Visiting the reading room
You can generally view all items free of charge in the Nationaal Archief reading room. See our contact details for our address and a route description and for the opening days and opening hours of the reading room.
To view the records in the Nationaal Archief collection, you will need a profile. You can create a profile at home by clicking on ‘Log in’ in the top right-hand corner of the page. Then select ‘Create an account’. In the next screen, choose a login name and password and enter your e-mail address. Then you will be asked to accept the terms and conditions. Please read them through carefully. You will then receive an e-mail containing further instructions.
You can also create you profile at the Nationaal Archief.
You will find more information on visiting the reading room and how to request and reserve records below.
- First visit
- Registration on arrival
- Information desks
- Requesting records
- Taking photographs
- Reserving records
- Restrictions on consulting records
- Ordering reproductions
You will find the reception desk in the foyer of the Nationaal Archief. The first time you visit, the receptionist will register you as a visitor of the Nationaal Archief on presentation of a valid passport. You cannot be registered as a visitor without your passport and you will also be asked for details of your profile. You will then receive a handy wallet-sized card on which to enter your profile details.
Finally, every time you visit you will be given a day pass showing your ‘day number’. When you request records using the request terminals, you will need to enter this day number in the ‘table number’ box. The tables in the reading room are not numbered. You can sit where you like (except when consulting restricted public archives). You must hand in your day pass again at the end of your visit. The curators may ask you for it.
If you are visiting the reading room for the first time, you can prepare for your visit by reading the information brochure ‘Welcome to the reading room’ (in Dutch only).
The central information desk is located opposite the entrance to the reading room. The information desk is permanently staffed by archivists who will be happy to help you with your research and answer any questions you may have.
There is a second information desk near the microfiche room (also known as the duplicate records viewing area). Our staff are on hand to answer all your questions on research in the South Holland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Burgerlijke Standregisters) and the Baptism, Marriage and Burial Registers (Doop-, Trouw- en Begraafboeken), and questions on how to view films and microfiche.
You will find archive inventories and publications to help you with your archive research in the area to the left of the central desks in the reading room. You can use the computers opposite the information desk to request records, view the library catalogue and visit the Nationaal Archief website. You will find instructions on how to use these applications next to the computers.
Once you have done your research and you know which records you want to request, you can request them on this website. Make sure you have logged in with your profile, and always make sure the previous user has logged off. Look in the catalogue of archive inventories to find the correct catalogue reference and inventory number. Then click the ‘Reserve’ button. On the next screen, enter the number stated on your day pass. Make sure the date is set to today’s date.
You can request any number of inventory numbers. But please don’t order more than you think you will be able to use in one day.
Some records are available on film or microfiche. When you request these, you will be notified if there is a duplicate available. You can find the film or microfiche in the reading room yourself and view them and make any reproductions you may need.
The records you request via the terminals will be ready for you within about 30 minutes. Your ‘table number’ will then appear on the displays in the reading room and in the foyer. Report to the issuing desk, where you will be given the records concerned, a maximum of three at a time. Once you have viewed the records, return them to the same desk and then collect any other records you have requested.
You can photograph records in the reading room yourself, subject to certain conditions. You will find these conditions in the brochure entitled ‘Taking photos in the reading room’ (in Dutch only).
It is possible to reserve records for a particular date. The procedure is the same as for requesting records in the reading room. Log in with your profile and look for the correct catalogue reference and inventory number. Then click the ‘Reserve’ button. On the next screen, enter the date of your next visit. The records will be ready for you on the day of your visit.
You can also reserve a record for the same day. If you are already in the reading room, enter the number on your day pass. The table number on your day pass is valid for one day. If you have forgotten to hand in your pass at the end of the day, you will not be able to use that number again another day.
To reserve records, you need to have a profile. You cannot make reservations by phone.
You can renew the records you are using in the reading room for up to two days.
Sometimes the record you want cannot be given to you. It may be that the archive or record is not available because it is being re-catalogued or digitised. Or another reading room user might be using the inventory numbers you requested, or the record may have been loaned out for an exhibition. It is also possible that the record is subject to consultation restrictions.
There are three reasons why originals and some other records may be restricted:
- There is a duplicate of the original record available in the form of microfilm, microfiche, photocopy, photograph, transparency, digital file or transcription.
- The physical condition of the record is so poor that every use could result in information loss; this is also indicated by the term ‘red dot’.
- Restrictions were imposed when the archive was taken over. In most cases this restriction will be to protect the privacy of people who are still alive.
You can order reproductions of records you are using in the reading room at the repro desk. We can often make photocopies or scans straight away.
If you have the catalogue reference and the inventory number of the record, you can also order a reproduction online. We may charge research costs for this, but you will be notified in advance if this is the case.