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Online records: The phone books of 1915 and 1950

The online resources we will look at today are fairly recent (from the first half of the 20th century), and thus of interest mainly to descendants of the many post-war emigrants.

The website

The online 1915 phone book was an initiative of Herman de Wit and Hans den Braber. With the help of 52 volunteers, they indexed the entire Dutch phone book of 1915 in less than a year. Recently, scans of the phone book of 1950 (a project of Jan van Griethuysen) were added to the site.

What do they have?

The complete phone books of 1915 and of 1950.

In 1915 there were 75,000 phone connections (on a population of 6 million people). The phone book published that year is the first phone book with all Dutch numbers in a single tome. This phone book is indexed and fully searchable.

I don't know how many numbers are listed in the two tome 1950 phone book - probably considerably more than the 327,000 connections there were in 1940. The 1950 phone book is scanned and can be browsed (but not searched). The scans are in PDF format, so you need to have Adobe Acrobat (or another PDF reader) installed.

The phone books generally list names, addresses and phone numbers, and occasionally occupations.

Is there an English interface?


How do I use it?

There are two ways to use the 1915 phone book: Searching or browsing.

To search the phone book, press zoeken on the top right, fill in the name, and press Zoek in de online naamlijst. Warning: If you want to search for multiple words, like names with a prefix or a surname and a place name, type AND between the words or you may get lots of unexpected results. Click on one of the results to see the listing.

Alternatively, you can browse the phone book. The phone book is ordered alphabetically by place name, and within each place by surname. Click on the first letter of the place name you are interested in (under beginletter plaatsnamen), click on the correct group (under INDEX PLAATSEN), and click on the place name (still under INDEX PLAATSEN). For towns and villages you will see the entire place listed on a single page, while for the big cities you will need to select the right surname group.

An example: We will look for the surname Moerman in Rotterdam. We can use the search box (fill in moerman AND rotterdam) and select the right page from the search results (there are three search results, the first one is the one we are looking for). Or we can click the letter R (for Rotterdam) under beginletter plaatsnamen, click Rott-Ruu and then Rotterdam under INDEX PLAATSEN, and finally M-Mon (for Moerman) under Rotterdam achternamen. We have to scroll down to find the three entries for Moerman.

It is not possible to search the 1950 phone book, we can only browse it. Click the first letter of the place you are interested in (under beginletters plaatsnamen), find the place name in the list, and click the appropriate link.

There are a few Dutch words here that you should understand:

  • zie -see (this means the phone connections of a place are listed under another place, e.g. Rademakerszijl zie Zwolle means the phone connections of Rademakerszijl are listed under Zwolle)
  • .. t/m .. - from .. until .. (inclusive)
  • begin t/m - from the beginning until (inclusive)
  • t/m eind - until the end
  • aanvulling - supplement (if you can't find the name you are looking for try the supplement)
  • zie ook - see also (usually means that some of the connections of a place are listed under another place)
  • vervolg - continuation

Let's search for Moerman in Rotterdam again. Click R (for Rotterdam) under beginletters plaatsnamen. Scroll down to Rotterdam. Moerman will be listed under Moerkerken t/m Moors, so click this link. This will open a scan of the relevant page in the phone book. Note that while in 1915 there were only three entries for Moerman, in 1950 there were already 32!

How much does it cost?

It's free.

Future plans

These projects are completed.


This is, of course, not a major source for genealogy research, but it does have some interesting information. It is interesting to know if your ancestor had a phone - not many people had a phone in 1915, and also in 1950 the majority of people did not have a phone yet. The phone books also list addresses and sometimes occupations, information that is often hard to find online.


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