In the Rotterdam City Archives hundreds of thousands of images can be found and consulted in the reading rooms at the Hofdijk.

Some fifty thousand posters, illustrations, drawings, cartographic documents and picture postcards are available through ‘Images Online’ on the website: The elderly of Rotterdam have experienced the horrors of war themselves. Youngsters too are confronted with the changes the city has undergone as a result of the bombardment. On the basis of the pre-war city views we know how much Rotterdam has changed. A lot of material from the period 1940 – 1945 is still found, but a photo of the bombardment has never shown up.

The Rotterdam City Archives has a reading room Images and Sound, to watch films and listen to audio fragments. The collection Moving Images consists of over 4.000 titles, films and video tapes, professional productions and amateur films, from the nineteen twenties until today. On the website you can search in the catalogue.

In the meantime the Rotterdam City Archives has assembled some 2800 subjects on audio tapes, varying from important board meetings to interviews with striking personalities. Here you can hear examples, like the ANP-news about the raid of the German Army and a fragment of an interview with Kurt Student, the commander of the German airborne troops. Unfortunately this fragment is not very well audible. The audio collection is accessible through a computerized searching system, which can also be consulted through the website.

Since only still a small part of the collection has been digitalized (at this moment there are some 800 cd’s in the reading room Moving Image and Sound available), in most cases it is necessary to make an appointment when you want to listen to the audio documents.


The years 1940 – 1945 were of great significance to Rotterdam. The city changed drastically and many inhabitants went through a period of great uncertainty. Rotterdam was deeply afflicted by violence, poverty and famine. Much of this can be traced in the archives and collections of the Rotterdam City Archives. Many sources have been described in 1990 in the Gids Tweede Wereldoorlog (Guide World War II). This guide can be found in the reading room of The Archives.

The Rotterdam City Archives has a Collection Second World War. This comprises amongst others accounts of personal experiences of Rotterdam citizens, brochures, paper clippings, magazines, films, photos, posters, but also information from political movements, unions and churches. Besides that there are many relevant archives. You can consult the online survey of archives or choose from the various possibilities:

  • A.A.Verhey ( Council Board)
  • A.B. de Zeeuw, alderman
  • Consulting Agency Financing Construction (AFO)
  • Consulting Agency City Plan Rotterdam (ASRO)
  • Cemetaries Crooswijk, Hoek van Holland and Kralingen
  • C.Pronk, examiner Evacuation Bureau
  • Central Evacuation Bureau
  • Board Commemoration 4th May Rotterdam Left side Riverbank
  • Board Aid to battered Christian Boarding Schools
  • Department Protection Population, A-Circle (Rotterdam-Schiedam-Vlaardingen), later on district southern Netherlands Centre
  • Council Offices Rotterdam Housing Department
  • Engineer S. van Ravesteyn , architect
  • Dutch Association for Airspace Defence, Rotterdam department
  • Municipal Police Rotterdam
  • Foundation Frits Rudolf Ruys Fund

Newspapers and books

Photo: Book ‘Rotterdam in the Second World War’.Author: J.L. van der Pauw. Publication: Boom Publishers in cooperation with The Rotterdam City Archive. Price: 49,50 euros, 956 pages. ISBN: 908 506 1601

The municipality of Rotterdam commissioned historian J.L. van der Pauw (Rotterdam 1955) to write a book about Rotterdam in the Second World War. Van der Pauw spent five years of research on the conditions of the city during the years 1940 – 1945. The result, Rotterdam in the Second World War, offers an open-minded view of an already well-known historical image. No other city in The Netherlands has felt so strongly the consequences of The Second World War as Rotterdam did. Rotterdam in the Second World War is the history of a war-stricken port and its population, but no less is the attention paid to the National Socialistic City Council.

Here you can download a lecture (in Dutch) on this subject.

During the German bombardment of 14th May 1940 the building of the newspaper Rotterdamsch Nieuwsblad on the Schiekade was completely destroyed. Yet, during the war years to come the newspaper kept on being published with the exception of the period September 1944 until April 1945. In 1991 the Rotterdams Nieuwsblad merged with Het Vrije Volk into a new paper, Rotterdams Dagblad.

On the website you can search in all editions of the Rotterdamsch Nieuwsblad from the period 1940 – 1946. Click here to go to the website of the Rotterdamsch Nieuwsblad. Given the poor quality of the paper and the sometimes limited use of ink not all pages are in good condition.

In the Online catalogue of the ‘paper-index’ on the website of the Rotterdam City Archives you can search for articles about Rotterdam and surroundings from Rotterdam dailies and weeklies (From July 1993) and possibly order them. Rotterdam dailies and weeklies are being documented on the news from Rotterdam on a daily basis. From 1947 until July 1993 the papers have been indexed on filing-cards. These can be consulted in the reading room of the Rotterdam City Archives.


The Rotterdam City Archives has a library at its disposal with over 90.000 titles among which many books about The Second World War. All publications which have been included in the Archives’ Library can be found through a card catalogue in the reading room or in the digital catalogue. You can request and study books, publications and magazines in the reading room of the Rotterdam City Archives.