The Netherlands Institute for the Near East

Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten  -  Institut néerlandais du Proche-Orient

NINO Collection glass slides

NINO owns an interesting and old collection of hundreds of glass slides, formerly used for projection. They date mostly from the 1920’s to 1950’s. With additional funding by the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and the M.A.O.C. Gravin van Bylandt Stichting, NINO was able in 2017 to make the most important part available online.

Ktesiphon, voor den groten boog

The slides kept by NINO depict archaeological sites and excavated finds, as well as images of the surroundings of these places: the countries and its people nearer or closer to the main focus of interest, Near Eastern archaeology and history.

The ca. 1600 images selected for digitisation are divided here into 18 albums (loosely based on Böhl’s original categorisation from the 1930-1940’s; we have kept the name Palestine on his original categories).

The captions to the digitised images on this website are the texts found on the labels (see also below under Labels and captions). Where possible abbreviations have been expanded [between square brackets].

NINO Collectie 1035-021


NINO Collectie 1036-026


NINO Collectie 1040-042



NINO Collectie 1038-030


 NINO Collectie 1041-003


NINO Collectie 1044-022 



NINO Collectie 1048-057


NINO Collectie 1048-058


NINO Collectie 1049-021



 NINO Collectie 1053-057


 NINO Collectie 1055-035


NINO Collectie 1056-009 



NINO Collectie 1056-043 


NINO Collectie 1055-013 


NINO Collectie 1050-031 



NINO Collectie 1050-055


NINO Collectie 1060-032


NINO Collectie 1048-013


Origins and history of the collection

The majority of these images were taken by Leiden professor of Assyriology Franz de Liagre Böhl (1882-1976) during his field trips to the Near East and North Africa in the 1920’s and 1930’s as a scientist or academic tour leader. He visited Iraq and Iran on two major scientific journeys in 1932 and 1939.

Another large lot, partly using colour film, were taken by Professor Arie Kampman (1911-1977) during the 1930’s and early 1950’s. His main interest was Hittite Turkey and the Levant. Kampman was the driving force behind the inception of NINO, serving first as librarian/administrator (1939-1955) and later as director (1955-1974). He also founded the subsidiary institute in Istanbul and served as its director for several years.

Ca. 10 slides in the collection came from Leiden professor of Egyptology Adriaan de Buck (1892-1959). Böhl and De Buck were co-directors of NINO 1939-1955.

The collection also contains images that were photographed and sold by third parties: notably H. Lobers, Stoedtner Verlag (both in Berlin), Th. Benzinger (Stuttgart), and the American Colony Photographers in Jerusalem. They are labelled as such by these firms. For now, we have not given priority to scanning these images; we have included some but not all. Preliminary investigation into the American Colony photographs suggests our collection may hold a few images that have not been preserved in the Library of Congress (which holds the American Colony’s photographic collection).

Images produced from printed publications, which served an obvious purpose in lectures, have not been selected for digitisation. In some cases the distinction between slides made from book illustrations and slides bought from professional photographers is unclear.

Professor Böhl made extensive use of his glass slides collection during his lectures and talks for students and other audiences during his long career. Reports on many of his lectures, published in regional and national newspapers, can be found through Delpher. Dozens of manuscripts and typescripts of Böhl’s lectures and classes are present in the Böhl archives kept by NINO, often with references to accompanying “lantern slides”. Kampman, in addition to holding a professorship in Istanbul, Turkey, was also a history teacher in a secondary school in The Netherlands. He was a founding father of the Dutch Society ‘Ex Oriente Lux’ for those interested in Ancient Near Eastern history and archaeology. It is highly likely that he used the slides he made to illustrate his lectures and in the class room.

Physical description of the slides

Most glass slides measure about 82 by 82 mm and are about 3 mm thick; a small number is rectangular. They consist of two glass plates framing a piece of photographic film (positive) and kept together by a frame of glued-on, mostly black, paper. This is the regular way such slides were produced in the early 20th century. The bulk are black and white images. The glass plates appear to be all original. Close inspection reveals fine scratching on many of the slide glasses, perhaps caused by past cleaning or handling. Unfortunately we do not know exactly what photographical equipment was used producing the photographs.

The slides were originally kept in cardboard boxes. They have been put in acid-free archive boxes in 2014 and cleaned in 2017.

Labels and captions

Böhl assigned his slides inventory numbers consisting of category number plus slide number. We find the captioned categories on labels on the original cardboard boxes. The inventory numbers are written on a small paper roundel glued in an edge of the slide (Böhl’s handwriting is recognised from archival papers kept in NINO). In addition, most slides carry one or more rectangular labels.

The text of the descriptive paper labels glued near the edges of the slides is almost always handwritten by Böhl or Kampman and has been literally copied, including the variations in the transcription of ancient and modern place names. In some captions Böhl wrote that he shot the image himself, sometimes including a date. Böhl, being an Austrian of Dutch descent, sometimes wrote German captions.

In addition to the handwritten descriptive labels, many glass slides carry a combination of several printed labels with the following recurring texts:

These slides have been processed by this institution that provided series of glass slides for educational purposes. It seems that Böhl sold or exchanged his images with this Institute. Unfortunately it is unclear who developed or copied the photographic film and framed the slides. Preserved correspondence proves that some were done by Leiden shops.

These slides were intended for the Assyriological Workroom, founded in the 1930’s by Böhl in the NINO premises as the centre of Leiden University’s Assyriological education.

To facilitate returning the slides to the owner when used for reproduction in publications and/or for copyright issues, or when shown in lectures outside Leiden.

Other printed labels refer to photographic companies that produced the images, or that developed and/or framed images photographed by prof. Böhl or others.


Original images photographed by Prof. Böhl, Prof. Kampman, J.P.M. van der Ploeg, Johannes de Groot, and others were selected for digitisation, as well as a number of slides produced by photographic companies. The slides were cleaned prior to scanning. The texts on the handwritten and printed labels are reproduced on this website as image captions. They are in the original language and spelling, known abbreviations extended between square brackets. Images of specific locations – mainly archaeological sites and monuments in the Near East – were placed on Google Maps.

Catalogue of digitised slides (incl. thumbnails and report on digitisation) (pdf, ca. 11 MB).

Google Maps

Please note: each album page shows a map. For albums with closely related subjects and locations we have created a single map with several layers, corresponding to the albums. The layers of a map can be found under the icon in its upper left hand corner. To toggle the visibility of a layer, check or uncheck its checkbox.



Creative Commons License
These images are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, which means a.o. that they may be used for non-commercial purposes on the condition that The Netherlands Institute for the Near East, Leiden, is credited. If you wish to use a higher-resolution version of any of these images, please contact us.

Digitisation project team


Reconstructed lecture

A lecture given by Prof. F.M.Th. Böhl in 1920, and again in 1927 or later, has been reconstructed by Nico de Klerk of Utrecht University. He was able to combine the manuscript of the lecture, found in the NINO Archives, with the glass slides that were shown as illustrations.