland
The Protestant Church in the Netherlands is the largest protestant church in the Netherlands in terms of membership. It is the continuation of three former churches, the Netherlands Reformed Church, the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and it exists as from May 1st, 2004.
The address for the Commission of Archives is: Commissie voor de Archieven der Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk
2260 AK Leidschendam
See the “Church Records” section for more information.
Church Parish Offices
Church records after 1811 are usually kept by the local parish, which may also have earlier records. It is possible to write to local parishes and church archives for information. See the “Church Records” section for additional help.
Historical and Genealogical Societies
In the Netherlands there are many organized historical and genealogical societies. Many societies maintain libraries and/or archives that collect valuable records. For more information, including addresses of some societies, see the “Societies” section.
The following is a helpful directory of Dutch archive addresses:
- Koninklijke Vereniging van Archivarissen in Nederland. Almanak van het Nederlands Archiefwezen (Almanac of Addresses and Personnel of Dutch Archives). ’s-Gravenhage: De Vereniging, 1992. (FHL book Ref 949.2J54k.)
Information about archives may also be obtained online. The following web site gives addresses, opening times, and details about their holdings:
Some of the sites found there are:
- Archiefcentrum (NRAC)
- Historisch Centrum Leeuwarden (HCL)
- Het Drents verleden in beeld (Historical Drenthe in pictures)
- Overlijdensakten Drentse oorlogsslachtoffers online (Drenthes World War II victims)
- Historisch Centrum Overijssel (Historical Center Overijssel)
- Oudheidkundige Vereniging "Herderewich" (Antiquarian Society of Harderwijk)
Inventories, Registers, and Catalogs
Most archives have catalogs, inventories, guides, or periodicals that describe their records and how to use them. If possible, study these resources before you visit, or use them during your visit so you can use your time more effectively. A helpful survey of the holdings of the General State Archives and state archives is:
- Pirenne, L. P. L., ed. De Rijksarchieven in Nederland (The State Archives in the Netherlands). ’s-Gravenhage: Staatsuit- geverij, 1973. (FHL book 949.2 A3pi.)
This guide is available at the Family History Library, at your public or university library, or through interlibrary loan.
The Family History Library has copies of many published inventories and other guides, catalogs, and directories from other archives and libraries. These types of records are listed in the Place search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:
NETHERLANDS – ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES
NETHERLANDS, [PROVINCE] – ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES
NETHERLANDS, [PROVINCE], [TOWN] –
ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES
- Archivenet, website for the Dutch archive system]. If searching for a specific locality, click on “Nederland” in the top left and choose either “plaats” (place) or “provincie” (province). Click on the locality in which you want to search, and a list of all the archives, by type and town, comes up with automatic links.English is available for
- Surname Navigator The Netherlands. Megasearch engines by province.
- Netherlands, Archival Indexes, Miscellaneous Records — index
- Netherlands, Archival Indexes, Public Records, index.
- Archives Portal Europe provides access to information on archival material from Netherlands as well as information on archival institutions throughout the European continent.
- FamilySearch Historical Record Collection for the Netherlands has church records (pre-1811) and civil registration (post-1796/1811). However, they are much easier to navigate using Zoekakten as an index.
- WieWasWie -Major site containing most civil registration records, and some population registers, church records, newspapers and military records
- Openarch Similar to WieWasWie but with slightly more records. A small portion of its records can be searched in the collections Netherlands, Archival Indexes, Miscellaneous Records and *Netherlands, Archival Indexes, Public Records, index.
- GeneaKnowHow A site that collates many different online resources for the Netherlands, and includes their subsidary VPND who makes images and indexes of various records, especially Church Records, available online.