Photographs: overview

Auswahl historischer Fotografien
Selection of historical photos from the PDD of the NL
© NL

The Prints and Drawings Department of the National Library holds an extensive collection of photographs of Switzerland documenting the nation’s cultural heritage in pictorial form.

Content and scope

  • Photographic works and documents with a link to Switzerland, from the earliest days of photography to the present day
  • Artistic, documentary, applied and private photography
  • Analogue photographs, paper prints, negatives, glass negatives, daguerreotypes, agency photographs
  • Author photographs and photographers’ archives that fall within the collection remit

Collection principles

  • Photographs are collected as a complement to prints, documenting the visual memory of past and present.
  • Focus on photographs of places and landscapes, portrait photography

Research and access

  • Many of the photographs are available in the HelveticArchives database.
  • Some photo collections can be found on Wikimedia Commons.
  • Original photographs can be viewed on site. Please contact us to arrange an appointment.

Last modification 03.06.2019

Top of page


Swiss National Library
Prints and Drawings Department
Hallwylstrasse 15
3003 Bern
Phone +41 58 462 89 71

Print contact

Opening hours

by appointment