The National Archives (until 2002 General Archives) exist since 1802. Then the first Dutch national archivist, Hendrik van Wyn, got the task to trace archives and to make an inventory from the earliest times until 1648. Over the years many archives have been added and much has been done to improve archive management. Our archives are in principle public and accessible to everyone. Exceptions are archives that contain information that can, for example, affect the privacy of living persons.
Government institutions are obliged to transfer their archives to the National Archives after 20 years. But not everything that the government transfers can be saved. The archive makes a careful selection from the enormous number of documents, with only the archival documents of lasting importance being given a place in the depot.
The Nationaal Archief wants to literally put the history of the Netherlands at your fingertips. On the website you will find extensive information about the Nationaal Archief and its collection. For example, genealogical sources or the image bank in which you can view more than 500,000 photos online.
You can also search and reserve archive documents through our site. Would you rather visit the reading room?
That can be five days a week. The staff of our reading room will gladly assist you in your personal search. You can also take courses to become more proficient in archival research. And do you have a question or do you want to do archival research and can not you do it yourself? We will gladly do it for you for a fee.