Pathé Frères in the Netherlands

The French firm Pathé Frères dominated the film world at the beginning of the 20th century. It set both the artistic and technical standards for film, and many of the films shown in the Netherlands in those days originated from their company.

By the end of 1905, Pathé opened a branch in Amsterdam as a part of its strategy to build up a complex global network of sales offices. Two years later, it switched from film sales to film rental. Abroad, the rise of cinema had led to the unofficial reselling of films. By maintaining the ownership of its films, Pathé was able to secure the exclusive rights to all its own films. 

In the Netherlands, this new global development went hand in hand with the organisation of a number of full evening programmes in the summer months of 1907 in Amsterdam. The press declared these shows to be forerunners of the first large cinema in Amsterdam, Nöggerath’s Bioscope Theater, which was to open in September 1907. The actual filmdistribution started later, probably around late 1908 or early 1909. 

Pathé’s Amsterdam branch went ‘independent’ in 1911 under the name Kinematograaf Pathé Frères (Cinématographes Pathé Frères). A second branch was started up in Rotterdam and the Theater Pathé, a cinema under the same ownership, was opened in Amsterdam.

In addition to all this, Kinematograaf Pathé Frères also began to produce films: during 1911-1912, 13 short films were produced by Pathé under the name Hollandsche Film, while at the same time, it also regularly shot news items for its own newsreel Pathé Journaal. The permanent camera operator for this newsreel was Herman van Luijnen.


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