During the Second World War plans were already made to establish a war documentation centre after the liberation. A group of Dutch professors, led by historian Professor Dr. N.W. Posthumus, expanded this idea. Their main focus was to collect and order original documents about the Netherlands during the German occupation.

Abroad, the Dutch government in exile in London fully agreed with the professors. In March 1944, for example, Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Bolkestein appeared on Radio Oranje to request the Dutch population to safely keep their diaries and letters. Once the Netherlands was set free, they would be collected.

The Netherlands was liberated on 5 May 1945. It did not take long to open a documentation centre; only three days later the National Bureau for War Documentation was founded. On 1 October 1945 the historian Dr. Loe de Jong, who had worked for Radio Oranje in London during the war, was appointed director. The National Bureau changed names and became the State Institute for War Documentation, in Dutch Rijksinstituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie (RIOD).

In the new institute. Second person from left is dr. Loe de Jong, right Professor Posthumus