gahetNA in the National Archives

Photos show the discovery of the world

Den Haag

The exhibition On the road – Traveling with the photographer in the National Archives of the Netherlands (9 September 2016 to 8 January 2017) shows how travelling and photography have become inextricably bound to each other.  Since the 19th century, photographers have been recording the discovery of new worlds, chronicling an ever-changing world and showing us exotic far-away places. From the turbulenty in Sudetenland on the eve of the Second World War, through the unknown China and Russia in the 1950s, to mysterious Latin-America. The National Archives is exhibiting work by photographers Ed van der Elsken, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Luc Timmers, Herbert Ponting, Cas Oorthuys, Sem Presser and Willem van de Poll and more. 

The world in pictures

In the exhibition On the road, the photographers take visitors on a journey, showing them that photos have been portraying the world as it really is since the 19th century. Photos taken by tourists and journalists in far-away places have always helped to satisfy the curiosity of those who stay at home. The photos taken by Herbert Ponting take you on an expedition with Robert Falcon Scott through the barren landscape of the Antarctic (1910-1912). Willem van de Poll takes us right into history with his photographic report of German troops marching into Sudetenland, providing an unique picture of this turbulent period. Thanks to photos taken by Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson, visitors get an impression of the closed worlds of China and Russia in the 1950s. Inhospitable countries where photographers were restricted by heavy censorship, but where some managed to take (secret) pictures of people going about their day-to-day business.

Vintage prints

Out of the millions of photo’s stored in the National Archives a selection of 235 vintage prints (originals) were chosen for the exhibition, showing work made by well-known and unknown photographers over the past 125 years. The majority of the photos on display are black-and-white prints. Previously unseen photos by Luc Timmers, a Dutch pioneer of colour photography in the 1930s, are an exception. His unique pictures were added to the National Archive’s collection in 2015.

About the National Archives

The National Archives manage and present almost 1,000 years of Dutch history. With 137 km of archives, 15 million photographs, 300,000 maps and drawings and 330 terabytes of digital footage, they serve as the memory of the Netherlands.  Whether you are looking for the archives of our parliament, the Dutch East India Company or the Dutch Football Association; you will find them in the National Archive of the Netherlands. is a website of the National Archives of The Netherlands in cooperation with the Society for the National Archives and Spaarnestad Photo.
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