Types of archives

In the Netherlands there are different types of archives:

  • National archives
  • Provincial archives
  • Local archives:
    • Regional archives
    • Municipal archives

This articles explains the differences between the archives and where to go for your research.

National Archives

The Nationaal Archief in The Hague has two functions: it’s the National Archives of the Netherlands and it’s the provincial archive of the province Zuid-Holland.

As the National Archives, it keeps the records of the Dutch government and other institutions that are of national importance. Some collections are:

  • Records of the departments (ministeries) of the government
  • Dutch East Indies Company archives
  • Dutch West Indies Company archives
  • Cabinet of the Queen archives
  • Emigration records
  • Records of embassies

Many of these collections are usually only of interest to advanced genealogists who can visit the reading room in person.

Provincial archives

The Netherlands is divided into twelve provinces that each have their own provincial archive. Each provincial archive keeps the records of that province. The provincial archives can be found in the capital city of each province.


Local archives

Locally, there are regional archives and municipal archives. Municipal archives can usually only be found in the larger cities. Smaller towns have usually combined their information in regional archives.

Where to go?

Some sources, such as the civil registration, can be found in both the provincial and local archives. Other sources, such as the census records, can only be found in the local archives. Judicial sources, on the other hand, are usually available in the provincial archives only.

For some large cities, their records can only be found at the municipal archives and not in the provincial archives. It is always smart to check with the archive before visiting whether they have the records you are looking for.

If you’re researching in a large city, the municipal archive is the best place to start. Otherwise, start in the provincial archive. An additional advantage to the provincial archive is that you don’t have to visit another archive if the ancestor moved around in the area.

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. Larry Joosse says

    Looking for birth records for Anthonie de Wijze born March 2, 1886 in Zand, and Catharina Johanna vanKeulen born on July 16, 1888. they are my mother’s parents.

  2. Pat Kelderman says

    Hello, I am looking for my husband’s Grandmother’s death date. She visited Canada in 1965 and passed away after that in Holland, Utrecht I think. Her name is Francine Hendrika Marie Schriyver born 21 February 1889 in Utrecht, NL. She married Jacobus Hendricus Bemelaar in 1919. Thanks Pat Kelderman UE

  3. Sascha Napier says

    Looking to find siblings for Johanna Atje Wobma (Opdenkelder) Born 17 Jul 1937 to Elisabeth Jonkman (25 Apr 1908) and Pieter Wobma (15 Dec 1907). I believe they were located in Friesland/Leewarden and possibly one is named Jelle.

  4. Jo Roelofs says

    Looking for the death records (medical record of cause of death) for my mother – in – law:

    Johanna Theresia Barbara van Zandbergen b 28 August 1921 Nijmegen
    married Nijmegen 28 January 1949 Ludovius Josephus Roelofs b 2 February 1925 Zundert
    died 6 April 1956 Nijmegen.

    I have her Personal Record Card but it does not give cause of death. thank you for any help.

  5. Nigel de Wit says

    Looking for marriage records of Dirk de Wit born in Nieuwkoop somewhere around 1745 to 1765. He married Neetlje van Gesseling. They had a son Jacob born in 1779. The Wie Was Wie records do not record anything about Dirk’s marriage. Can you see this record or advise where it can be found? Thank you for any assistance.

    • Hi Nigel,
      As far as I know, the Nieuwkoop marriage records have not been indexed yet. You can browse the scans of the Zuid-Holland marriages at Familysearch.org. I recommend you start with “Nederlands Hervormd” [Dutch Reformed] first, as that was the main church back then. You can then click through to Nieuwkoop and select the image set that has the “Trouwen” [Marriages] records that you seek.

      • Nigel de Wit says

        Hi Yvette

        Your suggestions were very good. I found an entry on page 254 of the video for the marriage I was looking for within a few minutes ! I wish I could translate it as I don’t speak or can read dutch. Is this one of your services?

  6. Nicole Vanderwyst says


    I am searching for information on my paternal grandfather, Anthony Vanderwyst. All I know about him is that he was born August 12th, 1924 in Uden, Noord-Brabant. I don’t know what his parents’ names were. He had two sons, [names redacted for privacy reasons], with my paternal grandmother Anna (I don’t know her maiden name). They all emigrated to Canada in 1952 (not sure of the date or where they landed). Anthony died August 11th, 1966 in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. After that time, I cannot find a death certificate or any evidence of where Anna went before she supposedly remarried my step-grandfather. Unfortunately, I don’t speak any Dutch and am not quite sure how to go about finding the birth certificates for either Anthony (or Anna, who died January 31st, 2011). How should I go about finding Anthony and Anna’s birth certificates?

    • Hi Nicole,

      Vanderwyst is not a Dutch name in that form, it is probably an anglicized version of a Dutch name. It may have been something like Van der Weijst or Van der Wijst, a name that was common in Uden.

      Because your grandparents were born less than 100 years ago, you will need proof of their deaths to access their birth records. So the first thing to do would be to obtain copies of their death certificates.

      A quick search for Ant* W*st in the genealogy page of the Noord-Brabant archives (BHIC) showed a Antonius Franciscus van der Wijst, born Uden 12 August 1924 who appeared in the Uden population register of 1920-1929. The similar name and matching birth date suggests that this is your grandfather. A copy of that population register can be ordered from the BHIC. That will tell you who his parents were. They will have been born more than 100 years ago so their records will be public.

      Elsewhere on this site, I explain how you can request a copy of a birth certificate for people born less than 100 years ago.

      There are several options to find your grandmother’s name. Marriage records are only public after 75 years. To order a copy you would need to know the exact date and place and have proof of death of the spouses. To find out when they married, you could check local newspapers. Some family announcements are available through WieWasWie. You could also order a copy of your grandfather’s personal record card from the Vestigingsregister in The Hague, which is where all the personal record cards of emigrants are kept. That is a tedious process however and can take up to six months.

  7. Patsy LeBlanc says

    I am looking for birth record of my great grandfather,
    Peter Nielson. Possibly Neal Peter Nielson born in Denmark 2May1859. He moved to the USA as a child.

  8. Hi Yvette,
    We are searching from Australia, for Geertje Paters born 22/7/1889 in Amsterdam. (My great grandmother) We have lost all trace of her after her divorce from Jan Roetman. I would really appreciate any suggestions. I understand that deaths aren’t released for 50 years after the fact, so we can’t search for that, and she appears no where else on the common search sites. It is said she had a child before marriage to Jan Roetman and we find no trace of this either. Any help is greatly appreciated! 🙂

    • If you think she died after 1938, you can order her personal record card from the Central Bureau for Genealogy. See my article on personal record cards for more information about this source and how to order. To find out more about a possible child born out of wedlock, I recommend you check the “bevolkingsregisters” [population registers] and “gezinskaarten” [family cards] at the Amsterdam City Archives website (pay-per-view).

    • Dr. John Kleinen says

      Geertje Paters, born in 1889, lived in Amsterdam and moved to Banstraat 49 in the 1920s. She left the house in October 29, 1952 for Apeldoorn and rented the house since then. On October 7, 1941 there was an explosion at her house at Banstraat 49, and according to the air defense records, it was not a bomb. I am working on a history of the area and came across this event. Is there any description or explanation for this incident? Thanks for any help.

  9. Jos DeGroot says

    Hello! My family is researching the Dutch side of our family tree and have found the records online to be very helpful. One problem we have struck is finding the birth record of our great great grandmother Maria Lamberta Werkhoven, b. 16 July 1893 who was an illegitimate child. She may have been born in Utrecht as her mother was from there but we are not at all sure. We have not been able to find any record of her birth online, only her marriage.

    Her mother married when she was 11 and her step-father acknowledged Maria on their marriage certificate [he was not the biological father however]. We cannot find a birth certificate for Maria and are therefore wondering if it would have been possible that she was not registered, or why there is not a record online. Are you able to provide any insight?

    Thank you!

  10. Hi Yvette,
    I’m looking for my great-grandfather Cornelius Johannes Van Kuijen, born 1876 Wassenaar, married March 1902 but I don’t know where. Unfortunately the link you mentioned to scan original documents doesn’t include either date range in Roman Catholic records. Is there another place I should search? I’m wondering if there is a reason why the records for this time period is not available?

    Thank you for your help

    • For the period after 1811, we don’t use church records but civil registration records. Some Wassenaar records are indexed in WieWasWie, and if you can’t find them there you can browse for the scans via Zoekakten.nl. The civil registration records have not been completely indexed yet, so that is why you won’t find all Wassenaar records easily.

  11. My 4g-grandfather Heinrich (Henry) Isaac Faesch was born in Basel Switzerland. We have read that he later moved to Amsterdam where he died in the mid 1700’s. We believe he was enroute to the USA where all of his children ended up. How would we get a record of his death if it exists?

  12. Daniel Smith says

    Another wonderful and excellent reference to Holland is the historical plight of the English separatists who later went on to the American Colonies – known as the Pilgrims. From what I can find, and I’m hoping you can direct me to a resource for scanned documents, is that these separatists lived in Leiden for some time between 1615 and 1622. I have a reference to [Leiden Docs 70] for a single marriage between John Dunham and Abigail Barlow…and also a census record for Leiden in 1622.

    Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

  13. Carrie Knickerbocker says

    Hi Yvette,
    Do you have any insights or suggestions as to where I could look to find some documented evidence which would solve the mystery of the linkage between these 3 generations :
    1. Roelof van Wijhe, (born in Arnhem, 1538-1560, died 1629, married to Johanna Splijthoff), 2.Johannes van Wijhe (born in Bommel, 1597-1651, married to Jannetje Jansen)
    3. Harmen van Wijhe Knickerbocker (born in Bommel 1648-1721, married to Lysbet Janse Bogaert). Harmen was the immigrant ancestor who arrived in the New Netherlands in 1674 and over his lifetime adopted the new name of Knickerbocker.
    It is widely assumed in the Knickerbocker geneology that this lineage connects the van Wijhe family to the Knickerbocker family in Canada and the United States but there is no proof of this lineage.
    Can you point me in the right direction to hopefully confirm this information?
    Thank you so much for any help you may offer.

    • Dear Carrie,
      Tracing an immigrant back to his place of origin is one of the most difficult steps for any genealogist. The sources that may be available differ from place to place. I would have to study this in more detail, including the underlying sources where you found this information, in order to create a research plan. If you are interested, please contact me for a proposal.

  14. Jennifer Goodman says

    I am trying to find my great grandfather birth record. He was born in 1900 in Zuid-Rotterdam Netherlands to Hendrik and Catarina Pot. His name was Frans Bernard Pot. He was the last child of Catarina Schefferlie Pot. I have found his brothers birth records who were also born in the Netherlands and my great grandfathers marriage record from the USA. I know his mother died a few months after he was born and his father was a sailor. The family story has always been that Frans (later known as Frank Potts) was adopted. Why wouldn’t there be a birth record? Is this a common problem to run across? Could it be there just wasn’t anyone available to record the birth? Where would i go or who would i contact about adoption or legal guardian records?

    • In twenty-five years of doing genealogy, I have only ever encountered one person who failed to register the birth, and that was shortly after the introduction of the civil registration in 1811. So you can be pretty sure that there is a birth certificate.
      If you go to the Rotterdam Digital Family tree website and search for first name: Fran* and last name: Pot, you will find several mentions of him in the population register, which shows he was born in Wersten, Germany. That explains why you haven’t been able to find the birth record.

  15. Cindy Boekelman says

    Eugene Boyer was on leave from the Dutch East Indies in Holland in 1924, he had a romance with Marie Elizabeth Willink of Den Hague. Eugene returned to the Dutch Indies and Marie had a promise of marriage. She was pregnant with Eugene’s child. They did not see each other again.
    I would really like to find any family history or possibiity of relatives for my 91 year old Mother in Law who has never known her father or Boyer family. I have tried myself with no luck at all with on line help! Any hints?

  16. Stephen Allberry says

    My gt gt grandfather Hugh Atkinson First appears in 1817 as a 21 year-old Able seaman in the Bombay Marine aboard HCS Teignmouth. At that time the ship was active around the Straits of Macassar. Adjustments to Atkinson’s age in later crew listigs suggest he was born some time between 1794 and 1802. His place of origin is listed in the early records as N.Bat, which I take to be (New) Batavia..
    Can you Advise me where to look for records of Hugh Atkinson’s birth etc.?
    If I understand correctly a search on the roosje roos website suggestis a seaman John Atkinson died in Surabaya in 1832. Could he have been Hugh’s father?

  17. Hi I’m trying to find info
    On a deceased relative jocham van klingeren passed away 2010 in Netherlands and born in netherlands. Iam somehow connected by my father and grand father but this is all the info i have. Would love any info.

  18. Indhumala hoytink says

    My grand fathers name is henrique william hoytink.i need find his family members who live in netherlands.

    • Hi,
      There were several people by that name, including in my own family. Could you give me some more information about him, for example when and where he was born, married, died, where he lived, whom he married?

  19. Erin Uminn says

    My name is Erin (Daam) Uminn, fifth generation Dutch American born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. My great-great grandfather was Thomas Dam (originally Thomas Kremer as he was illegitimate) born 1872 in Uithuizermeeden, Gronigan to Aafke Kremer legitamized by Nanning Dam the year after his birth and their marriage. My father visited Uithuizermeeden and was told that the record of Thomas showed he was not Nanning’s child, Nanning was adopting him and taking him in at the time of marriage to Aafke. My question is….was this common? Is is safe to assume that Nanning was not the father? Or was he possibly the father even though the note says otherwise? How common were illegitimate children and subsequent marriages to other men?

    Also, was it solid, standard practice to give a middle name to legitimate children, but not illegitimate in 19th century? Aafke Kremer, Thomas’ mother, was born to Jantje Kornelis van der Til in 1842. Jantje was married to Tjark Hinriks Kremer (18008-1846) during this time, but I was told that no middle name meant illegitimacy. How accurate is this?

    Aafke’s illegitamate son, Thomas, immigrated to the U.S. (Kalamazoo, Michigan) in his early 20s with his wife Martje Allersma, ,which started my family here. Very interested in their life in the Netherlands, cultural structures, social norms. They were day laborers and very poor.

    • This was not adoption, but legitimization. That meanss that Nanning acknowledged the child as his own, so he was considered as the legal father. It was pretty common for men who married mothers with illegitimate children to recognize her children as his own, as long as there were no legal impediments. For example, if the husband was married at the time the wife had the illegitimate children, he could not legitimize them because he could not have legally fathered a child with the mother at the time of the child’s birth.
      Claiming a child as the legitimate child does not mean he was also the biological father, but he could be. Researching whether he was in the proximity of the mother around the time of conception may rule him out, but otherwise it doesn’t say much. See my article on How to find the father of an illegitimate child for more information.
      The “middle name” that you’re referring to is not a middle name but a patronymic, a name derived from the father’s name. That was a custom in Groningen and Friesland. Since illegitimate children didn’t have a known father, many did not use patronymics. Some were named after the maternal grandfather including patronymic so the presence of a patronymic doesn’t say that the child was legitimate. Also, not everyone used a patronymic, so the absence of one doesn’t imply illegitimacy.

  20. JOanne Hageman says

    Hi, I am researching my husbands family. I am stumped because his fifth great grandfather was Jan Hageman. A birth registered in Zwolle, overijssel in March 1812 of Jan Zwiersen Hageman shows mothers name Petronella Beukeboom,however the next Childs birth record shows mothers name as Petronella Zwiersen. Could these be two different people? I can find no record of a marriage in Holland. YOur help would be appreciated.

    • Fixed surnames only became required in 1811. Before that, people in this part of the Netherlands used either a hereditary last name, a patronymic (name derived from the father’s name), or a farm name. In this case, it’s possible that Petronella was the daughter of a man named Zwier and appeared by her last name in one record and by her patronymic in another record. Researching Petronella should clear that up.

  21. Frederika says

    Thank you so much Yvette for your wonderful website and generosity in helping those of us who are stuck in our search! Your website has been very helpful to me. I have been unable to find any record of my great grandmother, and was wondering if you could clarify why this is. She was born in either 1915 or 1916, so I understand that her records should be public by now. Her name was Jacoba van der Hoek, and I believe she may have been born in Rotterdam. (I have found her husband’s birth record–Frederik Hendrik Bout, born in Rotterdam on April 5, 1911) They had two children, also born in Rotterdam, so my best guess is that this was her hometown too. Any suggestions about how to find her birth, or even her marriage record? (Marriage probably would have been in mid to late 1930’s) As I don’t have an exact birth date I don’t think contacting the Rotterdam archives would be useful.

    • Birth records of 1915 or 1916 have only been public one or two years. Not all archives immediately scan and index these records to make them available online. It looks like Rotterdam only made the records available until 1913. So I recommend contacting the Rotterdam City Archives. They can check the population register for the period to find the date and place of birth. These records are no longer online but can be accessed by the archive. They might charge a research fee. See http://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl.

  22. Terri Pamatat says

    Hi Yvette
    I’ve hit a dead end searching for my maternal ancestors. The only information I have is surname of Vanderhoff
    Last person I have information on is on my great great grandfather John Vanderhoff born 1818/1820 in America. Died 1884.
    Married Elizabeth Mulligan Born 1822 America. Died 6/1897.

    I’ve been told the family originated in Beesd and came to America 1661. Can you suggest where I can find any information on my family? I am on GEDmatch.
    Thank you so much..

    • The Dutch spelling would be “Van der Hof” or “Van der Hoff.” It’s a very common name in the Netherlands. If your earliest ancestor is in the 1800s, I would not assume he’s a descendant of the immigrant in 1661. Just go back one generation at the time. So if your earliest proven ancestor was born in America, you will have to use American records. If you need help with that, I recommend you contact a researcher in the area where your brick wall ancestor lived.

  23. Hi Yvette, my grandmother (Dorothea Wischhoff) asked me to help her try to locate any records for her childhood best friend who was taken during the German occupation. The only information she knows is that her name was Floor Roest, she was born in 1929 or 1930, and they lived in The Hague together.
    Bits and pieces from the war come back to her here and there, but this is one piece I’ve been unable to help her put together. I’ve read HER grandmother’s memoirs of that time, and as fascinating and horrific as they are, there are no recollections of my grandmother’s friends.
    Any direction you can provide would be so helpful!
    Thank you,
    Sarah Stepp

  24. Kim Olthof says

    Hi there! Covid project looking for information for my mil! Looking for how to find Grandmother Anna Maria Weelen born in Kerkrade, Limburg, Nl on September 17, 1916, died September 27, 1958 in Canada.
    Anna married Frans(cis?) Theodore Jozef Breuer who was born June 8, 1915. Also born near Kerkrade. Also died in Canada. I love how everyone had names – but “goes by” different names!!! All my best!

  25. Anusa Edward 3rd says

    Hi, I’m looking to find out how my grandpa died, my grandma tell us about him sometimes and she still doesn’t have enough information. His name is Anusa Edward Adoga, he was schooling in Portland, Oregon.
    Billiongraves showed a tombstone stating his death in 1981. That’s all we know about him.
    I’d love to make her happy and bring clarity on his death to her understanding.

    • My expertise is research in the Netherlands, but I’d think the Oregon death certificate should include the cause of death. But you may want to consult an expert in American genealogy.

  26. Jos Rokebrand says

    Hi Yvette
    Please can you assist to obtain the birth certificate for my mother , Petronna Johanna Baars born 1st April 1922 in Bovenkerk ( near Amsterdam ) Netherlands

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