War News



Newspaper advert for a cinema screening in Amsterdam in 1915. The film programme usually consisted of three different features, ideally each from a different country (preferably neutral). An essential part of the programme was a news feature called 'Oorlogsjournaal' (War news).


Maintaining a strict policy of neutrality placed severe constraints on Dutch cinema managers. When screening war news from belligerent countries, several rules had to be adhered to, namely that ideally all sides of the conflict should be represented and the material should be objective and free from propaganda. Newsreels screened in Dutch cinemas as 'Oorlogsjournaal' (War journal) or 'Laatste Bioscoop Wereldberichten' (Latest cinema World News) were compilations of material available. Such footage screened in Dutch cinemas provided a unique view of war, one that was mediated by a need to maintain neutrality and impartiality. Due to a shortage of film material, cinema directors were often forced to use older, previously screened pieces. Political tensions often forced radical omissions or even prevented the showing of material that contained high ranking politicians from belligerent countries.