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Film Studies: National Cinemas

This guide highlights selected resources for various national cinemas.

Introduction to cinema in Belgium, Luxembourg & The Netherlands

This page highlights film resources for the Benelux countries of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.Map of the Benelux countries (2009)




[Source of map: "Benelux" from Wikipedia, 05/28/2021, (Shaund)]



Belgium’s first screening of moving images took place at a Lumière Cinématographe show in Brussels on 10 November 1895; and from around 1903 films were exhibited in fairgrounds and music halls run by French or Dutch entrepreneurs, who also shot most of the country’s early actualities. Among the first domestically made fiction films were Le moulin maudit/The Accursed Mill (1909) and Maudite soit la guerre/A Curse on War (1914), both by Frenchman Alfred Machin, who made numerous films in French for international distribution at the Pathé studios near Ghent. The first Flemish film to be made in bicultural Belgium was De Storm in het Leven/Stormy Life (Karel van Rijn, 1920). Most films seen by Belgian audiences in these years, however, were imports from France or the US. German occupation during World War I essentially put paid to domestic production, and after the war the market was almost completely dominated by US films, which by 1930 accounted for 70 per cent of films screened in Belgium. Belgium’s first sound-on-film feature was Le plus joli rêve/The Sweetest Dream (Gaston Schoukens, 1931); but the coming of sound further split Belgian cinema culture along linguistic lines, with the more exportable French-language films dominating local production even more than previously.  ...

Kuhn, A., & Westwell, G. (2020). Belgium, film in. In A Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 28 May. 2021

The Netherlands

Moving images were first seen in the Netherlands at an exhibition of the Lumière Cinématographe in Amsterdam on 12 March 1896; and from 1901 the showmen brothers Albert and Willy Mullens shot short actualities of local subjects. Because Dutch cinemas have relied largely on foreign imports, the Netherlands has not had a strong production sector, though the blockade on the import of films during World War I is said to have boosted domestic film production during the war years. At the same time, the country boasts a long-standing independent cinema culture: the founding in 1927 of one of the world’s first film societies established a tradition of independent film criticism, while the Dutch documentary school of the 1930s and beyond is regarded as the country’s major contribution to international cinema: the work of Joris Ivens (Regen/Rain, 1929) and Bert Haanstra (whose short documentary Glas/Glass (1958) won the first-ever Academy Award for a film made in the Low Countries) is particularly prominent. The Netherlands is also renowned for children’s films, which sell well for television internationally.  ...

Kuhn, A., & Westwell, G. (2020). Netherlands, film in the. In A Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 28 May. 2021

Searching the online catalog

You can use the subject heading below to find resources in the online catalog. The call number range is also included.

Introductory reading(s)

Selected book title(s)

Finding scholarly articles & journal title(s)

Articles and other writings about films from Belgium, Luxembourg or The Netherlands can be found in many publications. You can use Film & Television Literature Index to find articles or use the search box at the top of the page.

Selected movie titles

Find more Benelux films in the library's collections.