Rhenish Photographic Archive
The Rheinisches Bildarchiv collects photographs on the history of art, architecture, culture and photography in Cologne. Founded in 1925 it is now part of the "Museen der Stadt Köln" and open to the general public. It is dedicated to the photographic documentation of Cologne's topography and urban development, the inventories of the city's museums, public and religious buildings, and the integration of the estates of photographers from Cologne. In addition, the archive owns numerous historical photographs of towns and villages in the Rhineland which it acquired through its past activities.
Current prints are made by the photographic workshop of the archive. Acquisitions and donations over the last few years have enabled the archive to add to its collection a large number of prints from the estates of some of the most outstanding Cologne photographers, such as August Sander, August Kreyenkamp, Karl Hugo, Hugo Schmölz, P. P. Fürst and Chargesheimer.
Unlike other archives, the Rheinisches Bildarchiv focusses on negatives. The collection today comprises roughly 500,000 black-and-white negatives in different techniques and formats, ranging from the historical glass plate to 35mm negatives. A specialist is in charge of the care and, where necessary, restoration of the negatives. In addition, there is a collection of around 20,000 large-scale colour slides mainly showing objects from the permanent collections or special exhibitions at museums in Cologne.
The archive is open to the general public. Visitors can search for photographs using the "Marburger Index - Inventar zur Kunst in Deutschland", a systematic microfiche index in which 50% of the black-and-white photographs have been archived. The "Marburger Index" is in the reading room of the Museum für Angewandte Kunst (museum of applied arts) and can also be browsed on the Internet at www.bildindex.de . Staff at the reading room and archive will be happy to assist visitors with any queries they may have.
Prints of any photograph archived in the "Marburger Index" can be ordered from the Bildarchiv. You will find the inventory number of a photograph below its caption. Please note that the Bildarchiv can only make prints from inventory numbers with the initial "RBA" code. Please find an order form on our website under "ordering prints and general conditions of delivery". Transparencies can be borrowed for a maximum period of 3 months. Prints and scans of transparencies are available on request.
All black-and-white prints are available on glossy baryte paper in sizes from 13 x 18 cm (5" x 7") to 50 x 60 cm (19.5" x 23.5"). Please contact us if you require different sizes. We charge customers for any work undertaken on their behalf.
Any publication - in printed works, films, electronic media etc. - of the materials borrowed or bought requires the permission of the Rheinisches Bildarchiv. To obtain permission, please contact the archive stating the purpose of the publication. Please be sure to send a specimen copy of any publication to the postal address of the Rheinisches Bildarchiv.
To order please contact us on email@example.com
Tue to Fri 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
closed from Sat to Mon
rail service, local trains (S-Bahn): "Hauptbahnhof" (10 Min walk)
Am Dom / DuMont-Carré / Börsenplatz