Netherlands Emigration and Immigration

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Netherlands Topics
Flag of The Netherlands.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
The Netherlands Background
Local Research Resources

The FamilySearch moderator for The Netherlands is Daniel Jones.

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Province Records[edit | edit source]

Additional online sources unique to each country of destination are listed below.

Finding the Town of Origin in Italy[edit | edit source]

If you are using emigration/immigration records to find the name of your ancestors' town in Italy, see Netherlands Finding Town of Origin for additional research strategies.

Netherlands Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

"Emigration" means moving out of a country. "Immigration" means moving into a country. (See Immigration into the Netherlands.)
Emigration and immigration sources list the names of people leaving (emigrating) or arriving (immigrating) in the country. These sources may be passenger lists, permissions to emigrate, or records of passports issued. The information in these records may include the emigrants’ names, ages, occupations, destinations, and places of origin or birthplaces. Sometimes they also show family groups.

Emigration from the Netherlands[edit | edit source]

  • Emigration from the Netherlands has been occurring for at least four hundred years, and may be traced back to the international presence of the Dutch Empire and its monopoly on mercantile shipping in many parts of the world. Dutch people settled permanently in a number of former Dutch colonies or trading enclaves abroad, namely the Dutch Caribbean, the Dutch Cape Colony, the Dutch East Indies, Suriname, and New Netherland.
  • Since the end of the Second World War, the largest proportion of Dutch emigrants have moved to Anglophone countries, namely Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, mainly seeking better employment opportunities. Postwar emigration from the Netherlands peaked between 1948–63, with occasional spikes in the 1980s and the mid-2000s.[1]
Dark thin font green pin Version 4.png One option is to look for records about your ancestors in the country of destination, the country they immigrated into. See links to immigration records for major destination countries below.

Although some major countries are linked here, some Dutch immigration with smaller populations occurred in many other countries. For details on immigration to several more countries, see these Wikipedia articles:

Records of Dutch Emigrants in Their Destination Nations[edit | edit source]

Brazil[edit | edit source]

Brazil Online Sources[edit | edit source]

Brazil Background[edit | edit source]

  • The Dutch were among the first Europeans settling in Brazil during the 17th century. They controlled the northern coast of Brazil from 1630 to 1654. A significant number of Dutch immigrants arrived in that period. The state of Pernambuco (then Captaincy of Pernambuco) was once a colony of the Dutch Republic from 1630 to 1661. There are a considerable number of people who are descendants of the Dutch colonists in Paraíba (for example in Frederikstad, today João Pessoa), Pernambuco, Alagoas and Rio Grande do Norte.
  • During the 19th and 20th century, Dutch immigrants from the Netherlands immigrated to the Brazil's Center-South, founded a few cities and prospered. The majority of Dutch Brazilians reside in Espírito Santo, Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Pernambuco and São Paulo. There are also small groups of Dutch Brazilians in Goiás, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro.[2]
  • After the devastation caused by World War II, the Dutch government stimulated emigration to Australia, Brazil, and Canada. Brazil was the only nation to allow the arrival of large groups of Catholics. With the consent of the Brazilian government, the Catholic Dutch Farmers and Market-gardeners Union (Dutch: Katholieke Nederlandse Boeren- en Tuindersbond) coordinated the emigration process. A group of approximately 5000 migrants from the province of North Brabant arrived in Brazil.[3]

Canada[edit | edit source]

Canada Online Sources[edit | edit source]

Canada Background[edit | edit source]

  • The first Dutch people to come to Canada were Dutch Americans among the United Empire Loyalists.
  • The largest wave was in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century when large numbers of Dutch helped settle the Canadian west. During this period significant numbers also settled in major cities like Toronto.
  • While interrupted by the First World War this migration returned in the 1920s, but again halted during the Great Depression and Second World War. After World War II a large number of Dutch immigrants moved to Canada, including a number of war brides of the Canadian soldiers who liberated the Netherlands. There were officially 1,886 Dutch war brides to Canada, ranking second after British war brides.[4].
  • Dutch emigration to Canada peaked between 1951 and 1953, when an average of 20,000 people per year made the crossing. This exodus followed the harsh years in Europe as a result of the Second World War. Relations between the two countries specially blossomed because it was mainly Canadian troops who liberated the Netherlands in 1944-1945. According to Statistics Canada in 2016, some 1,111,645 Canadians identified their ethnic origin to be Dutch.[1]
Dutch Genealogy and Family History, Library and Archives Canada[edit | edit source]

Early Dutch migrants to North America settled mostly in the United States. Some of the earliest Dutch settlers in Canada were United Empire Loyalists who fled to the Canadian colonies during the American Revolution. Later, there were three major periods of Dutch immigration to Canada.

The first was from the late 1880s to 1914. Many of these migrants were from the United States. As available agricultural land became more scarce there and in the Netherlands, settlers looked to land in the Canadian West. Having already been in North America for many years, Americans of Dutch descent easily integrated into Canadian society.

Although the Dutch settled all across the Prairie Provinces, there were also a few community settlements created, such as those at New Nijverdal (now Monarch), Alberta, Neerlandia, Alberta, and Edam, Saskatchewan. These people owned their own farms or ranches or worked as farm hands. Many others settled in and around the larger cities of Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg.

The next large migration period occurred between 1920 and 1929. During this time, there was a high demand for labour in the farming, industrial, construction and domestic sectors. The majority of these people settled in southern and southwestern Ontario.

The third and last large wave of Dutch immigration began in 1947 following the end of the Second World War. Many of these migrants came from the agricultural sector, but there were also large numbers of skilled labourers and professionals, as well as war brides. The primary destination for most of these immigrants was Ontario and urban centres in the Western provinces. Although the immigration of Dutch peoples slowed after the 1950s, it would never fully cease as people continue to arrive in Canada in lesser numbers to this day. The population of people of Dutch descent today in Canada is approximately one million.[5]

Chile[edit | edit source]

Chile Online Sources[edit | edit source]

Chile Background[edit | edit source]

  • The emigration from the Netherlands to Chile was in 1895. A dozen Dutch families settled between 1895 and 1897 in Chiloé Island. In the same period Egbert Hageman arrived in Chile. With his family, 14 April 1896, settling in Rio Gato, near Puerto Montt. In addition, family Wennekool which inaugurated the Dutch colonization of Villarrica.
  • On 4 May 1903, a group of over 200 Dutch emigrants sailed on the steamship "Oropesa" shipping company "Pacific Steam Navigation Company", from La Rochelle (La Pallice) in France. The majority of migrants were born in the Netherlands: 35% was from North Holland and South Holland, 13% of North Brabant, 9% of Zeeland and equal number of Gelderland. On 5 June, they arrived by train to their final destination, the city of Pitrufquén, located south of Temuco, near the hamlet of Donguil.
  • Another group of Dutchmen arrived shortly after to Talcahuano, in the "Oravi" and the "Orissa". The Dutch colony in Donguil was christened "New Transvaal Colony". There, more than 500 families settled in order to start a new life.
  • Between 7 February 1907 and 18 February 1909, it is estimated that about 3,000 Boers (Dutch farmers from South Africa) arrived in Chile.
  • It is estimated that as many as 50,000 Chileans are of Dutch descent, most of them located in Malleco, Gorbea, Pitrufquén, Faja Maisan and around Temuco.[3]

Indonesia--Indos[edit | edit source]

Indonesia Online Sources[edit | edit source]

Indonesia Background[edit | edit source]

  • The Indo people or Indos, are Eurasian people living in or connected with Indonesia. In its narrowest sense, the term refers to people in the former Dutch East Indies who held European legal status but were of mixed Dutch and indigenous Indonesian descent as well as their descendants today. The European ancestry of these people was predominantly Dutch, but also included Portuguese, British, French, Belgian, German and others.[6]
  • In the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), the Dutch heavily interacted with the indigenous population, and as European women were almost non-existent, many Dutchmen married native women. This created a new group of people, the Dutch-Eurasians also known as 'Indos' or 'Indo-Europeans'. [1]
  • During the 1620s, Jan Pieterszoon Coen in particular insisted that families and orphans be sent from Holland to populate the colonies. As a result, a number of single women were sent and an orphanage was established in Batavia to raise Dutch orphan girls to become East India brides. There was a large number of women from the Netherlands recorded as marrying in the years around 1650. Almost half of them were single women from the Netherlands marrying for the first time. There were still considerable numbers of women sailing eastwards to the Indies at this time.
  • Few European women came to the Indies during the Dutch East India Company period. There is evidence of considerable care by officers of the Dutch East India Company for their illegitimate Eurasian children: boys were sometimes sent to the Netherlands to be educated, and sometimes never returned to Indonesia.
  • In the 1890s, there were 62,000 civilian "Europeans" in the Dutch East Indies, most of them Eurasians, making up less than half of one per cent of the population. Indo influence waned following World War I and the opening of the Suez Canal, when there was a substantial influx of white Dutch families.
  • During World War II the European colonies in South East Asia, including the Dutch East Indies, were invaded and annexed by the Japanese Empire. The Japanese sought to eradicate anything reminiscent of European government. Many of the Indies Dutch spent World War II in Japanese concentration camps. [6]

South Africa-Afrikaners[edit | edit source]

South Africa Online Sources[edit | edit source]

South Africa Background[edit | edit source]

  • The Cape of Good Hope was first settled by Europeans under the auspices of the Dutch East India Company, which established a station there in 1652 to provide its outward bound fleets with fresh provisions. The company offered grants of farmland to its employees under the condition they would cultivate grain for company warehouses. Prospective employees had to be married Dutch citizens, considered "of good character" by the Company, and had to commit to spending at least twenty years on the African continent. In 1691, there were at least 660 Dutch people living at the Cape of Good Hope. This had increased to about 13,000 by the end of Dutch rule.
  • Since the late nineteenth century, the term Afrikaner has been evoked to describe white South Africans descended from the Cape's original Dutch-speaking settlers, regardless of ethnic heritage.
  • Another wave of Dutch immigration to South Africa occurred in the wake of World War II, when many Dutch citizens were moving abroad to escape housing shortages and depressed economic opportunities at home. South Africa registered a net gain of 45,000 Dutch immigrants between 1950 and 2001.[1]

Suriname[edit | edit source]

Suriname Online Sources[edit | edit source]

Suriname Background[edit | edit source]

  • Dutch migrant settlers in search of a better life started arriving in Suriname (previously known as Dutch Guiana) in the 19th century with farmers arriving from the Dutch provinces of Gelderland and Groningen.[1]
  • In 1683, Suriname was sold to the Dutch West India Company. The colony developed an agricultural economy based on African slavery. The Netherlands abolished slavery in 1863 and later imported indentured labor from the British Raj and the Dutch East Indies to keep the economy going.
  • Internal self governance was granted in 1954 and full independence in 1975. The prospect of independence prompted many to migrate to the Netherlands. Political instability and economic decline after independence resulted in even more migration to the Netherlands.
  • The Surinamese community back in the Netherlands is now almost as large as half of the population in Suriname itself (about 350,000).[3]

United States[edit | edit source]

United States Online Sources[edit | edit source]

United States Background[edit | edit source]

  • Overseas emigration of the Dutch started around the 16th century, beginning a Dutch colonial empire. The first Dutch settlers arrived in the New World in 1614 and built a number of settlements around the mouth of the Hudson River, establishing the colony of New Netherland, with its capital at New Amsterdam (the future world metropolis of New York City). Nowadays, towns with prominent Dutch communities are located in the Midwest, particularly in the Chicago metropolitan area, Wisconsin, West Michigan, Iowa and some other northern states. Sioux Center, Iowa is the city with the largest percentage of Dutch in the United States (66% of the total population).[1]
  • For greater detail on locations of early Dutch forts and settlements, early Dutch governments, and the Anglo-Dutch Wars that transferred New Netherland to British control, see Dutch colonization of the Americas", in Wikipedia.

Notarial Records[edit | edit source]

For the period before 1812, look at notarial records of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and other harbor towns such as Dordrecht. There are comprehensive indexes for most of these places. Immigrants often obtained notarized documents before leaving the country. For more information, see the "Notarial Records" section.

The collection Noord-Amerika Chronologie (North America Chronology) contains 5,000 cards abstracted from Amsterdam notarial records. It covers 1598 to 1750 and gives places of origin of immigrants to New Netherland (modern day New York, New Jersey, and Delaware). The collection is available on microfilm at The New York State Library. The address is:

The New York State Library
Cultural Education Center
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12230
Telephone: 1-518-474-5355
Catalog entry for this index

Library staff cannot conduct genealogical searches for you. For those who cannot visit the Library themselves and wish to engage the services of a professional genealogist, Board for Certification of Genealogists maintains a database of genealogists who are certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists and can be hired to conduct research for you.

Immigration into the Netherlands[edit | edit source]

Indonesian Repatriation[edit | edit source]

Over 10% of the "Indo-Europeans" took Indonesian citizenship after Indonesian independence. Most retained full Dutch citizenship after the transfer of sovereignty to Indonesia in 1949. In 1949, 300,000 Eurasians who had been socialized into many Dutch customs were repatriated. The Dutch established a repatriation program which lasted until 1967.[76] Over a 15-year period after the Republic of Indonesia became an independent state, virtually the entire Dutch population, Indische Nederlanders (Dutch Indonesians), estimated at between 250,000 and 300,000, left the former Dutch East Indies. Most of them moved to the Netherlands.[6]

Suriname Emigration[edit | edit source]

The choice of becoming Surinamese or Dutch citizens in the years leading up to Suriname's independence in 1975 led to a mass migration to the Netherlands. This migration continued in the period immediately after independence and during military rule in the 1980s and for largely economic reasons extended throughout the 1990s. The Surinamese community in the Netherlands numbered 350,300 as of 2013. Most have a Dutch passport and the majority have been successfully integrated into Dutch society.[7]

Amsterdam Immigration[edit | edit source]

  • In the 16th and 17th century, non-Dutch immigrants to Amsterdam were mostly Huguenots, Flemings, Sephardi Jews and Westphalians. Huguenots came after the Edict of Fontainebleau in 1685, while the Flemish Protestants came during the Eighty Years' War. The Westphalians came to Amsterdam mostly for economic reasons – their influx continued through the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • The first mass immigration in the 20th century was by people from Indonesia, who came to Amsterdam after the independence of the Dutch East Indies in the 1940s and 1950s.
  • In the 1960s, guest workers from Turkey, Morocco, Italy, and Spain emigrated to Amsterdam.
  • After the independence of Suriname in 1975, a large wave of Surinamese settled in Amsterdam, mostly in the Bijlmer area.
  • In the 1970s and 1980s, many 'old' Amsterdammers moved to 'new' cities like Almere and Purmerend, prompted by the third planological bill of the Dutch government. This bill promoted suburbanisation and arranged for new developments in so-called "groeikernen", literally cores of growth. Young professionals and artists moved into neighbourhoods de Pijp and the Jordaan abandoned by these Amsterdammers.
  • The non-Western immigrants settled mostly in the social housing projects in Amsterdam-West and the Bijlmer. Today, people of non-Western origin make up approximately one-third of the population of Amsterdam, and more than 50% of the city' s children. [8]

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

Many additional sources are listed in the FamilySearch catalog:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Dutch diaspora", in Wikipedia,, accessed 22 April 2021.
  2. "Dutch Brazilians," in Wikipedia,, accessed 24 April 2021.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Dutch Colonization of the Americas", in Wikipedia,, accessed 24 April 2021.
  4. "Dutch Canadians", in Wikipedia,, accessed 24 April 2021.
  5. "Dutch Genealogy and Family History", at Library and Archives Canada,, accessed 25 April 2021.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Indo people", in Wikipedia,, accessed 24 April 2021.
  7. "Surinamese people in the Netherlands", in Wikipedia,, accessed 24 April 2021.
  8. "Amsterdam: Immigration", in Wikipedia,, accessed 25 April 2021.