gahetNA in the National Archives

How do I search for something?

Standard search

You can search the entire website from any page using the search box in the top right-hand corner of the page. Type in one or more words and click on the magnifying glass or press the Enter key. You will see a list of all the results containing your words.

Advanced search

At various places in the website you can do an advanced search. In the top right-hand corner of every page, click on the arrow to select the ‘Advanced search’ options if you want to restrict your search to specific data collections. Place a tick against the data collections you want to include. The Advanced Search function is also available deeper in the site in the collections: here you can search in specific fields.

In an advanced search you also have the following options:

  • Fuzzy search: tick ‘Fuzzy' to include spelling variations. Example: Searching for ‘zealand’ will also bring up results with 'zeeland'.
  • Search comments: this searches the comments left by visitors to the site.
  • User contributions: this searches transcriptions of records entered by visitors.

The default search includes comments and user contributions and has the fuzzy search disabled.

Extra search options

Also see the notes on extra search options like wildcards, AND/OR/NOT and the use of quotation marks.

Not found anything?

If your search was unsuccessful, you could try the following:

  • Bear in mind that in most records you will only be searching in the description, which is often short. There are likely to be far more people and places named in the record itself than in the description, but those names will not be found. Try thinking about what kind of archive or what kind of terms would apply to your subject and search for them (e.g. defence, Dutch East India Company, evacuation). If you are searching for an English word, find the Dutch equivalent in a dictionary or on a translation website and try that.
  • Try entering fewer terms. The default search will only show results in which all the terms you searched for appear, so the more you enter, the fewer you will find.
  • On various parts of the site there is an option to filter your results. Make sure there are no filters active. You can remove a filter by clicking on the x next to the filter.
  • Also try searching for spelling variations or related words, such as ‘Ruyter’ instead of ‘Ruijter’, or ‘schooling’ instead of ‘education’.

Search results list

On the search results page, there are three buttons in the top right-hand corner of each data collection column:

  • Maximise: this expands the search results from this particular collection so that you can see more information.
  • Help: information on this data collection.
  • Close: close this data collection in the search results window to make more space for the other data collections.

Searching in one specific data collection

At the bottom of each data collection column on the search results page there is an ‘Advanced search’ button. Click on this to enter a new search query limited to this particular data collection. It will take you to the 'Advanced search' tab for the collection.

Other search tips

Read the general information on this website, the FAQs, the A-Z index (in Dutch) or the research guides.

If you are still having difficulty, you can ask a question using the ‘Contact form’ button at the bottom of the page. is a website of the National Archives of The Netherlands in cooperation with the Society for the National Archives and Spaarnestad Photo.
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