Dutch term: Dopen

Baptismal font from Leur, Noord-Brabant

Baptismal font from Leur, Noord-Brabant. Source: Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed (National service for cultural heritage)

The Dutch word dopen means baptisms or to baptize. Doopboeken (baptize books) are the main source for birth information prior to the introduction of the civil registration (in 1811 for most of the Netherlands but as early as 1796/1797 for Limburg and Zeeuws-Vlaanderen).

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. Hi Yvette,
    you write……… prior to the introduction of the civil registration in 1811…….this is not correct for the South of the Netherlands, for Limburg civil registration started already in 1797. I think you should mention that too.
    Thanks and greetings,

  2. Tore Langholm says

    Has “baptism” always/usually been equivalent to “infant baptism” in the Netherlands?

    I just found a record of a baptism in the Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk in July of 1698, and wonder if I can assume that this is also the childs’ birth year?

    • I’ve had another person ask the same question on a Dutch Genealogy Facebook group. The short answer is yes, children in the Dutch Reformed church were usually baptized within the week so the baptism date is a good estimate of the birth date. I’ll write a longer article next week or so where I explain some exceptions to this ‘rule’.

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