Does NIOD have material on military operations and individual soldiers?
NIOD does not have any archival material regarding military operations. However, documents about German military units and objects in the occupied Netherlands can be found in a number of archives, in particular in the archives of the Wehrmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden (collection nr. 001), in the Collectie Duitse instellingen buiten Nederland (‘German institutions outside the Netherlands Collection’) (CDI, collection no. 215), and in the archives of the Dutch espionage groups Albrecht Group (collection no. 190a) and the Secret Service of the Netherlands (collection no. 191).
If you are looking for information in the field of military history, you can contact the Netherlands Institute for Military History:
Visiting address: Frederikkazerne, Van Alkemadelaan 786, 2597 BC The Hague
Postal address: Postbus 90701, 2509 LS The Hague
Main telephone number: +31 (070) 316 58 36
Reading room telephone number: +31 (070) 316 28 47
They can help you with questions about the history of the Dutch army, air force, navy, merchant marine, and military police.
A good study of the German invasion of the Netherlands is provided in the book Mei 1940: de strijd op Nederlands grondgebied (‘May 1940: The Battle on Dutch Soil’), edited by Herman Amersfoort and Piet Kamphuis (2nd revised edition, The Hague 2005). The battle reports from May 1940 can be viewed here in digital format.
A comprehensive overview of the May 1940 military actions on Dutch soil is offered in the 13-volume series De strijd op Nederlands grondgebied tijdens de Wereldoorlog II; Hoofddeel 3: Nederlands verdediging tegen de Duitse aanval van 10-19 mei 1940 (‘The Battle on Dutch Soil during the Second World War; Volume 3: The Dutch defence against the German attacks of 10-19 May 1940’) by the Military History Department of the Head Quarters of the Head of the General Staff of the Ministery of War (The Hague 1952-1963). This series is also known as the ‘Green Series’, after the colour of the binding, and is now available for digital consultation on the NIMH website. In 1970, a study was published that was specifically dedicated to the air force: F.J. Molenaar, De luchtverdediging in de meidagen 1940 (‘Air Defence in May 1940’), 2 volumes (The Hague 1970).
The course of the Allied liberation of the Netherlands is clearly set out in De bevrijding van Nederland 1944-1945: oorlog op de flank (‘The Liberation of the Netherlands 1944-1945: War on the flank’), edited by Christ Klep and Ben Schoenmaker (The Hague 1995).
The liberation of the Netherlands is described from the Canadian perspective in the book The Victory Campaign: The operations in North-West Europe, 1944-1945 by C.P. Stacey (volume 3 of the Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War) (Ottawa 1960).
The book Vliegvelden in oorlogstijd: Nederlandse vliegvelden tijdens bezetten en bevrijding 1940-1945 (‘Airfields in Wartime: Dutch airfields during the occupation and the liberation 1940-1945’), edited by Peter Grimm, Erwin van Loo, and Rolf de Winter (Amsterdam 2009) contains a great deal of information about the history of Dutch airfields during the Second World War.
NIOD’s information on individual soldiers is very limited. The names of Dutch soldiers who died during the Second World War can be found in the Honour Roll of the Fallen. The Honour Roll contains the names of some 18,000 Dutch who died in the armed struggle against the German or Japanese occupiers, in the resistance, or as crew members of the merchant navy.
However, other institutions may be better equipped for finding personal information about individual soldiers.
The records of individual servicemen who have served in the Dutch armed forces are kept in the personnel archives of the Ministry of Defence.
For information on former soldiers of the Royal Dutch East Indies Army (KNIL), please contact
6400 BG Heerlen
tel: +31(0)45 579 30 58
Prins Willem Alexanderhof 20
2595 BE The Hague
2509 LM The Hague
Main telephone number: +31(0)70 3315400
Telephone number for information: +31(0)70 3315444
The SAIP and the National Archives keep the service records of (former) KNIL soldiers (both professionals and conscripts). For the KNIL regimental rolls, visit the website of the National Archives.
The names of Dutch nationals who have received military honours can be found on the website www.onderscheidingen.nl/decorandi/index.
Enquiries about people who served in the US, British or Canadian forces respectively during the Second World War can be addressed to the following institutions:
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
For military service records, go to: http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/
Databases with the names of fallen American soldiers can be consulted on the websites of the American Battle Monuments Commission and of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The ABMC databases contain the names of those who are buried in overseas war cemeteries. The Department of Veteran Affairs has the names of those who were repatriated to the United States and buried in official cemeteries there.
For British service records, go to: http://www.veterans-uk.info/service_records/service_records.html/
A database with the names of fallen Commonwealth soldiers (British, Canadians, Indians, Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans) can be consulted through the website of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Military Records Section
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa, K1T ON3
For information on individual German soldiers, you can contact the two departments of the German National Archives below:
The Personenbezogene Auskünfte zum Ersten und Zweiten Weltkrieg in Berlin-Reinickendorf Department (the former Deutsche Dienststelle WASt):
Tel: +49 304 190 444 0
and the National Archives, Military Archives Section:
tel: +49 761 478 170
These two departments hold the personal files of former military personnel who served in the German armed forces (including foreigners in German military service). Since much of the material has been lost, however, the files of many former German soldiers are missing. For further information, go to the website of the Bundesarchiv.
Information about German soldiers who died or went missing may be obtained from the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge e.V., the German War Graves Foundation.
You can do a ‘Gräbersuche’ (grave search) in a database of soldiers killed in action on the website of the Volksbund.