Our curators have selected over 500 brief clips from the first 30 years of film history (1895 – 1925) for Eye on Screens. From 24 June 2021 onwards, Eye will surprise people in the streets, at stations and on squares with these gems from early cinema. They provide a glimpse of the world a century ago. The images will be screened for a week every month on some 50 large digital screens across the country – screens that normally only show commercials.
Eye on Screens
Over the coming two years, you will be able to watch over 500 excerpts from the first 30 years of film history on 50 large screens at stations, shopping centres and squares throughout the Netherlands. The fascinating clips are from Eye’s collection.
Kilometres of celluloid
The excerpts are all from Eye’s sub-collections. Our depots safely conserve well over 200,000 film cans. Each can with its own unique contents: immortalised images on kilometres of celluloid.
The clips originate from collections like that of film pioneer Jean Desmet. This exceptional archive has been added to UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register. The curators also did research at the Nederlands Centraal Archief [Netherlands National Archives]. What did the Netherlands look like 100 years ago? Willy Mullens visited towns and villages all over the country with his camera.
Also to be screened are the enchanting coloured films from the very beginning of cinema. Just as special are the Bits & Pieces: long forgotten, orphaned snippets of celluloid, with no beginning, no end and with no known maker, yet their beauty is so obvious. They come alive even more when encountered unexpectedly, out in the street.
Actor Gaite Jansen tells you about her favourite film fragment from Eye's collection
Want to see the screens in real life?
Eye on Screens locations
From our collection
The archive of Jean Desmet (1875 - 1956) is one of the main components of the Eye collection. He was a leading film-industry entrepreneur in the 1910s.
The use of colour in early Dutch film
The Eye collection contains a short film made in about 1910, in which two women, a child, and a man walk through beds of flower bulbs. But which film is it?
The earliest films have no sound. They were made in the period from 1896 to about 1930, when sound film arrived.
Het Nederlandsch Centraal Filmarchief
Background article about the Dutch Central Film Archive
Bits & Pieces
Eye's Bits & Pieces collection is the result of a project in which short fragments of film are preserved as they are - incomplete and often unidentified.