about the collection

On these pages, you can take a look at the EYE collection. In the ‘watch our films’ section, we’ve made a selection for you of the films that we have available online.

By using the ‘browse the database’ link, you can find all sorts of information about the history of film, in addition to the films themselves. EYE’s collection spans the entire history of film, from silent films in the early days of cinema to the latest digital productions. Each year, both old and new Dutch and foreign titles are added. EYE is also the only institution in the Netherlands that acquires film-related collections and makes them available: photographs, posters, soundtracks, equipment, and the paper archives of filmmakers. The internationally renowned collection forms the basis for EYE’s programming and other activities.

Of course it is impossible to put our entire collection online, in part due to rights-related issues, and also because the collection is simply too extensive.

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film collection

Over the past sixty years, EYE has assembled a collection that reflects the most important aspects of film history. Many of the individual collections that form the overall EYE collection are unique in the world, such as the Desmet Collection and the collection of Dutch films. The Desmet Collection consists of more than 900 films that were shown in cinemas in the 1910s. And EYE’s collection of Dutch films, which is the largest in the world, provides an overview of our national film history from 1898 onwards. The EYE depots store more than 62,000 kilometres of film (about 37,000 film titles). The conservation and restoration of the collection is one of EYE ‘s most important tasks. For its preservation and restoration work, the institute has won prestigious international awards.

photo collection

The EYE collection also contains more than 700,000 photographs, slides, negatives, lobby cards, and picture postcards. Together they form a reflection of Dutch cinema culture, a culture in which foreign films have played a major role since the beginning. EYE manages a number of special collections of film stills, including the collections of the Dutch photographer Dick van Maarseveen and Studio Merkelbach. In addition to film stills and portraits, the EYE collection also contains set photos and pictures of film premieres and festivals. Visitors to the EYE library can search through a database of the photo ccollection, and professionals and students can also see the actual photographs themselves. 

music collection

EYE has a varied collection of film music: from soundtracks on different gramophone formats to contemporary film music on CD. Particularly noteworthy are the records with a diameter of 40 cm from the early days of sound film. The collection also includes 78s with music from the 1920s and 1930s, and soundtracks from famous post-war musicals such as An American in Paris (Vincente Minnelli, 1951) and Show Boat (George Sidney, 1951). Also interesting is the collection of ‘stock music’ from the 50s (including the Chappell Library of Recorded Music series). This music complements the collection of sheet music, which largely consists of ‘incidentals’: music that was specifically meant to accompany (silent) film scenes.

personal archives

Many Dutch filmmakers, screenwriters, and film critics have donated their paper archives to EYE. For example, EYE manages the collections of Bert Haanstra, Fons Rademakers, Pim de la Parra, Wim Verstappen, Frans Weisz, and Rudolf van den Berg. These personal archives include correspondence, notes, screenplay versions, production reports, and budgets. EYE also collects the archives of film organizations and companies. The most extensive institutional archive comes from the Nederlandse Bioscoop Bond (Dutch Cinema Association). Another unique holding is the company archive of film pioneer Jean Desmet, which provides insights into the film and theatre industry of the 1910s.


EYE’s collection of film equipment mainly contains recording and projection equipment, but also ‘pre-cinema objects’: equipment that influenced the development of film recording and projection, the moving image, and film screenings. One of these pre-cinema objects, the magic lantern, is often used during family film screenings that are organized in EYE.

  • restoration

    EYE is a global pioneer in the field of film restoration and digitization.

  • film sales

    EYE has a world-renowned film collection due to years of focused acquisition, conservation and restoration of films.

  • library

    EYE houses the largest film-related library in the Netherlands, and is freely available to everyone.

  • archival loans

    EYE’s Archival Loans department lends restorations and other archival films to archives and festivals worldwide.

  • distribution

    EYE rents out classic and contemporary films to Dutch cinemas.

  • photograph and poster service

    EYE can supply digital reproductions of photographs and posters.