Dutch Migration Datasets

When it comes to registration and availability of Dutch migration figures, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) is the most important source of information. Aggregated figures are easily available through CBS StatLine. One thing I noticed during my research on Dutch migration, is that recent Dutch migration data is not located in just one single data set. With this blog post I hope to give you a short overview of available Dutch migration data, and give you a head start in doing Dutch migration research of your own.

External migration data

Aggregated external Dutch migration data for every year since 1988 can be found in this data set. The Dutch National Archives have a Dutch research guide on earlier migrant flows, dutchgenealogy.nl has an English explanation on 19th century sources for external migration.

Internal migration data

Aggregated Dutch intermunicipal migration data is available online for every year from 1996 up until 2017. All data sets listed below are only available in Dutch, and contain information on the number of people who traveled between every combination of two municipalities in the Netherlands. Less fine-grained data is available for every year since 1988 in this data set . Considering this 2016 publication on the quality of the addresses which shows that an estimated 96.4% of all Dutch citizens were registered at the house they actually lived in, we can expect these numbers to be quite correct.

Year(s)Data set

It should be possible to gather similar information for the 19th century, through analysis of the “registers voor ingekomen personen” and “registers voor uitgaande personen”. Aggregated results can be found in the yearly “gemeenteverslagen”, municipal reports. It would however take time to gather all the results, as this information is still mostly kept in the offline archives.

More detailed individual migration data can be acquired through direct access on the systems of Statistics Netherlands, which will require you to submit a solid research plan and payments to be made.

Changing municipalities

The number of Dutch municipalities decreases every year, because municipalities are merged with other municipalities. There are two convenient sources for tracking the development of municipalities over time. One is gemeentegeschiedenis.nl, a website which shows the development of Dutch municipalities since 1812. Modern borders can be downloaded through pdok.nl. The other one are the yearly logs of merged municipalities shown on the CBS website for the period between 1991 and the current date. Apart from municipalities, the Dutch population is also split into 40 COROPS (NUTS-3 areas), consisting of several municipalities. To better understand the characteristics of municipalities, other information in CBS tables can be used, such as their population size.

YearCOROP areas
2011Map & List
2012Map & List
2013Map & List
2014Map & List
2015Map & List
2016Map & List
2017Map & List
2018Map & List
2019Map & List

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