- COMM’s collection boasts approximately 1,500 phone books.
- In the early years of telephone communications, there were only private concession contracts in larger cities, the largest of which belonged to the Nederlandse Bell Telefoon Maatschappij (The Dutch Bell Telephone Company). These telephone companies would issue their own telephone books that covered their specific region. The museum owns a number of copies dating to the period from 1884-1891, with the oldest stemming from 1884.
- COMM has virtually all national phone books issued by PTT/KPN in its collection. The following years are accounted for in the collection: 1901-1904-1905-1906-1910-1913-1915-1920; 1920 to 1943, 1947 up to the present. The museum also features a large number of phone books issued by municipal telephone companies (Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague).
- Until 1943, all Dutch subscribers would still fit in a single, massive volume with no fewer than 1442 pages. The collection does not contain any name lists for the years 1944-1946 and it is possible that they were never issued due to paper shortages. After the Second World War, phone books were published in two volumes (1947 A-H; 1948 I-Z) and by 1950 the three major cities required their own phone books, which meant the name list was now spread over 5 volumes.
- It was not long before certain company phone books were created in addition to the official PTT phone book, which gave rise to heated discussions about copyright. Following the US (Yellow pages), the Gouden Gids was also published in the Netherlands, alongside the PTT phone books. The Gouden Gids and PTT ultimately started working together, so that the former would also have access to up-to-date information about phone numbers.
- In the early 90s, the first CD-ROM version of the PTT phone guide was published and starting from 1996 all information was also made available online at www.detelefoongids.nl.
- In 2009, KPN handed over the phone guides to the Gouden Gids, which saw the Gouden Gids introduce a section with all phone numbers ordered by location and name, as well as a company directory. Starting from this year, the phone books would be known as: De Telefoongids & Gouden Gids.
- All available phone books dating from 1900-1950 have also been digitised. These so-called ‘Name books’ can be consulted by Delpher, developed by the KB. To find out how to search with Delpher, please click here.
- 2018 will be the last year that all 45 printed, regional editions of De Telefoongids & Gouden Gids are published, marking the end of almost 140 years of a unique repository of telephone and address information in the Netherlands.
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