Quick tip – Use image banks at archives

Many archives have online image banks (“beeldbank”) with their digitized image collections. Things you may find in there:

  • Photos of houses and important buildings
  • Prints, drawings, paintings of local scenes
  • Maps
  • Posters of local businesses, exhibitions, political propaganda
  • Building plans of houses
  • City ordinances

I love going through these images. They give me a sense of the place. If I am lucky, I could find a photo of a house where my ancestors lived, or a drawing of the church they attended. I use the images as illustrations for books and reports I write for clients to.

Map of Delfshaven, 1526. Credits: Collection Rotterdam City Archives (public domain)

What can you do with the images?

Pay attention to the rights statement. Older works and works created by the Dutch government may be in the public domain, and you are free to reuse them as you like. Younger works may be protected by copyright and there may be restrictions.

How can you find these images?

If you are on a website of an archives, you can often find a link on the homepage or in a “Collectie” [Collection] or “Onderzoek” [Research] menu. Here are some of the terms archives use:

  • Afbeeldingen [images]
  • Beeldbank [image bank]
  • Beelden [images]
  • Beeld en geluid [image and sound]
  • Foto’s en films [photos and films]
  • Fotobank [photo bank]

You can also search for the name of the town plus “beeldbank” in Google and check out my top 5 image collections.

Threshing day in Zeddam, 1919. Credits: Bernard F. Eilers, collection Amsterdam City Archives (public domain)

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG®, QG™ is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She holds the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has a post-graduate diploma in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee. She has been doing genealogy for over 30 years and helps people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

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