What can the Nationaal Archief tell me about the operations of Dutch armed forces?

After the liberation of Limburg my father volunteered for military service. He served for a few years as a soldier in the East Indies and in 1949 he even volunteered for the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL). Can I find any information about my father and his time in the East Indies in the Nationaal Archief?

The best way to begin your research is to request a copy of his military registration form from the Bureau Registratie en Informatie Ontslagen Personeel (Discharged Personnel Registration and Information Bureau - BRIOP), Postbus 7000, 6460 NC Kerkrade (telephone: 045-5469994). This document contains information about a soldier's promotions, transfers, movements and awards during his time in service. If he has since passed away, you must submit a proof of death (such as a death announcement card) and a written explanation to request a copy of his registration form from the BRIOP.

Available in the reading room

If you only know a soldier's name, it is best to begin with the alphabetical service records (access number or the alphabetical card system (access number The service and pension records contain personal information on soldiers that served in the Netherlands East Indies, Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles between 1815 and 1949. These records can be accessed via series of folders containing alphabetical lists of names with references to the individuals' service numbers or the pages in the registers. There is no general access number of all soldiers' names. Some of these name binders are available on microfilm in the Verfilmde Bestanden (Photographic Documents) reading room. If you know which unit a soldier served in, you can also look for more information about that unit on the Internet or by consulting anniversary books or commemorative publications in the library.

Reports from military units are included in access number 2.13.132 ‘Strijdkrachten in Nederlands-Indië' (Military Forces in the Netherlands East Indies). This includes the archives of the Headquarters of the General Staff in the Dutch East Indies (HKGS-NI) (1945-1950), the Central Military Intelligence Service (1941-1949), the Commander of the ‘7 December' Division, the Adjutant-General in the Dutch East Indies/Indonesia (1945-1952), the staffs of the T to Z Brigade, the logistical companies, the Quartermaster General and the Drawdown Command in Indonesia (1950-1951). The archive also contains a collection of unit reports from the Dutch Army and the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL), including reports by the Korps Speciale Troepen (Dutch Special Forces) and the Koninklijke Marechaussee (military police). You will also find information leaflets on the subject in the reading room.