Search tips

Quick search

A quick search box can be found in the top left corner of every page. You can enter multiple terms in one search. This will yield results that contain all the terms entered.

Advanced search

Selecting 'Search' from the menu will display the search form.

You can search three sets of data:

  1. The archive documents collection
    The search engine searches the descriptions of the documents, as recorded in the finding aid. The contents of documents that have been typed clearly can also be searched. Please keep in mind that the character recognition is not always optimal, especially with originals with low legibility.
    You can limit your search to a single archive by using the checkboxes at the bottom of the search form.
  2. The name index
    The name index contains an overview of people for whom the Nationaal Archief has a file.
  3. The rest of the website
    You can also search the other texts of the website.

In the 'Search for' textbox you can enter the terms you want to search for. For example, you can type in the name of a person or geographic location, or a topic you want to search for. The search will only yield results that contain all the terms you enter.

Beware that the originals are written in several languages, including Dutch, English, Japanese and Swedish. Searching for words in these languages may yield results in the texts of the legible documents.

You may also choose to limit your search to a specific period. This only works for archival documents.

No results?

There are several scenarios in which your query may not yield any results:

  • You search for a name of a person in the archival documents. To protect the privacy of living people, we have mainly selected documents without personal data.
  • You searched for a modern place name. In the text of the documents the place names will occur as they were in the 1940s, for example Batavia instead of Jakarta. You may want to use the original name or use the map.
  • You searched for a term that does not occur as such in the documents or their descriptions. The descriptions of the archival documents are short summaries and the documents themselves are written in different languages which means your search term may not occur in them. Please refer to the list of topics or in the timeline find relevant references.

You can also check the finding aid for a complete overview of the documents.