Netherlands Archives and Libraries

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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.
  • 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 in ’s-Gravenhage. 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.

Each archive collects records from its respective province. Records of genealogical value at these archives include:

  • Church records.
  • Civil registrations.
  • Population registers.
  • Censuses.
  • 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 Archives (Nationaal Archief) is:

Nationaal Archief
Prins Willem-Alexanderhof 20
2595 BE 's-Gravenhage
The Netherlands

Mailing Address:

Postbus 90520
2509 LM ’s-Gravenhage
The Netherlands
Telephone: 070-331-5400 (general information)
070-331-5444 (information concerning the holdings)
Fax: 070-331 5499

The General State Archives maintains an index to family and personal collections listed in the Central Register of Private Archives (Centraal Register van Particuliere Archieven). This register gives the location of materials not kept at government archives. Its address is:

Centraal Register van Particuliere Archieven
Prins Willem-Alexanderhof 30
2595 BE ’s-Gravenhage
The Netherlands

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.

Church Archives

There are archives for all of the major churches of the country. The largest are discussed below.

Roman Catholic Church. Archives exist for each of the dioceses of Breda, Haarlem, ’s-Hertogenbosch, Roermond, Rotterdam, and Utrecht. Internet:

Dutch Reformed Church. The address for the Commission of Archives is:

Commissie voor de Archieven der Nederlandse
Hervormde Kerk
Overgoo 11
Postbus 405
2260 AK Leidschendam
The Netherlands

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:

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 Family History Library Catalog under: