Karel Dibbets, one of the most prominent historians of Dutch film, has died.

Karel Dibbets (Photo Liesbeth Dingemans)

2 June 2017

Karel Dibbets (1947) passed away on 28 May. Dibbets, who worked at the University of Amsterdam until his retirement, is one of the most important historians of cinema in the Netherlands.

His career as a film historian began in 1986 with De Nederlandse film en bioscoop tot 1940, a study of Dutch film and cinema culture prior to WW II, which he published together with Frank van der Maden. It was followed in 1993 by Sprekende Films, Dibbets’ dissertation on the rise of the sound film in the Netherlands in the 1930s.

His comprehensive research project Cinema Context was put online in 2006, a valuable film reference resource for Dutch film culture prior to 1940. Cinema Context was a major project that explored – in Karel’s own words - the DNA of Dutch film culture. EYE Film Museum also participated in this project, which is now continued under the auspices of Julia Noordegraaf, Professor of Digital Heritage at the University of Amsterdam. Karel Dibbets also served on the board of the Nederlandse Filmmuseum (the predecessor of EYE) for a number of years and was an editor of the film periodical Skrien.

Dutch cinema has lost a spirited, flamboyant and thorough researcher and historian.  To EYE he was an esteemed and welcome guest and partner – numerous members of staff studied under Karel and were thus introduced to the field of – Dutch – film history. 

We will always remember Karel as a dear friend.

Read the in memoriam by Ivo Blom, lecturer Department of Arts & Culture, Vrije Universiteit.