Aerial Photograph Collections (1939, 1943-1947)


The Special Collections department of Wageningen UR Library houses two collections of aerial photographs.

RAF337-06-4034: aerial photograph of Rotterdam in 1945

The Netherlands in World War II by the RAF, 1943-1947

The first collection comprises of approx. 94,250 photographs made by the Allied Air Force (RAF) flying over the whole of the Netherlands. The flight dates range from April 14th 1943 until June 18th 1947, but most are in 1944 and 1945. The scale varies for each flight from 1 : 5,000 to 1 : 73,500, common is 1: 7,600 to 18,000. Besides detailed information about the situation during the war they contain valuable information about land use, archeology and topography.

This photograph showing the bridges over the Maas in Rotterdam was taken on April 13th, 1945 (RAF337-06-4034). In the top left corner, the empty lots of the bombarded inner city are clearly visible.


Finding aids & document delivery


Grebbelinie, 1939

MD1717: aerial photograph of the Grebbelinie    The second collection consists of several hundreds of photographs taken by the Survey Department of Public Works and Water Management in September 1939. They cover the defence line 'Grebbelinie' in the Dutch provinces Gelderland and Utrecht on a scale of 1 : 10,000.

This defence line became the decisive battlefield less than a year later, when the German army invaded the Netherlands in May 1940. With hindsight, it is easy to detect flaws in the defence line, such as an orchard lying in the line of fire in this picture (MD1717).

Other collections of aerial photographs from the Netherlands

mail icon Wageningen Digital Library, 8 November, 2011