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Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie

The website

The Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie (Central Bureau for Genealogy, CBG) is a documentation and information centre for Dutch family history and heraldry. They are funded partly by the government, partly by contributors. The CBG administer the persoonskaarten of deceased people and several private genealogical collections. They also collect just about everything related to genealogy themselves.

Part of their collection is indexed on their website, and for some collections scans are available online.

What do they have?

An index to parts of their collection, and scans of their collection Familieadvertenties (newspaper ads announcing births, deaths, marriages or other family events) until 1970, some bidprentjes (mortuary cards that are commonly handed out on funerals in the Catholic church), and the Algemeen Politieblad 1852-1883 (General Police periodical, a periodical for Dutch policemen containing among others information on promotions and transfers of police personnel, wanted criminals, victims of crime, and deported aliens).

We will have a closer look at some of these sources in future posts.

Is there an English interface?

Partly. Click English in the top right. Much, but not all, of the website is translated. The search interface is almost entirely in Dutch.

How do I use it?

Enter a surname or place name in the search box on the top right of the home page and press the zoeken button. For surnames with an infix, type a comma behind the name and then the infix: kampen, van.

On the result page we see a large number of buttons: One button for each indexed collection. The gray buttons are for collections without results, green buttons for collections that do have results. A small icon on the button means there are scans available. In the example (click image to enlarge) I searched for Kampen, van, and I found three gray and 15 green buttons, three of them with scans.

Search results: Buttons

Click on a button for details about the collection. In most cases, all you get is a call number, and you have to travel to the study room of the CBG in The Hague to find out more, but there are a few cases where you can find out more online.

Especially interesting is the Fotocollectie (photo collection). Click the button to see a list of people whose photo portrait is in the CBG collection, and then click the small details button to see the photo. Many of the photos are cuttings from newspapers or magazines.

The Biografische index (biographical index) is an index to several biographical reference works. All the reference works are available in the study room in The Hague, but some of the books can be consulted on Google Books or are available in shops like Amazon.

When you click the bidprentjes or algemeen politieblad button, you will get a list of names, with an afbeelding button that will take you to the scan. For Familieadvertenties there is only one afbeelding button, and you will have to browse through all scans on your surname - Familieadvertenties are only indexed on surname.

I clicked on Bidprentjes and found the results displayed below (click image to enlarge).

Search results: Bidprentjes

There are 100 bidprentjes on the name van Kampen, and they are available in the study room in The Hague on microfiches 2798 and 2799. Two of them are scanned and online. I want to see the bidprentje of Dirk van Kampen, so I click on the Afbeelding button behind his name. I had to log in (if you don't have an account yet you will have to register first), and had a look at the preview image.

Preview image

To see the entire image, you have to click the checkbox with the text Om het beeld volledig te kunnen bekijken ga ik akkoord met het afschrijven van eenheden (To view the image I agree with taking units out of my account), and then on the link Volledige beeld bekijken (View full image). After clicking this link, my account is charged and the image displayed.

How much does it cost?

Searching the index is free. Viewing and downloading the portraits is also free. There are charges for viewing and downloading scans. You need to buy a number of units, and you will be charged units when you view scans - from 4 units per page for familieadvertenties to 20 units per scan for bidprentjes. Price per unit depends on how many units you buy and whether you pay contribution. Contributors pay €4.50 per 100 units, €8.10 per 200 units, or €18.00 per 500 units. Contributors also get 500 units per year free. Contribution is currently €52.50 per year (outside The Netherlands). Non-contributors pay €5.00 per 100 units, €9.00 per 200 units, or €20.00 per 500 units. Unused units are valid for one year. Paid scans can also be consulted for one year.

Paid scans are for private use only. For publication you need to obtain permission from the CBG.

Future plans

The CBG plans to make more scanned collections available online.


The study room of the CBG has always been a goldmine for people in search of their Dutch ancestors. A lot of their information is not available elsewhere. It is great to see some of that information available online. I hope the CBG will soon start making their other collections available on their website.

The English search interface and the search instructions should be improved, to make the collections accessible to people outside The Netherlands. Registration is also not possible in English.

The fee structure is confusing, and this will get worse if other collections are added, each with their own pricing. The CBG should really revise their pricing strategy.


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