The national and international photo collection of the former illustrated magazine Het Leven (1906-1941) covers an important period of the 20th century. The collection also shows the development of press photography in the Netherlands, which was still in its infancy at the beginning of the 1900s. Nevertheless, following on from examples abroad, photographers were quick to adopt all types of styles and techniques that were to become common later in the 20th century. Whether it be visual storytelling, the use of hidden cameras, hard news photography or work by paparazzi photographers, or interesting camera angles and shots, it can all be found in the magazine from the very moment Het Leven was first launched. The weekly magazine was certainly not the goody two-shoes among the illustrated weeklies in the Netherlands. Its more aggressive, penetrating and sensational style also gave the other illustrated weeklies in the Netherlands the initial impetus to modernize at the beginning of the 20th century. Thanks to its approach, Het Leven managed to reach a mass audience that looked forward each week to the sensational way in which the news was presented. The magazine's photography became a part of everyday life. Images from all over the world could be consumed in the comfort of people's own homes, even though they did not always please the authorities.
In addition to the more than 42,000 photos that can be viewed in this collection, also shown are examples of front pages and advertisements from the magazine, illustrations, contests and special supplements dating back to the period between 1908 to 1941. Photographs published in the first two years of the magazine have not or have barely been preserved, nor have all the photographs published in Leven reportages. The subjects were extremely varied: from famous people by name, wars, revolutions, the economy, arts and sciences to social life, sports, politics, governments, religion, the life of women and topography.