Personal record card

Personal record cards were used from 1938 to keep track of who lived where. They are part of the population registration.

Personal record cards are a great source of information for recent research because they cover the period from 1938 onward. Copies of personal record cards of deceased people can be ordered for a fee from the Central Bureau for genealogy.

Personal index card

Personal index card of Johannes Marijnissen

Administrative process

Personal record cards were introduced in 1938 to replace the old family-based registration. The municipalities kept personal record cards for every inhabitant. If a person moved to another municipality, his index card was forwarded there. It can be thought of as an ‘administrative twin’ that follows you around your entire life.

In 1994, the personal record cards were replaced by the municipal basic administration, that registers the same information in digital form.

Contents of a personal record card

A personal record card includes the following information about a person:

  • First name(s)
  • Last name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Date and place of death
  • Information about the parents (full names, dates and places of birth)
  • Religion (not public, redacted on photocopies)
  • Addresses (public if person died at least 20 years ago, otherwise redacted on photocopies)
  • Information about spouses (full names, dates and places of birth and marriage, whether the marriage ended by death or divorce)
  • Information about children (full names, dates and places of birth and death. Sometimes not all children are mentioned. If the children had already moved out before 1938 they are often not listed on their parents’ cards).

Ordering personal record cards of deceased people

The personal record cards from 1938 onward are not public to protect the privacy of living people. After a person dies, his or her card or record from the municipal basic administration is sent for processing to the Central Bureau of Statistics. When they are done with it, it is sent on to the Central Bureau for Genealogy (CBG). Usually, it takes around two years for the cards to become available at the CBG.

Photocopies can be ordered from the CBG for a fee by filling in the application form and sending it to See the CBG webpage (in Dutch) about the current fees.

For each person you’re requesting a personal record card for, list the following information on the form:

  • First and last names, as accurately and completely as possible
  • The birth date and place
  • Year and if possible the date of death
  • Any other information like information about the spouse (names, birth and death places)

If you don’t know all of this information that’s no problem as long as there is enough the identify the person. If the information is unclear, a research fee will be charged. When ordering more than one card, list the people in alphabetical order.

There is no way to order copies of personal index cards of people who are still alive, because of privacy regulations.

Ordering a personal record card of an emigrant

If a person emigrated, the personal record card was forwarded to the municipality of The Hague, where it is kept in the “Vestigingsregister” (settlement register). To order a copy of a personal record card of an emigrant, write a letter to the following address:

Publiekszaken, Vestigingsregister
Postbus 12620
2500 DL Den Haag
The Netherlands

and include:

  • Your name, postal address and purpose of the request
  • A copy of your ID (passport)
  • If the emigrant was born less than 100 years ago, you will need to send a copy of his or her identification and written consent, or proof of death. Otherwise, your request will likely be turned down.

Dutch Genealogy source score

5 out of 5 stars Amount of information about births, marriages, deaths
4 out of 5 stars Amount of background information about your ancestors
1 out of 5 stars Online availability of scans
1 out of 5 stars Online availability of indexes or transcriptions
5 out of 5 stars Easy to understand if you don’t know Dutch

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. Jo Roelofs says


    My husband and I are visiting Netherlands in Aug this year. We would like to find out if his biological mother’s grave (if there is one). I have a copy of her Personal Record Card which shows date and place of death however no indication if she was buried or cremated. Is there anywhere that we can contact for this type of information? She died 6 April 1956 in Nijmegen. Thank you for any help you can offer.

    • Nancy Groenhof Lloyd says

      Hi Jo, I just started researching information on my grandparents. They were born in Friesland and Gronigen and moved to the US in the ? 1900’s? I am most likely going to Netherlands in August of this year as well… How much time did it take to get the Personal Record Card..and, was it difficult to get/find?

      Thanks so much, Nancy

      • Jo Roelofs says

        Hi Nancy

        As I already had all the information (birth, death, spouse, children etc) I sent a letter including payment to the Central Bureau in Netherlands. It took approx. 8 weeks to receive a photocopy of the Personal Record Card. In your case it may be an option to actually send the information in and then arranging to pick it up while you are in Netherlands. Most of the Dutch genealogy websites have contract details for the Central Bureau. I have found it a long process especially as I don’t read or speak Dutch. good luck with your search.


  2. James Hackett says

    Luckily, the in the Ede and Barneveld regions had made these cards accessible and free online. My Tijsseling ancestors were recorded just before they emmigrated to the U.S., so that made the overseas connection so much easier, and readable.

    • I hope they will remain online. The upcoming new privacy law is making many archives rethink their policies about publishing records less than 100 years old. I recommend downloading the cards of your family members just in case.

  3. Miriam de Vries says

    Hi Yvette,

    I just tried to apply for persoonskaarten for myself and my mother (we emigrated to Australia in the 1970s). But I got an automated response that the email address you’ve got above is no longer monitored, and they referred me to a broken link on the website. Any ideas where I can get the cards from now?


    • The website says they stopped accepting email applications. You can submit a request in writing to:
      Publiekszaken, Vestigingsregister
      Postbus 12620
      2500 DL Den Haag

  4. Helle Strolenberg says

    Is the request for a personal card available in English.

  5. God I wish Ireland was this organized and methodical with their records. It has been a nightmare researching direct links in a tiny area there for the 1800’s. Earlier..pshhh. I start work on Netherland side and everything is pretty much neatly indexed and linked not to mention legible. Heck even the U.S. records could use this level of “togetherness”. I am definitely in awe and appreciate their system!

  6. louise feddema says

    I am hunting for a site that lists divorce records. My husband’s mother was born and raised in Leeuwarden. She married and lived in Amersfoort until she returned to her parent’s home in Leeuwarden. Her son, my husband, and his brother were both born in Amersfoort. An older family member says that they were divorced in 1948 – 49.
    They could have been divorced in either Friesland or Utrech districts. But I can’t find a central ‘look up’ for either…. or for the Netherlands for that matter.
    I will appreciate any help.

    • Divorces are registered in the marriage registers. They are public after 75 years so the 1948-1949 records are not public yet and won’t be in any databases for several years.

  7. Carole Tindall says

    Where can I find out what certain abbreviations mean on the personal record card Please? For example under the Gemeente en adres; ASD 0Nieuwstr 19bhs / Vrolikstr 70 ohs / Gerdoustraat 4 I / 1d 40j

    I realise the street names are mentioned but do not know what the following numbers and letters relate to.

    If an occupation changed form that at the date the card was compiled, would that be updated at all?

    Thank you

    • ASD = Amsterdam. The numbers are the house numbers. The letters behind the house numbers refer to the parts of the house or apartments like bhs = bovenhuis = upstairs house, ohs = onderhuis = downstairs house. 1d 40j could be 1 day and 40 years but without context it is hard to be sure.

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