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Dutch Diaspora - Farewell Nederland

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Farewell Nederland

Aim of this project

This project functions as a research tool for users with relatives who originated from the Netherlands but also as a collection of profiles of the people who did leave to start a new life abroad.
Please feel free to add profiles of the Dutch families or descendants to the project, ideally with a small note in the about section of the profile with the name of the new country and an estimated emigration date or the birth year if the emigration year is unknown as this will make it easier in the list view of the profiles added to the project to find relatives back in the Netherlands.

As the Netherlands is commonly known as Holland all though this is not correct we will call it Holland as many emigrants refer to Holland as place of origin and do not use the proper name the Netherlands. ]

The Dutch diaspora is the movement, migration, or scattering of the Dutch away from the Netherlands, lets bring them home and add them to this project.If you would like some help finding your Dutch relatives click here

Early emigration

The first big wave of Dutch immigrants to leave the Low Countries came from present day Northern Belgium as they wanted to escape the heavily urbanised cities in Western Flanders. They arrived in Brandenburg in 1157. Due to this, the area is known as "Fläming" (Fleming) in reference to the Duchy that these immigrants came from. Because of a number of devastating floods in the provinces of Zeeland and Holland in the 12th century, large numbers of farmers migrated to The Wash in England, the delta of the Gironde in France, around Bremen, Hamburg and western North Rhine-Westphalia. Until the late 16th century, many Dutchmen and women (Invited by the German markgrave) moved to the delta of the Elbe, around Berlin, where they dried swamps, canalized rivers and build numerous dikes. Today, the Berlin dialect still bears some Dutch features.

Overseas emigration of the Dutch started around the 16th century, beginning a Dutch colonial empire. The first Dutch settlers arrived in the New World in 1614 and built a number of settlements around the mouth of the Hudson River, establishing the colony of New Netherland , with its capital at New Amsterdam (the future world metropolis of New York City). Dutch explorers also discovered Australia and New Zealand in 1606, though they did not settle the new lands; and Dutch immigration to these countries did not begin until after World War II. The Dutch were also one of the few Europeans to successfully settle Africa prior to the late 19th century. Dutch colonists established Cape Town in 1652 and their descendants, mixed with the French Huguenot emigrants, are known today as the Afrikaners. During the Boer Wars the sense of unity between the Dutch and (future) Afrikaners were very strong. For example, the Boer leader Paul Kruger was rescued by a Dutch warship, De Gelderland, sent by the Dutch Queen Wilhelmina, which had simply ignored the naval blockade of South Africa by the British (at the time a maritime superpower).

Dutch Diaspora

Tracing your Dutch Roots:

Emigration from the Netherlands

Dutch emigration websites

Assistance researching Dutch ancestors

This project also aims to offer assistance for research in the Netherlands, it contains many links and sources for research in the Netherlands. Towards the bottom of this project page you will find regional links and sources that can help you finding information on your Dutch ancestors. In case you have no idea where to start you can chose from the options below:

The BMD records of the civil register

The civil register was introduced in 1811, after the annexation by Napoleon's French empire (some regions in the south were annexed earlier, so the civil register was also introduced earlier there). By French law, births and deaths had to be reported to the registrar within a few days, and the registrar would create an act of birth or death. All marriages had to take place before the registrar. A church marriage was not legally valid anymore, and indeed forbidden unless the couple married before the registrar first. Early acts were written in French (in small towns and villages you may find acts in Dutch as well, probably because there was no French-speaking registrar to be found), later acts in Dutch. With practice, it is possible to understand these acts even if you don't speak Dutch see reading and understanding Dutch records and the Dutch genealogy dictionary

English versions of Dutch last names

When Dutch people arrived in the United States or other English-speaking countries, often their names got changed. This was either done on purpose, to make the name easier to write and remember, or by accident because the clerk didn't know how to spell the name and wrote it down phonetically. For this reason, a single family name can often be found in many different spellings in different documents. To read more versions of Dutch last names

Progenitor projects available on Geni

Where did the Dutch go?=

The Dutch in America

The first Dutch immigrants settled in the 17th century, between 1624 and 1664, in the New Netherland colony, in cities like Nieuw Amsterdam (now New York City), Beverwijck (Albany) and Wiltwijck (Kingston).

Mass immigration to America 1880-1920

Around 1880 began the period of mass immigration into the U.S.A. Dutch immigrants usually travelled on the ships of the Holland-America Line (H.A.L.) from Rotterdam to Ellis Island in New York, a sea journey of ten to twelve days. Immigration peaked around 1910, and started to decline at the outbreak of the first world war in 1914.

Early settlers

The first Dutch immigrants settled in the 17th century, between 1624 and 1664, in the New Netherland colony, in cities like Nieuw Amsterdam (now New York City), Beverwijck (Albany) and Wiltwijck (Kingston).

The Dutch in Australia

Although the Dutch were the first Europeans to reach Australia,they have never made a great impact as a group of settlers. At the time of Australia's discovery the Dutch were on the winning hand in their war against Spain and as a result there was little religious persecution. They did not find the kind of opportunities for trade they had learned to expect in the Dutch East Indies. . Only after the Second World War was there significant migration from the Netherlands to Australia.

The Dutch in South Africa

Dutch colonists established Cape Town in 1652, and their descendants, mixed with the French Huguenots, are known today as the Afrikaners.

The Dutch in Canada

Canada was a popular destination for Dutch emigrants since the 1930s, but especially after the second world war. The first post-war emigrants were the Canadese bruiden (Canadian brides), young women (many of them with a baby) who had started a relationship with Canadian soldiers who were in The Netherlands in 1944-1945.

The Dutch in the Carribean

Both the leeward (Alonso de Ojeda, 1499) and windward (Christopher Columbus, 1493) island groups were discovered and initially settled by the Spanish. In the 17th century, the islands were conquered by the Dutch West India Company and were used as bases for the slave trade. Very few Dutch people settled the Caribbean; most were traders or (former) sailors. Today most Dutch people living in the Dutch Antilles are wealthy, often middle-aged, and are mostly attracted by the tropical climate.

The Dutch in England

The Dutch in Indonesia

In the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), the Dutch heavily interacted with the indigenous population, and as European women were almost non-existent many Dutchmen married native women. This created a new group of people, the Dutch-Eurasians (Dutch: Indische Nederlanders) also known as 'Indos' or 'Indo-Europeans'. After the Indonesian National Revolution many chose or were forced to leave the country and today about half a million Eurasians live in the Netherlands.

The Dutch in Ireland

Dutch emigration to Ireland was encouraged throughout the second half of the seventeenth century , it was hoped that the Dutch would bring civilization and new skills to Ireland . To read more about this Dutch influences in 17th century Ireland

The Dutch in New Zealand

The 1950s Dutch migrants were the first foreigners many New Zealanders had met. As white Europeans, it was their language and accent rather than their appearance that made them distinctive. The Dutch came to be seen as sensible and hard-working nation builders. Some of the first wave attracted criticism for working too hard, and were told to slow down in the workplace. The "industrious Dutchie" soon became a national archetype, and qualities such as thrift and abruptness were seen as typical of the new arrival

The Dutch in South America

The majority of Dutch settlement in South America was limited to Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles (i.e. Aruba). Although sizable Dutch-descendant communities exist in urban areas and coastal port towns of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Guyana

Former Dutch Colonies

Post war emigration

Triggered by the ruins of the war, the rampant housing shortage, and the bleak economic prospects in the agrarian sector, emigration from The Netherlands peaked in the fifteen years after the second world war. Emigration was actively encouraged by the Dutch government. The most popular destinations were Canada and Australia, and to a lesser extend the U.S., South Africa and New Zealand.

Regional genealogy resources in the Netherlands=

Genealogy in Groningen

Genealogy in Friesland

Genealogy in Drenthe

Genealogy in Overijssel

Genealogy in Flevoland

Genealogy in Gelderland

Genealogy in Utrecht

Genealogy in Noord-Holland

Genealogy in Zuid-Holland

Genealogy in Zeeland

Genealogy in Noord-Brabant

Genealogy in Limburg


Please note that Dutch graves are usually rented, and reused after the rental period. Headstones and other monuments are destroyed, and human remains removed and often reburied in an anonymous mass grave.

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