The Max van Berchem image collection

Born in Geneva in 1863, Max van Berchem was an Orientalist, specialist in Islamic archaeology and photographer. He travelled to Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Turkey to carry out research. In parallel with his work in the Orient, he photographed many buildings of art-historical importance in Switzerland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The photographs, notes, descriptions and correspondence from van Berchem’s journeys and work in the Orient make up the Max van Berchem Archives, which are held by the Max van Berchem Foundation and the Library of Geneva. The series of photographs of Swiss buildings was transferred to the Federal Archives of Historic Monuments in 1921 following van Berchem’s death. Good quality, high-resolution digital versions of the images are available on Wikimedia Commons.