Dutch Genealogy News for May 2020

Here is an overview of the new sources, projects, and news about archives that were announced last month.


  • The Drents Archief finished digitizing the notarial records from Drenthe in the 1800s. Some of them are already indexed and can be searched at AlleDrenten. The scans of the unindexed records can be consulted via the finding aids at the Drents Archief website.
  • Detailed city plans from the 1950s have been added to the image bank of the Cultural Heritage Service. The images may be downloaded for reuse if the source is attributed, under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license.
  • Newspapers from the 1600s at Delpher can now be searched. Volunteers have transcribed and corrected all the newspapers from this period. Previously, the transcription was done by computers by OCR (Optical Character Recognition), which contained many mistakes.
  • The Utrechts Archief made 75,000 archival descriptions, 800 images, and 500 book titles relating to World War II available via the Oorlogsbronnen [War Sources] website.
  • Scans of the baptismal, marriage, and burial registers of churches in The Hague, Scheveningen, and Loosduinen (1598-1823) are now available at the The Hague City Archives website.
  • Deeds about 11,000 houses in Den Bosch in the period 1610-1838 have been made available at the Erfgoed ‘s-Hertogenbosch website. Check ‘Akten en registers’ and select ‘Soort akte’: ‘transportakten.’

Market in Den Bosch, 1664. Credits: Abraham van Beerstraten, collection Erfgoed Den Bosch (public domain)


  • Most archives are reopening as of 2 June 2020, with restrictions. Most archives are open by appointment only and have limited capacity because of distancing requirements. Some offer limited services. For example, reading room computers may not be available or appointments may only be available for certain types of research. If you want to visit a reading room, read the archives’ website first or contact the archives.
  • The court of The Hague heard an appeal about copyrights. A copyright holder of photographic images used for postcards sued the Leiden archives who had published scans of the postcards. The court determined that in the case of postcards published anonymously more than 70 years ago, the archives were within their rights to publish them since copyright had expired. They were not required to do extensive research to find out who the original photographer had been. Normally, copyright expires 70 years after the death of the maker, but the courts now clarified that does not apply in the case of anonymous publication. This verdict provides great opportunities for other heritage institutions to publish parts of their photo collections online. [Source: verdict at KVAN/Brain website (PDF)].
  • Seven badly damaged notarial registers of Amsterdam public notaries have been restored so they can be digitized. Some of the records had sustained water damage during a fire in the Amsterdam town hall in the 1700s. [Source: Amsterdam City Archives]
  • The Noord-Hollands Archief acquired their own digital preservation system to preserve and present born digital and digitized records. It will be implemented later this year. [Source: NHA]
  • The Gelders Archief has received permission to provide free scanning-on-demand services for several private archives in their collection. This includes several Arnhem organizations like the St. Elisabeth hospital, the historical society Prodesse Conamur, and the brotherhood of St. Nicolai. The scans can be ordered via the finding aids in the “archieven” section of the Gelders Archief website by pressing the scan icon next to the archival description.


  • The virtual opening of Leiden 400 took place on 16 May 2020, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ departure from Leiden. The event was live-streamed via YouTube, where it can still be watched.

Pilgrim Museum in Leiden. Photography by Kees Hummel, used with permission


  • Volunteers have finished indexing the notarial records of Tilburg (1811-1935). They will be added to the Regionaal Archief Tilburg website later this year. [Source: RAT]
  • The Utrechts Archief is making 150,000 images of Utrecht with an open license available via Wikimedia Commons. The uploading has started but it will take several months to complete. [Source: Utrechts Archief]
  • 138,000 photos created by the Utrecht Province have been added to the image bank of the Utrechts Archief.
  • The population registers of Utrecht (1850-1899) are being indexed. Volunteers can report to the Vele Handen project.
  • The city ledgers of Venlo are going to be digitized. The ink in the registers is deteriorating the originals, so they are being restored and digitized to preserve the information.  [Source: 1Limburg]

Map of Venlo, 1649. Credits: W. Blaeu (public domain)

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG® 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 certificate 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.

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