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lists all 458 municipalities
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All place-names in The Netherlands: contents of this page

All (?) place-names in The Netherlands

Who clicks on the table of place-names, will be downloading a list with some 4800 Dutch place-names.

It is the local government of a municipality that decides upon the spelling of the names of the places within their municipality. The municipalities supply these details to the Ministry of the Interior (Home Department), where the names are registered into the yearly published State Year Book.

It is my choice that the data in the above-mentioned table of place-names match exactly with the listing of place-names in the State Year Book (its edition 2000 mentions some 3800 place-names). In addition to these 3800 place-names from the State Year Book, I have added place-names that (although occasionally spelled differently) are published in the Postal Code Book 1999 (over 3000 place-names) and in the Edition 2000/20001 of the KPN Telecom Telephone Directory (over 3100 place-names). So it may happen (and it does) that one and the same place is mentioned in my table with three different spellings. A striking example is: ‘Wehe-den-Hoorn’ (State Year Book), ‘Wehe-Den Hoorn’ (Telephone Directory) and ‘Wehe den Hoorn’ (directory of postal codes). Elsevier Alphabetical Place-name Guide mentions even a fourth spelling: ‘Wehe-den Hoorn’. This one and the same place is situated in the municipality of ‘De Marne’ in the province of Groningen.

These data are now extended with place-names that are given on the topographical maps of the Dutch Topographical Service (actually in the index to those maps; occasionally, the spelling on the actual maps varies slightly with the spelling in the index). Next I hope to be able to shine more light on the ‘official’ spelling of those place-names that are at variance with different sources.

Still more place-names, listed by province

Adding all place-names that are listed in the maps of the Topographical Service causes the place-name table to grow to an extent (not some 4800, but at least 7000 place-names) that this list is split per province. After having split up, we will be dealing again with file sizes suitable to download.

Groningen Fryslân Drenthe Overijssel




Gelderland
(alphabetically, with maps)
Gelderland
(sorted by municipality)
Gelderland
(alphabetically, with postal codes)
Gelderland
(sorted by postal code)




Flevoland
(alphabetically, with maps)
Flevoland
(sorted by municipality)
Flevoland
(alphabetically, with postal codes)
Flevoland
(sorted by postal code)




Utrecht
(alphabetically, with maps)
Utrecht
(sorted by municipality)
Utrecht
(alphabetically, with postal codes)
Utrecht
(sorted by postal code)




Noord-Holland
(alphabetically, with maps)
Noord-Holland
(sorted by municipality)
Noord-Holland
(alphabetically, with postal codes)
Noord-Holland
(sorted by postal code)




Zuid-Holland
(sorted by municipality)
Zuid-Holland
(alphabetically, with postal codes)
Zuid-Holland
(sorted by postal code)





Zeeland Noord-Brabant Limburg

How to define a ‘place-name’?

Completely in contradiction with determining where exactly a municipality is located and how a municipality's name is spelled, in my opinion there does not exist an unambiguous definition for a Dutch ‘place’. Here in The Netherlands we also lack, I think, an ‘authorized’ agency that on its own has the right to define precisely what a ‘place’ is. It is all about a (fictive?) distinction between definitions for ‘places’, for ‘villages’, for ‘townlets’, for ‘hamlets’, etc. Who would want to differentiate in an unambiguous (measurable) way, he cannot obtain sufficient distinctness.

Moreover, we often notify ambiguity regarding the spelling of place-names: although the municipality and the Ministry of Home Affairs are the authorities concerned where spelling should be stated, there are different organizations that think that their own interpretation of the spelling is justified.

It occurs in a number of occasions that an authoritative organization permits itself an own view on correct spellling. To illustrate this, I will mention here two examples:
the indeed authoritative Van Dale dictionary uses an own spelling, that sometimes deviates from the ‘Green Book’.
Also the Great Dictation of the Dutch Language has set its own rules on television by NOT allowing the spelling officially allowed at the time. That ‘allowed’ spelling should have been allowed, as its name suggests clearly enough, but it wasn't. After all, in both the Green Book as the Van Dale this ‘allowed spelling’ was mentioned as a (second) correct spelling.

Various organizations and sources go their own way with regard to place-names and their spelling. I mention a few:
(i) State Year Book 2000 (mentioning approximately 3800 place-names);
(ii) Postal Code Book 1999 from PTT Post (mentioning approximately 2800 place-names in the main list, with another 280 place-names that refer to the main list);
(iii) Telephone Directory edition 2000/2001 of KPN Telecom (3116 place-names mentioned);
(iv) Elsevier Alphabetical Guide of Place-names (16th edition, data known by 1 February 2000, mentioning approximately 17,000 place-names – this guide includes also names of districts of towns, industrial estates, etc. – which clarifies the higher number of place-names);
(v) Topographical Service (Topographical Map of The Netherlands).

These five sources yearly publish a renewed list, which is, to begin with, a necessary action to be taken if only one wishes to keep up with the local-governmental reorganizations that take place every year in this country.
Also individuals, like Frank van den Hoven, have published indexes with place-names:
‘De Topografische Gids van Nederland’ (see the links section for more details on this book).

The Postcodeboek (Directory of Postal Codes) mentions quite a number of place-names at variance with the list in the State Year Book. Really striking, though, was the Postal Code Book's own spelling policy: PTT Post deemed it necessary in 1978, at the launch of the current system of postal codes, to work with an own spelling of toponyms, as a result of which e.g. all ij's were altered into y's (example: IJmuiden became Ymuiden). This was only recently corrected in the ‘Postcodeboek 1999’ (printed edition). We do not know yet whether or not supplements will be issued, as was the common practise for the ‘Postcode Book 1978’; for the digital version, a yearly update can be purchased.
The Directory of Postal Codes indicates that there should be a distinction between a common place-name and names for something different (hamlet? parish? townlet?), as some threehundred ‘see’-references are added to this index of 2800 common names. But who follows such a reference searching the details of those hamlets, find streetnames and postal codes that do not differ from its names and codes of the common places. Thus, a specification (which streets are located in the hamlet and which in the common place?) cannot be found.

Also the list of place-names and the spelling of some names in KPN Telecom's telephone directories are at variance from their mentioning in the State Year Book.

Another different collection of place-names can be obtained by selecting all those villages and towns in The Netherlands for which the beginning of it's built-up area is indicated with the blue road sign no. H1. There are also white signs, that indicate neighbourhoods, areas of a city, industrial estates, etc. It is municipality's own policy that decides when a blue sign is placed. Possibly also the ANWB (Algemene Nederlandse Wielrijdersbond, a private organisation similar to the RAC in Britain, that deals with this responsibility – a responsibility that should be a local-governmental responsibility – and this makes us different from all other countries) decides whether or not a blue or white plate is placed – with the advantage that the ANWB probably does keep track of these place-names.

Many more peculiarities about the namegiving of Dutch places can be presented here; I would like to refer for that to the afore-mentioned De Topografische Gids van Nederland. Such peculiarities are not explained; in the yearly published updates of the five above-mentioned organizations there are just listings.

More peculiarities can be mentioned in this respect.
According to the State Year Book, the municipality of The Hague is called ‘Den Haag’ and it comprises the place-names: Den Haag, Kijkduin, Loosduinen and Scheveningen. So the name ‘'s-Gravenhage’ would not be an official name, although one would think so (the Directory of Postal Codes in 1999 bears this opinion; the Telephone Directory mentions both names without preferring one above the other). One is not confronted with traffic signs with the name ‘'s-Gravenhage’ when one approaches the built-up area of The Hague.
The municipality of Borsele (with one s in its name) in the province of Zeeland comprises, among others, the village of Borssele (the name of this village, however, is spelled with a double s).

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