Quick tip: addresses are a modern invention

K 3, now Badweg 8, in Winterswijk, 1992

K 3, now Badweg 8, in Winterswijk, 1992. Photo: Yvette Hoitink

Addresses that consist of a street name and a number are a relatively modern invention. Until the 19th century, many houses in the Netherlands did not have addresses but only street names, and often unofficial ones at that. You may encounter descriptions like “the house at the end of the Lily Canal, where the Boars hangs out,” followed by a list of neighbors so everybody knew where that house was.

In the 19th century, many towns introduced a new system where the municipality was divided into districts, and all houses within a district were numbered. You will see addresses like “Wijk E nummer 202” [Ward E, number 202]. One wijk consisted of many streets. It is rare to find conversion tables that tell you where that address was located.

Nowadays, all houses have addresses that consist of a street name and a house number. In some municipalities, like Winterswijk, this system wasn’t introduced until the 1990s.

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for almost 25 years. Her expertise is helping people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. Thanks, Yvette. This is really helpful.

  2. Good to know, thanks Yvette!

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