C-DSD: Curating the Dutch Song Database


The Dutch Song Database (Nederlandse Liederenbank in Dutch) contains more than 150,000 songs in the Dutch and Flemish language, from the Middle Ages through the twentieth century. It contains love songs, satirical songs, Beggar songs, psalms and other religious songs, folksongs, children's songs, St Nicholas and Christmas songs, and so on and so forth. The main sources for all these songs are songbooks, songsheets (broadsides), song manuscripts and fieldwork recordings. For every song the source is indicated where the text and/or the melody can be found. In some cases one can click directly to the complete text, or to the music, or to a recording.
The Dutch Song Database was compiled at the Meertens Institute in Amsterdam and is maintained and developed further by its Centre for Documentation and Research of Dutch Songs, in cooperation with several partners.


In the Dutch Song Database (DSD) four different datasets are integrated into a database in the field of Literary Studies. It contains (meta-)data on 140.000 songs and their 15.000 sources (songbooks, pamphlets, field recordings, etc.) from the Middle Ages to the present day. Built and rebuilt over a period of 25 years, consisting of four distinct datasets, this database was enlarged and enriched in many stages, with grants from (among others) NWO and OCW. The first online version of the DSD was published in 2007. The ratio behind the analysis of data and the production of metadata in the DSD is internationally renowned and perceived as exemplary.

The first version of the DSD was built in the late 1980’s for research purposes at the University of Utrecht (Phd thesis L.P. Grijp, 1991). It was called ‘Voetenbank’ (‘Feetbank’) because of the many stanza forms described in it. At the Meertens Institute it was rebuilt into a relational database in Filemaker Pro in 1996, renamed into DSD, and all kinds of metadatasets and data sources (audio, image, symbolic music notation) into the database were included in the years following. A webinterface (www.liederenbank.nl) using MySQL & PHP was built in 2007 and is used for online searching only - the Filemaker Pro db was maintained as the main entry tool. In C-DSD an extra layer of CMDI files was added, which were the basis for generating Dublin Core metadata.

  • Project leader: 
 Dr. E. Stronks (University Utrecht)
  • CLARIN center: Meertens Institute
  • Help contact: lied@meertens.knaw.nl



CLARIN centre



Research domain

Resource tags