Donating archive material
Donating documents from the Second World War to NIOD
Special documents from the Second World War are still turning up. When moving house, when demolishing a house, or when clearing out an attic. Ranging from piles of letters to photographs, films, diaries, or other war-related documents. Please, do not throw these documents away, but contact NIOD. They may be a useful addition to our collection.
NIOD is the place to donate your war documents
NIOD manages over 2500 metres of archive material. These archives cover the Second World War, including its run-up and aftermath. Your donation will be professionally preserved under the right climatic conditions, made accessible, and used for research.
The archive depot is a safe place for your material
NIOD’s archive room and packaging materials meet the requirements of the Archives Act, the Archives Decree, and the Archives Regulations. The archive documents are packed in acid-free folders and in acid, metal and glue-free boxes. The archives are kept in an air-conditioned archive depot where the temperature is 18°C +/- 2°C with a relative humidity of 50% +/-5%.
Frequently asked questions about donating archive material to NIOD
Before you fill in the donation form, please read the following frequently asked questions about donations.
I would like to donate documents such as diaries, photographs, and letters. Is the NIOD interested in these?
Yes, the NIOD is pleased to receive archival documents from private and institutional donors. In principle, only original documents are eligible for acquisition, unless only copies or transcripts are available or acquisition of authentic documents is not possible. We assess each item to see if it fits into the collection. After the donation form has been completed, our acquisition specialist reviews your offer.
I have a collection of newspapers from the Second World War, is the NIOD interested in them?
Most newspapers from World War II are already in our collection. Therefore, in principle, we do not accept donations of newspapers, with the exception of unique copies from the illegal press.
I want to donate a war diary, is the NIOD interested in that?
We are very interested in war diaries. There are currently more than 3000 war diaries in our collection.
I want to donate war memoirs, is NIOD interested in them?
Yes, we are certainly interested in war memoirs. We are interested in both paper and digital versions (if available).
I would like to donate a collection of books about the Second World War, is NIOD interested in this?
We are happy to accept books. Every batch of books we receive may contain editions that are not in our library. Anything that is double is used to replace books from our collection or is put on our “free of charge, help yourself” bookcase. We will not collect books.
I want to donate a scrapbook, is the NIOD interested in that?
We do not include in our archive scrapbooks with only cut-out articles from newspapers or magazines. Despite the huge amount of work put in by the person who made it, these generally contain published material that is already in our archives (or elsewhere).
However, a scrapbook can also be regarded as a personal document in which the compiler has included documents or photographs with personal texts. If this describes their own war years, it can be deemed an illustrated diary and it is certainly interesting for the NIOD collection.
I would like to donate an object, would NIOD be interested?
As a rule, we only collect documents such as diaries, photographs, and letters. Our archive is not set up for objects, so you may wish to offer these to a resistance museum or war museum near you.
I know an eyewitness to the Second World War and would like his/her memories of this period to be recorded. Do you conduct interviews?
We do not conduct interviews but we do include interviews and memories in our collection. You can interview the eyewitness yourself or have someone else do it for you and then submit the interview to us (on paper or as an audio/video file).
Can I donate a copy so that I can keep the originals?
In principle, only original documents are eligible for acquisition, unless only copies or transcripts are available and/or donation of authentic documents is not possible.
Can you make copies or scans of the material I want to donate?
We cannot make scans or copies for you. We recommend that you make a scan or copy of the material to be donated prior to donation.
Can you translate or transcribe the material I want to donate?
NIOD does not offer translation or transcription services. We do have a project for the transcription of diaries. However, it is not possible to include your donation as a priority in this project. Read more about the Adopt a Diary project here.
Can I loan the items, rather than donate them?
NIOD does not take items on loan.
I would like to receive financial compensation for my donation.
NIOD does not provide any financial compensation for the donations. With your donation you contribute to future research.
Can I drop by with a potential donation without an appointment?
We would prefer it if you filled in the donation form first, so that the acquisition specialist can assess whether the donation would be of value to our collection. You can hand in documents for the attention of the Acquisition Department at NIOD’s reception desk without an appointment. You then sign an issue slip at the reception desk.
Can I also send the documents to NIOD by post?
You can send documents to NIOD at your own risk. This can be done free of charge via our freepost address. Please note that we will not reimburse postage.
t.a.v. afdeling Acquisitie
1040 VE Amsterdam
It is preferable that you post your letter or parcel, with your full name and address, at a PostNL location, so that you receive a Track&Trace code.
Will the material I want to donate be accessible to everyone?
At NIOD, private donations are considered ‘public’ or ‘limited public’. The extent to which your documents are public and the conditions for access and use are determined in part by the arrangements we make with you when transferring the archive material.
Free access and use may be restricted under the General Data Protection Regulation and/or the Copyright Act. If this is the case, all or part of the donation will be considered as 'limited public'. This means that conditions apply for access, online availability, and reproduction and that the documents can only be viewed in the reading room after an archive declaration has been signed.
As a donor, will we be informed if the material is consulted?
For reasons of privacy protection of the person accessing the material, we will not keep you informed regarding use of the material.
In the case of a donation of a diary, must the copyright also be transferred?
A transfer of copyright is not necessary, because the donation agreement establishes the granting of the powers that the NIOD reasonably needs within the scope of its mission to manage, preserve and present the material. These powers include, for example, making the material accessible to the public in both analogue and digital form, including via the internet and private networks, and making analogue and digital copies of the material to the extent necessary for (preventive) conservation purposes.
How does the transfer of archive material take place?
During the transfer, which takes about an hour, we will ask you a number of topical questions: Who, What, Where, Why and When. These questions help us to understand the context of the source(s). The appointment is concluded with the signing of a donation agreement.
How long will it take for my donation to be accessible?
After donation, documents go to our archive depot awaiting description of the material. Due to the large number of donations we receive, it is not possible to say exactly when your donation will be available for consultation.
Where can I ask a question about the processing of my donation?
Questions about the processing of your donation can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will do our utmost to provide you with a substantive response as soon as possible.