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These index adds historical business data since 1921 of the Chambers of Commerce of the region of The Hague (Haaglanden), the region of Dordrecht, the region of Leiden, the region of Delft, the region of Gouda and the region of Rotterdam and Beneden Maas. These data were entered in a special database.


The index provides access to expired ("closed") files of enterprises, registered in the Nationaal Archief. The non-expired files of enterprises, which are still registered with the Chambers of Commerce for South Holland, can be found at the Chamber of Commerce site.

Since 1921, every enterprise is registered in the trade register, as kept by the Chamber of Commerce of the region where the enterprise is established. The sole exceptions to this rule are public enterprises, agricultural enterprises other than public limited liability companies and private limited liability companies, and street trading. A file is created for each enterprise that is entered in the trade register. This file contains a number of data concerning the enterprise. If any changes are introduced to the structure, the corporate structure, the objectives etc. of the enterprise, these changes are processed into the file. Whenever an enterprise is closed down, the file is also closed. The same will take place whenever an enterprise is relocated to a region other than the region of the Chamber of Commerce concerned; sometimes also when a company takes a new legal form or when other basic changes are introduced. In principle, closed archives are transferred to a state-owned public file depository in the capital of the province concerned, after a period of twenty years. For the province of South Holland, the Nationaal Archief fulfils this function.

Files include the following data:

  • A succinct description of the enterprise
  • Business name
  • Corporate structure (possibly including a copy of the Articles of Association)
  • The address in full
  • Details concerning the owners, directors, partners, supervisory directors and proxy holders
  • If applicable, mention of the court order for liquidation.

The file does not contain any documents such as letters, photographs orlists of employees. If required, this type of data can be obtained from the secretarial archives of the Chamber concerned in the Nationaal Archief. The secretarial archives of the Chamber of Commerce of the region of The Hague ("Haaglanden") even contains a separate series for these additional data, the series called: "Correspondence Files". Access to files from the secretarial archives of a certain Chamber of Commerce can be requested in the reading room of the Nationaal Archief. To request access to "Correspondence Files" of Haaglanden, you can use the same code details as for the business files.

Since the "correspondence files" usually contain information pertaining to people who are still alive, public access to them is restricted. This means that an exemption to the access restrictions must first be applied for, and granted by the Director of the Nationaal Archief, before these files may be consulted.


Obviously it is even better if the archives of the company itself still exist. The International Institute for Social History (Dutch acronym: IISG) keeps the records of historical company archives, known as BARN (Dutch acronym for Business Archives Registration Netherlands), e-mail

Biographical history of the archive creator: 

History of the Chambers of Commerce

Until 1851

Government institutions for the purpose of promoting trade hardly existed in the Netherlands before 1795. As a result of the French invasion in our country in the same year, Commerce and Seafaring Committees were established in the Dutch territories after French example, for instance in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. However, it was not until the annexation to France in 1810 that the government applied a structural approach and made legal arrangements for information and consultancy services with respect to trade and industry. This resulted in the establishment of Chambers of Commerce in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Dordrecht, Middelburg, and Flushing (Vlissingen), whose tasks, apart from providing information and advice, also consisted of some executive duties in the area of trade.

When Dutch independence was restored in 1813, the bodies as mentioned above remained operational. In 1815 the French regulation on which they were based was replaced by a Dutch regulation, retaining only the consultative task in the area of trade and industry, exclusively for the benefit and on the request of the (central) government. The central government control over the Chambers was strong. Thus, for example, the members and secretaries of the Chambers were appointed by the Crown. Financially, the Chambers of Commerce remained dependent on the government - mainly the municipal government - until 1922.


In 1851 a whole new set of Rules and Regulations for the Chambers of Commerce and Industry was created. Members were now selected by their peers, from a peer group of traders and factory owners. The Chambers were granted the right to make announcements on their own initiative if they thought it in the interest of the business community. This was the start of their general educational task, which became increasingly important after 1920. The activities of the Chambers of Commerce thus developed, taking on an increasingly public nature.


During the First World War, the view took hold that the structure of the Chambers of Commerce had reached a point where reorganization seemed necessary. By that time, the number of Chambers had grown to 97, serving a total number of 116 cities, which made it difficult for the government to consult all of the individual Chambers and take the necessary action in response to their recommendations. Moreover, the recommendations and advice usually concerned only local interests. Over one thousand municipalities were left without the benefits of a local Chamber of Commerce. In 1917, a committee was appointed to take care of the reorganization. At the same time, a bill was introduced for the creation of a trade register, the need for which had made itself felt acutely during the war. As it was the intention to have the management of the trade register assigned to the Chambers of Commerce, drastic reorganization of the latter was required.


The new Chambers of Commerce Act of 1920 took effect concurrently with the Trade Registers Act of 1918 in 1921. In reality, however, it was not until 1922 that the old-style Chambers were replaced by the new Chambers, based on the new laws.

The number of Chambers was reduced to 36, their collective districts covering the entire nation. In addition to consultative tasks, the Chambers now also had executive duties in keeping the Trade Registers up to date, and providing information available from the Trade Registers to the entire Dutch business sector, including large and medium-sized as well as small businesses. Furthermore, they now earned their own income, making entries in the Trade Register. Nevertheless, they were required to render account of the administration to the central government, and likewise the budgets required the approval of the central government. The competent Minister always had the power to suspend or cancel any decision made by the Chambers. The collaboration between the individual Chambers was promoted in part by the Netherlands Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, established in 1924.


During the Second World War, the occupying forces set up a different organization for the business sector. Companies were categorized as belonging to a Main Group or a Professional Group, with a co-ordinating Business Sector Council. This business sector structure, based on the leadership principle, was intended to serve the interests of trade and industry to a large extent. The Chambers played a regional role in this structure. The occupying forces reduced the total number of Chambers to one Chamber for each province. The remaining Chambers were maintained as subsidiaries to the provincial Chambers. The Presidents of the Chambers played a major role - again in conformity with the leadership principle. Until 1950 the Chambers officially observed the war regulations, although in practice the leadership principle was not adhered to for long.

Since 1950

The Business Structure Act 1950 and the Chambers of Commerce and Industry Act 1963 gave the initial impetus to the organization of the modern Chambers of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce became the main promotor of the interests of the business community, in a network of other bodies who all shared the goal of promoting the economy. In 1976, the task of the Chambers of Commerce was expanded to include the duty of keeping the Register of Associations and Foundations, a task that had until then been the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice. Since 1980, approximately, the data of the Trade Registers and the Registers of Associations and Foundations were computerized. 1997 saw the enactment of a new Trade Registers Act, stipulating that the Trade Registers would be combined into one single Trade Register for all of the Netherlands.

Chambers of Commerce 53

History of the archive maintenance: 

his database was an initiative of the Nationaal Archief, supported financially by the "Haaglanden" Chamber of Commerce.

Business archives

Information on the whereabouts of preserved archives of companies that were closed down, or that have moved (part of) their old archives elsewhere for safekeeping, can be found in the Business archives Registration Netherlands (BARN), accessible at:

Internationaal Institute for Social History

Cruquiusweg 31
1019 AT Amsterdam

tel. 020 668 58 66
fax 020 665 41 81
e-mail: (for general information)

The Central Registration of Private Archives, set up by the Nationaal Archief, also contains data on (the whereabouts of) a number of business archives. This registration can be consulted free of charge in the reading room. Another option is to have the Nationaal Archief carry out your investigation for you, at a fee of € 24.50 per thirty minutes.

Summary of archives of South Holland Chambers of Commerce that are kept in the Nationaal Archief 

CoC Name of Archive Access Number in Database?
Delft Secretariat 1922-1979 3.17.20
Trade Register 1921-1995 3.17.19 included in database
Secretariat 1922-1969 
'archivearchief' 1922-1968  
Trade Register 1921-1960 included in database
Trade Register 1960-1969 no access number included in database
Secretariat 1922-1979
  Trade Register 1921-1979 included in database
The Hague 
Secretariat 1922-1979   
Trade Register 1922-1969 included in database
Trade Register 1970-1979 (2d block) included in database
Trade Register Zoetermeer 1921-1976 3.17.16 included in database
Secretariat 1922-1969 
Trade Register 1921-1970
note: Since 1976 also CoC in Vlaardingen
included in database
Trade Register 1971-1979
note: Since 1976 also CoC in Vlaardingen included in database
Concluded Trade Register 20th century 
Secretariat 1816-1922 3.17.22   
Secretariat 1922-1975
note: Trade Register, refer to Rotterdam
Trade Register 1921-1980
included in database


An exposé on the Chambers of Commerce can be found in:

  • B.W. Buenk, C.F.A. Eenhorst en C.W. Mark De Kamers van Koophandel in de Praktijk, 1969 Deventer
  • J.L.J.M. van Gerwen, J.J. Segers en S.W. Verstegen Mercurius' Erfenis. Een geschiedenis en bronnenoverzicht van de Kamers van Koophandel en Fabrieken in Nederland. Uitgave NEHA, Amsterdam 1990.
  • J.F.L.M. Simons, Continuïteit in verandering: de Kamers van Koophandel als intermediar tussen overheid en bedrijfsleven.
    Amsterdam: Stichting Beheer IISG, [2001?]

The second publication provides a summary of existing Chambers of Commerce and the archives where their archives are stored.

Furthermore, we would hereby like to refer to the introductions to the inventories of the secretarial archives of the Chambers of Commerce, that are present in the Nationaal Archief.

All of these publications are available in the #todo reading room of the Nationaal Archief.

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