Types of archives

In the Netherlands there are different types of archives:

  • National archives
  • Provincial archives
  • Local archives:
    • Regional archives
    • Municipal archives

This articles explains the differences between the archives and where to go for your research.

National Archives

The Nationaal Archief in The Hague has two functions: it’s the National Archives of the Netherlands and it’s the provincial archive of the province Zuid-Holland.

As the National Archives, it keeps the records of the Dutch government and other institutions that are of national importance. Some collections are:

  • Records of the departments (ministeries) of the government
  • Dutch East Indies Company archives
  • Dutch West Indies Company archives
  • Cabinet of the Queen archives
  • Emigration records
  • Records of embassies

Many of these collections are usually only of interest to advanced genealogists who can visit the reading room in person.

Provincial archives

The Netherlands is divided into twelve provinces that each have their own provincial archive. Each provincial archive keeps the records of that province. The provincial archives can be found in the capital city of each province.


Local archives

Locally, there are regional archives and municipal archives. Municipal archives can usually only be found in the larger cities. Smaller towns have usually combined their information in regional archives.

Where to go?

Some sources, such as the civil registration, can be found in both the provincial and local archives. Other sources, such as the census records, can only be found in the local archives. Judicial sources, on the other hand, are usually available in the provincial archives only.

For some large cities, their records can only be found at the municipal archives and not in the provincial archives. It is always smart to check with the archive before visiting whether they have the records you are looking for.

If you’re researching in a large city, the municipal archive is the best place to start. Otherwise, start in the provincial archive. An additional advantage to the provincial archive is that you don’t have to visit another archive if the ancestor moved around in the area.

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for 20 years. Her expertise is helping people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. Larry Joosse says:

    Looking for birth records for Anthonie de Wijze born March 2, 1886 in Zand, and Catharina Johanna vanKeulen born on July 16, 1888. they are my mother’s parents.

  2. Pat Kelderman says:

    Hello, I am looking for my husband’s Grandmother’s death date. She visited Canada in 1965 and passed away after that in Holland, Utrecht I think. Her name is Francine Hendrika Marie Schriyver born 21 February 1889 in Utrecht, NL. She married Jacobus Hendricus Bemelaar in 1919. Thanks Pat Kelderman UE

  3. Sascha Napier says:

    Looking to find siblings for Johanna Atje Wobma (Opdenkelder) Born 17 Jul 1937 to Elisabeth Jonkman (25 Apr 1908) and Pieter Wobma (15 Dec 1907). I believe they were located in Friesland/Leewarden and possibly one is named Jelle.

  4. Jo Roelofs says:

    Looking for the death records (medical record of cause of death) for my mother – in – law:

    Johanna Theresia Barbara van Zandbergen b 28 August 1921 Nijmegen
    married Nijmegen 28 January 1949 Ludovius Josephus Roelofs b 2 February 1925 Zundert
    died 6 April 1956 Nijmegen.

    I have her Personal Record Card but it does not give cause of death. thank you for any help.

  5. Nigel de Wit says:

    Looking for marriage records of Dirk de Wit born in Nieuwkoop somewhere around 1745 to 1765. He married Neetlje van Gesseling. They had a son Jacob born in 1779. The Wie Was Wie records do not record anything about Dirk’s marriage. Can you see this record or advise where it can be found? Thank you for any assistance.

    • Hi Nigel,
      As far as I know, the Nieuwkoop marriage records have not been indexed yet. You can browse the scans of the Zuid-Holland marriages at Familysearch.org. I recommend you start with “Nederlands Hervormd” [Dutch Reformed] first, as that was the main church back then. You can then click through to Nieuwkoop and select the image set that has the “Trouwen” [Marriages] records that you seek.

      • Nigel de Wit says:

        Hi Yvette

        Your suggestions were very good. I found an entry on page 254 of the video for the marriage I was looking for within a few minutes ! I wish I could translate it as I don’t speak or can read dutch. Is this one of your services?

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