Leiden and Photography: The municipal archive

If you want to discover historical photography of Leiden and the surrounding area, you cannot ignore the archive of ‘Heritage Leiden and Region’ or ‘Erfgoed Leiden en Omstreken’. The basis for this archive was laid in 1847 when the first municipal archivist was appointed. Today it manages no less than 16 kilometers of shelves with archival documents, 3000 boxes of archaeological material, finds with particular architectural and building historical value, as well as 2850 monuments.

The largest part of the collection is located in the archive building on the Boisotkade. The oldest part of this archive was built between 1891 and 1893, which makes it the oldest archive building in the Netherlands. Currently, the items from ‘Heritage Leiden and Region’ are spread out over various depots in Leiden. These depots are not open to the public, but documents can be ordered and viewed in the reading room on request. In addition, ‘Heritage Leiden and Region’ is committed to digitizing as much of the material as possible. A lot of archival material has already been made accessible via the website.

There is no shortage of visual material within the collection. ‘Heritage Leiden and Region’ possesses hundreds of thousands of photos, images, prints, posters and drawings. This material comes from Leiden, from surrounding municipalities, and from regional historical associations. More than 200,000 digitized images can be viewed online. More information about this image bank can be found here (in Dutch): https://www.erfgoedleiden.nl/collecties/beeldmateriaal.