Looking for census records in the Netherlands?

In many countries, census records are a popular source for genealogical research. In the Netherlands, we use population registers or civil registration records instead.

After the census of 1849, the government decided to keep the information up to date. These records are called population registers and show where a family lived in a certain period. Because the registers cover a longer period (usually 10 years), you can see who moved in or out, or who was born or died, which makes them much more informative than census records. Many population registers are available on Familysearch.org and can be found using  Genver (see: use Genver to find Dutch records on Familysearch).

Population register

Breda, population register 1860-1869, vol. 10, p. 105, household of Cornelia Platschart

Civil registration records are generally the most reliable sources for information about birthsmarriages and deaths and the first place you should look for 19th or 20th century information. Many are indexed on WieWasWie and scans are available on Familysearch by using Genver.

Before 1850, census records (or ‘volkstellingen’) can be used in addition to the information from the civil registration and church records. Census records are not widely available online and usually require a visit to an archive.

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, MLitt, CG®, QG™ is a professional genealogist, writer, and lecturer in the Netherlands. She has a Master of Letters in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee, and holds the Certification of Genealogist and Qualified Genealogist credentials. Yvette served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists and won excellence awards for her articles in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly. Yvette has been doing genealogy for over 30 years. She helps people from across the world find their ancestors from the Netherlands and its former colonies, including New Netherland. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. Katharine Havas says

    Question: If a person was living with a relative who was a citizen of Amsterdam in the 1940s, would they be listed on a census for the 1940s? I can’t find a census for the 1940s – can you fill me in on why the information is missing? Thanks.

    • In the Netherlands, we use population registers which are kept up to date rather than census records since 1850. Population registers for Amsterdam are only public until 1938, when the system was replaced by individual personal record cards. Copies of these can be ordered for a fee, see the article for instructions.

      • Katharine Havas says

        Thank you for your reply. Can you tell me if the Jewish population in Amsterdam would have been included in the civil registration records?
        I am having great difficulty finding my husband’s family members between 1930 and 1942 even though I know they were in Amsterdam during this time. His father and uncle married women from Amsterdam and I cannot even find the women (using their maiden surname). I am wondering if the Jewish population was tracked differently. Thank you in advance for any enlightenment you can give me.

  2. Laura Kight says

    Can you direct me to a resource on how to research with the population census. I am directed to population census records via Family Search or other websites but I can’t seem to determine when the records were created.

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