About the Collection Johan de Haas

In 1933 De Haas started photographing simple objects around the house. Later, he concentrated on cityscapes and landscapes. From his pre-war work, two travel reports are worth mentioning: his journey to Northern Africa (Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria) and his trip to Romania in 1938-1939. The photographs from these travels show his primary field of interest, then and later: ordinary people in their daily life.

The IISH collection contains no photos from the Second World War period. His pictures of the Jewish Council are in the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation collection. After the war, de Haas increasingly concentrated on photographing the trade union movement and other social institutions. This can be considered his major contribution to the history of Dutch photography.

A few of the more frequent subjects he photographed in the 1960s and 1970s are: trade union meetings, workers of various professions, the Dutch Police Union, social institutions, and educational subjects. In addition, he photographed many trade union leaders. For example, he shot a picture of former Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok as a shy speaker in 1962, as a long-haired strike leader in the 1970s, and as the president of the trade union federation FNV in 1978.

Access and Preservation

The Johan de Haas collection contains 63,833 negatives and 358 glass negatives. Preserving and inventorying this huge collection of negatives has taken several years. Now, a total of 3,165 records and 720 digital images can be consulted through our online catalogue. The negatives were placed in acid-free Melinex covers, which allows them to be scanned and studied without touching them. The glass negatives were wrapped in soft paper and stored in small boxes. The original negatives and packets can still be examined in the reading room.

For this labour intensive project and the packing material, the Institute received a grant from the SNS Reaal Fonds.

Tekst: Margo Buurman, Huub Sanders