Over more than seven decades, we have brought together a collection reflecting the most important aspects of film history. Many collections are unique in the world, such as the Desmet Collection and the collection of Dutch films. The Desmet Collection consists of over 900 films that were shown in cinemas in the 1910s. The collection of Dutch films, the largest in the world, provides an overview of Dutch film history since 1898.
The Eye depots store more than 80,000 kilometers of film – nearly 55,000 film titles. Conservation and restoration of the collection are our most important tasks. We have won prestigious international awards for our conservation and restoration efforts.
Every year new productions are added to the collection. These films come in a wide variety of formats, analogue as well as digital. Most films are stored in our Collection Centre in Amsterdam Noord, except the nitrate films. Nitrate film is the oldest type of film, but it is more vulnerable and more flammable than other film types and therefore stored in separate depots.
The collection is accessible through the collection catalogue CE (Collection Eye). A large portion of the analogue film collection has already been digitized; these films can be viewed in the Eye Study.
Our online film database contains information about film in The Netherlands, and is gradually being expanded. At this moment, you can find information about early films (from ca. 1900-1930) and about experimental films. You can watch a considerable amount of films directly online for free.
In our film files, you will find in-depth information about Dutch film history. We pay special attention to specific parts of the collection, or to current events that have a link to the collection.
Our film collection reflects Dutch film history. The subcollections form the outlines of this film history as represented in the collection. With each subcollection, the major developments and leading filmmakers are mentioned and placed in their time. From each subcollection, you can access movies, biographical information, and background articles.
The vaults of Eye contain material from most Dutch feature films, ranging from single, unfinished prints to complete films with negatives, audio material, and working copies.
Nonfiction makes up the bulk of film production and is the blanket term for all films that are not fiction.
In particular, 16mm film emerged in the 1920s as an ideal format for amateurs: soon enough, you could pick up 16mm film and equipment from the local photography shop.
The first thing most Dutch people think of when they hear the word newsreel is the Polygoons Nederlands Nieuws.
In the late 1910s, the first advertising films appeared in the Dutch cinemas. This marked the beginning of a rich tradition in Dutch film.
In the late 1920s, "It's about the film!” was the rallying cry of Dutch filmmakers who were protesting against the increasing market share of the entertainment film.
The earliest films have no sound. They were made in the period from 1896 to about 1930, when sound film arrived.
Dutch East Indies
In the 1920s, several Dutch film producers sent a camera crew to the Dutch East Indies. They produced documentaries as well as corporate films for the government and businesses.