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Netherlands: Address and Telephone Directories

Telephone and address directories are used by genealogists and historians to identify people and businesses from a particular place and era. This guide lists directories from the Netherlands in the Library of Congress collection.


Image of Dutch telephone books on shelves
Dutch telephone books. Library of Congress General Collections.

Most residential and general organizational telephone directories are not cataloged by the Library of Congress, even though the Library maintains a large collection of foreign and domestic directories. We have therefore compiled this list of directories from the Netherlands as a finding aid for our staff and researchers.

The uncataloged directories listed in this guide reflect holdings as of 2010 of Dutch telephone directories. The list of holdings is arranged chronologically and then by the name of the town or region that it covers. The type of directory is indicated by the words "residential," "organizational" (listing businesses, institutions, and government offices), or "both." The "Notes" field is used to provide additional information about the directory.

In addition to the uncataloged directories listed in this guide, the Library also holds a handful that are cataloged and may be requested using the online catalog. To locate these directories, search the Library of Congress Online Catalog using subject keywords such as "Netherlands" or the name of a city and "directories." In addition to telephone directories, there are also business/address directories from the Netherlands. Genealogists also use church records and registers kept in church archives, many of which have been published, and can also be found in the Library's catalog.

Telephone Directories in the Netherlands: A Brief History

Telephones were first introduced to the Netherlands in 1877. Soon thereafter, Nederlandsche Bell Telephoon Maatschappij (NBTM) was formed in 1880, with the International Bell Telephone Company (IBTC) as the primary shareholder. In 1881, NBTM opened a local telephone office in Amsterdam, with 49 subscribers. In the same year, NBTM also published its first telephone directory in which subscribers were listed in alphabetical order, with professionals, companies, and institutions listed separately.

The original name of the telephone directory, Rijksgids, was changed to Naamlijst der interlocale telefonie in 1910. In 1915, the agencies Administratie der Posterijen en Telegrafieën and the Rijkstelefoondienst were merged to form a new state enterprise called Staatsbedrijf der Posterijen en Telegrafie (P en T). The same year saw the publication of the first telephone directory for all of the approximately 75,000 subscribers in the Netherlands.

Because the government had a monopoly on installing automatic telephone exchanges in businesses, a new law changed the name of the Staatsbedrijf der P en T to Staatsbedrijf der Posterijen, Telegrafie en Telefonie (the Netherlands Postal and Telecommunications Services (PTT)). In 1955, the Dutch parliament confirmed PTT's status as a state-controlled company.

In 1960, PTT began working with four publishers to create directories with professional listings. The first Gele Gids(yellow pages) directory was published in the Hague in 1968, with an ensuing name change into Gouden Gids(golden pages) in 1970. Fifty regional telephone directories were published in 1984 to provide information about the more than 5 million subscribers in the Netherlands. In 1989 the name of the PTT was changed to the Koninklijke PTT Nederland NV (KPN). KPN's two most important operating companies were PTT Post (mail) and PTT Telecom. CD-foongids, telephone directories on CD-ROMs, were introduced in 1992.

In 1994, KPN was listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. At the same time, with the cooperation of TeleMedia, business listings in the form of the Roze Pagina (pink pages) were added to the personal telephone listings. In 1996, the De Telefoongids Web site was launched.

In 1998, PTT Post and PTT Telecom were split into two separate companies. PTT Post merged with the Australian company TNT and became TNT Post Group. PTT Telecom was titled KPN NV (KPN). In 1999 TeleMedia was bought from Telia by KPN who in 2003 sold TeleMedia under its new name Telefoongids Media BV. In 2004 Telefoonsgids Media BV became De Telefoongids BV.

Here are some examples of books that can be of interest to those who are looking for information about telephone books from the Netherlands. More books are available in the collections of the Library of Congress Library of Congress Online Catalog.