World War II (NIOD) posters

Collection: An extensive collection of Dutch posters from World War II (1940-1945).
Size: More than 5,000 posters.
Access: All posters have been digitised and can be found at the Geheugen van Nederland website. Catalogue records can be found in the printed Bestandcatalogus: afficheverzameling Koninklijke Bibliotheek (1992).
More information: Paul van Capelleveen -070 3140331

Wijga, Verzamel eikels en kastanjes voor de herbebossching. [Ca. 1945]. Lithografie, 69 x 49 cm. Shelfnumber AF/00686. 

Wijga, Verzamel eikels en kastanjes voor de herbebossching. [Ca. 1945]. Lithografie, 69 x 49 cm. Shelfnumber AF/00686.

S., Op - tegen het bolsjewisme! Meldt u aan bij de Waffen SS. [ca. 1943]. Lithografie, 118 x 88 cm. Shelfnumber AG/00348a. 

S., OpĀ­tegen het bolsjewisme! Meldt u aan bij de Waffen SS. [ca. 1943]. Lithografie, 118 x 88 cm. Shelfnumber AG/00348a.

Van Altema. De jeugd in den Jeugdstorm. 1943. Lithografie, 44 x 30 cm. Shelfnumber AE/00694. 

Van Altema. De jeugd in den Jeugdstorm. 1943. Lithografie, 44 x 30 cm. Shelfnumber AE/00694.

Collection profile

The collection consists of Dutch placards and posters from the period 1940-1945. During World War II posters constituted an important means of propaganda. In the occupied Netherlands, the Nazis put a lot of effort into promoting the national-socialist message by means of colourful posters. Sign boards, walls and advertising pillars were covered in propaganda posters with slogans and images to influence the public opinion.

The subjects are very diverse: German propaganda campaigns, Mussert and the NSB (Dutch Nazi Party), recruitment calls for the waffen SS, instructions for protection against air strikes and Nazi death sentences. Mayors of cities used placards to inform civilians of new German measures. The Resistance movement used posters to call for civil disobedience. In the Dutch East Indies, the Japanese occupiyng forces produced propaganda posters.

Three subcategories can be distinguished:

  • Announcements by official bodies, such as calls for mobilisation, the notice of the capitulation and announcements of the occupying forces;
  • Information posters to stimulate certain behaviour among the population, such as posters against the black market or against certain dietary habits in times of food scarcity;
  • Propaganda and recruitment materials.

History of the collection

The collection of more than 5,000 posters was amassed after the War. In 1944, Radio Oranje in London issued a call to the Dutch people to preserve materials related to the War. After liberation this call was repeated, with the request to send all items to the State Institute for War Documantation (RIOD), that had been founded on May 8, 1945. The posters were among the submitted materials.

In the middle of 1983, the KB was contacted by the RIOD (now NIOD) with a request to house the posters collection, as the RIOD did not have proper storage facilities. At the end of 1984, the collection was transferred to the KB, where it was thoroughly restored and put in a special depository. Some 800 duplicate posters remained at the NIOD, where they are available for exhibitions. The KB collection is considered as a preservation collection. The posters are only occasionally given on loan.

Literature

  • Bestandcatalogus: afficheverzameling Koninklijke Bibliotheek. Den Haag, Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst, 1992. 3 dl. (Bestandcatalogus Nederlands Affiche Project; 14-16)
  • W. Goossens. 'Het restauratieprojekt van de collectie affiches uit de Tweede Wereldoorlog in de Koninklijke Bibliotheek'. In: De boekenwereld 4 (1987/88), p. 177-180, ill.