Quick tip – Download Population Registers from the 1900s While You Can

In May 2018, a new data protection law (AVG) will go into effect in the Netherlands. This is causing many archives to reconsider their privacy policies.

Some archives have published population registers from the period 1918-1939 online, and are now taking them offline again since these may contain information about living people. The Apeldoorn CODA archives have already done so. Unfortunately, that will also limit access to the information about people who are deceased, which is the majority of the people in these records.

If you need population registers from this period for your research, I recommend you download them while you can, since they may be taken offline. You can check the Digital Resources Netherlands and Belgium website to see what population registers (“bevolkingsregisters”) are online for the different provinces and towns.

Population register showing my grandfather and his half-brother

Population register of Breda, 1919-1939. All the people on this page are deceased.

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG®, QG™ is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She holds the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has a post-graduate diploma in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee. She has been doing genealogy for over 30 years and helps people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. Is there a list of archives that made the decision to take the population register offline?

    • So far, I’m only aware of CODA in Apeldoorn but I’ve heard discussions among archivists about taking them down. I will update the article if I discover more archives that decide to do that.

  2. Judd Zandstra says

    That’s bad news. Since the Alkmaar Archive is missing many (all?) birth records for Heerhugowaard and other nearby places. I am dependent on bevolkingsregisters for birth information for relatives of my maternal grandmother in that area. Maybe they will make an exception. Will bevolkingsregisters on FamilySearch microfilms still be available through zoekakten.nl? Not sure how extensive their collection is.

    • I don’t know if FamilySearch will comply with Dutch laws. From what I’ve seen, most of their population registers only go to 1900 or 1910 in most cases, where privacy wouldn’t be an issue. You should be able to order scans of birth records of people born more than 100 years ago from the local and provincial archives, if you already know the date and place of birth.

      • Judd Zandstra says

        That’s like Catch 22. If I knew the birth date and place, I wouldn’t need the scan and I can only get the scan if I know the birth date and place. And i do have population registers from Broekoplangedijk and Noord Scharwoude up to 1940.

      • I know that MyHeritage put up the British 1939 census as Index only, and they closed all persons for who they didn’t see an official death certificate. They said they will run this census yearly through (I assume) a software to open the census details for “newly dead” persons. Maybe that would be a possibility also for Dutch archives.

  3. Bert de Jong says

    And how about the “archiefkaarten” from Amsterdam? I know that many cards from deceased people, contain information on (living) children on the backside. Sometimes even with their marriages and names of spouses added.


  1. […] the end of January, Yvette Hoitink warned about the effect a new privacy law here in the Netherlands will have on genealogical research. About midway through February, she noted that the official advice came that the population […]

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