Views of places

The NL collects photographs of places and landscapes from the 19th to the 21st centuries.
© NL, Simon Schmid

The Prints and Drawings Department of the Swiss National Library houses an extensive collection of photographs of places and landscapes in Switzerland and adjoining regions from the early days of photography in 1848 to the present day.

Content and scope

  • 19th and first half of the 20th century: a small number of valuable daguerreotypes that are among the earliest records of the development of photography, as well as stereo photographs (c. 1870–c. 1930)
  • 1950s to 1980s: with the rise of reportage photography, increasing numbers of press photos with accompanying news reports, e.g. from Photoglob Wehrli
  • Since the late 1980s and early 1990s: purchases of sets of works by famous contemporary photographers
  • Works by named photographers from well-known photo agencies and practitioners such as Adolphe Braun, Giorgio Sommer, Charnaux Frères, Marco Schibig, Christian Rijs Ruggaber, Gian Paolo Minelli, Dominique Uldry, Michael Blaser
  • Special archives and estates, such as those of Hermann Guggenheim, Walter Feitknecht and Anne-Marie Gugelmann; archives focusing on photography of urban development in Switzerland, e.g. the Archiv des Ortes, specifically targeting gaps in the photo collection since the 1950s
  • Since 2007, the photographic archives of the Federal Archives of Historic Monuments have provided the perfect complement to the collection of photographs of places.

Collection principles

  • Artistic and documentary photographs of places and landscapes in Switzerland, some reportage and private photography
  • Series on places and landscapes in all four language regions of Switzerland, documenting urban development over recent years

Research and access

  • Some of the photographs of places and landscapes are available in the HelveticArchives database.
  • Original photographs can be viewed on site. Please contact us to arrange an appointment.

Last modification 04.12.2019

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

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by appointment