My Favorite Websites for Finding Dutch Photos

baker selling bread

Interior of a traditional bakery in Den Bosch, 2003. Credits: P. van Galen, Rijksdienst Cultureel Erfgoed

In response to last week’s article about the term bakker/bakkerij, Doris Waggoner asked how I found the photos I use to illustrate the articles on this website. I thought other people might like to read my response, so I am repeating it here and will include some links to my favorite photo sites.

I never have any trouble finding photos. I used to work at the National Archives in The Hague and was the technical project manager for their image bank for a while. That taught me a lot about their photo collection so I often remember a fitting photo when writing an article and then look it up. If I don’t think of a photo, I usually go to the Open Cultuur Data (Open Culture Data) search engine and search for a relevant term.

In many cases, I start by randomly browsing a nice photo collection and then write an article around a photo that I enjoy. That was the case with the photo of the bakery 🙂 These wonderful collections provide plenty of inspiration for future blog posts.

Websites with photos

Here are my five favorite websites to find images. Some of these images are in the public domain, others are available under a Creative-Commons License that allows reuse under certain conditions. Make sure to check the license before reusing photos.

  • Photo collection National Archives. Not all photos are available for reuse. Use the Advanced tab to search for photos in the Public Domain or CC-0. One of the collections that is available in the public domain is ANEFO, a former press agency.
  • Map collection National Archives. Most if not all images are in the public domain. Includes maps of the East India company, West India Company, and several places in the Netherlands.
  • Rijksmuseum. Most if not all images are available in the public domain. Images include photos and other works of art.
  • Image bank Cultural Heritage Service. Most images are available as CC-BY-SA (reuse permitted provided you credit the source and share the resulting image under the same license). Includes photos of monuments and maps of 1832.
  • Open Cultuurdata. Search engine that searches multiple image banks of archives, museums, and historical societies. Many different licenses.

I also use these collections to illustrate products I make for clients. For example, I include photos of churches in a report to show where the ancestor was baptized, or include maps in a family history that tells where the ancestors lived. I love having all these treasures at my fingertips.

photographer shooting a close-up of a bush

Photographer in the East Indies. Credits: Unknown photographer, collection Nationaal Archief (public domain)

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for almost 25 years. Her expertise is helping people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

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