The Dutch archives hold tens of thousands of charters from the Middle Ages and early modern period, providing an invaluable source of information on various societal aspects. Yet, this material is scarcely used in historical research mainly due to its complicated heuristics: the documents are spread across dozens of archives and hundreds of archival funds. The Digitale Charterbank Nederland (DCN) now makes most of this corpus accessible through an integrated database in which all documents can be found. Our article discusses the set-up of DCN and its practical consequences for the user. The database has specific possibilities but also certain limitations, and this article shows how DCN can help with both detailed research into persons or places, and with more broadly oriented research covering a long period of time. The article further includes a reflection on the impact of new large scale digital source retrieval systems and the associated tools and techniques on historical research.