Royal Stearine Candle Factory in Gouda (1918)



Documentary film showing production processes in the Royal Candle Factory in Gouda in the Netherlands (


Throughout the war, direct film propaganda showing military might and splendour became increasingly less successful among neutral and belligerent cinema audiences alike. Official war documentaries, intended to follow the success of The Battle of the Somme, proved less and less attractive for domestic and foreign audiences as war weariness increased. Government sponsored filmmakers in belligerent and neutral countries searched for new approaches to persuade their specific audiences. Indirect propaganda included features, more or less related to the subject of war, travelogues, and nature and industry films. Industrial films, educational films, and travelogues were an essential part of war propaganda. They also by-passed censorship restrictions in neutral countries. By showing the production capacity of their factories, belligerent nations were in fact demonstrating their ability to continue the war. Industrial films were very popular with the Dutch. They also proved a good method of highlighting the strength and independence of the Dutch economy. In his films, Willy Mullens, the most important propaganda maker in Dutch wartime cinema who was commissioned by the government, aimed to show the strength and stability of local industries. He made several documentaries illustrating the production processes in different parts of the Dutch economy, delivering a message of a stable and sustainable economy that could flourish in spite of trade restrictions from belligerent nations and the shortcomings of war.