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Emmy Andriesse's captivating photographs now available in the public domain

Hundreds of beautiful and timeless photos by Emmy Andriesse, one of the most important Dutch photographers of the twentieth century, are now freely accessible for everyone and can be used for research, education or other purposes. Large parts of Andriesse's oeuvre are already available online via Digital Collections of Leiden University Libraries (UBL). In the coming months, we will be working hard on further digitisation and improved accessibility of the collection.

Boy (Pim) with a pan. The photo that went on to symbolise the hunger winter in the Netherlands, bringing Emmy Andriesse international fame

Emmy Andriesse (1914-1953) was a luminary and pioneer in Dutch photography. In the mid-20th century, she left an indelible mark on the Dutch photographic landscape with her socially involved and masterfully composed images. In addition to cities, landscapes, portraits and fashion, she also had an eye for ordinary people. Especially her images of the hardest times of the Second World War in the Netherlands, the aftermath of the battle of Arnhem, the Hunger Winter in Amsterdam and the subsequent liberation by Canadian Troops, pushed her work firmly into the limelight. From enigmatic portraits to serene landscapes, all her photography aims to focus on the sometimes wild beauty of everyday life. Her work is therefore a fascinating example of photography at the intersection of art and documentary. Andriesse's work shows the full spectrum of life in Europe; before, during and immediately after the Second World War.

The collection now available in the Public Domain includes photographs (1,730), negatives (15,000) and contact albums (21) created during Emmy Andriesse's short career, between 1932 and 1953. The collection consists almost entirely of her personal legacy, which was acquired by the UBL in 1962, from her husband Dick Elffers. The collection was later supplemented with donations from Cas Oorthuys and Paul Citroen.

Public domain

The release of Emmy Andriesse’s legacy in the public domain, both in physical form in the Special Collections reading room and online via Digital Collections, is in line with the UBL's ambition to release every digitised image from the Digital Collections that may, by law, be released publicly, in the public domain. This makes the collection freely available to researchers and teachers, for example via the UBL IIIF-Viewer, but also as a source of artistic inspiration or as a basis for new creations.

Photo collection of the UBL

The UBL manages one of the most complete artistic photo collections in the Netherlands, aimed at representing all historical technical and artistic developments of the medium of photography since its invention. The Digital Collections cover an exceptionally broad time span, from 1839 to the present. Almost every artistic movement and technical twist in photography is represented in Digital Collections, from pictorialist work and early amateur photography, to the modernist interwar period New Photography, post-Second World War subjective photography and work by contemporary artists.

Fashion model in Paris
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