Dutch Newsreels

The first Dutch company to produce newsreels on a regular basis was Kinematograaf Pathé Frères. Beginning in 1912 they showed the French Pathé newsreels, to which Dutch items were also regularly added. Pathé employed their own cameraman for this purpose, H.J.W. van Luijnen, who travelled all around the country making films. He worked for Pathé until 1927, the year that Pathé stopped making their own films and the last Dutch items were filmed.

In the years between 1912 and 1927, much changed. At the end of the 1910s, Willy Mullens started to make his own newsreels. He regularly used the name Courant Albert-Frères, a reference to the old travelling cinema he used to operate with his brother.

Other companies also made films of current events, as was the practice since the early years of film, but none of them regularly produced their own newsreels. Distributors and cinemas did release their own newsreels, but these were almost always compilations of foreign news with an occasional Dutch item added in.

Polygoon newsreels

The real breakthrough came in 1920 when Jules Stoop pulled out of the hard-pressed Filmfabriek Hollandia and started his own film company, Filmfabriek Polygoon. Within a few years, under the management of the next director, B.D. Ochse, Polygoon grew to become the most important Dutch producer of documentaries, educational films, commissioned films and newsreels. It was the latter genre in particular that determined the image of Polygoon. For decades, up until the final newsreel in 1987, the name Polygoon was synonymous with Dutch newsreels.

Newsreels take off

In the 1920s, however, things hadn’t gotten quite that far yet. In 1921, the first newsreel was screened – although that year the number of newsreels was limited to five. In 1922, there were 15 and in 1923, 21. After that, the number increased substantially each year, but it wasn’t until 1932 that Polygoon newsreels, called Hollands Nieuws, were shown weekly. Additionally, at that time the number of copies of each newsreel increased from a handful to scores. 

In the mid-1920s, Polygoon faced competition from two companies from The Hague that also began making newsreels. The first was Orion Filmfabriek, founded in 1925, followed a few years later by Filmfabriek Profilti.


more information

If you are looking for more material from our collection, please contact

Ms. Leenke Ripmeester
phone +31 (0)20 5891 426
mobile +31 (0)6 4118 9635