The Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam is the leading national museum of photography in the Netherlands. It has an impressive collection of 5.5 million photographic images and exhibits every facet of photography: documentary and experimental, contemporary and historical. In addition to exhibitions featuring major names in Dutch and international photography, the museum regularly presents work from its in-house collection. The collection comprises an important part of the Netherlands’ visual heritage.
Each year the Nederlands Fotomuseum mounts around ten exhibitions. These alternate between historical and present-day photography and between Dutch and international work. From time to time the museum also shows art installations in which photography or film plays a role.
Over recent years, there have been major exhibitions of work by such world-famous photographers as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Nan Goldin, Lewis Hine, Alfredo Jaar, Josef Koudelka and Viviane Sassen. In addition, the Nederlands Fotomuseum concerns itself with young, emerging photographers. Its annual Steenbergen Stipendium awards and Quickscan NL exhibition series are evidence of this interest.
The museum regularly creates productions of its own. The museum collection is both a source of inspiration and an object of study, prompting fascinating exhibitions and publications. In addition, productions regularly come about in collaboration with foreign partners such as BOZAR (Brussels), Le Bal (Paris), Magnum Photos (Paris) and MAPFRE (Madrid).
The Nederlands Fotomuseum is currently responsible for 166 archives of Dutch photographers. It therefore manages an important part of the visual heritage of the Netherlands. Ed van der Elsken, Aart Klein and Cas Oorthuys are just a few examples of 19th and 20th-century photographers whose entire archives are conserved by the museum. Work by contemporary photographers like Bertien van Manen, Hans van der Meer, Vincent Mentzel, Viviane Sassen and Mieke Van de Voort is also represented in the collection. The collection expands year on year as a result of donations, legacies and purchases. A proportion of it can be viewed digitally via the website.
The Nederlands Fotomuseum is the only museum in the Netherlands to possess an in-house conservation studio for photography. The studio not only conserves the museum’s own collection, but also works on the photographic collections of other museums, private individuals, archives and companies. This makes the Nederlands Fotomuseum one of the most important museums of photography in Europe in terms of its expertise concerning the preservation and conservation of photographic materials.