DeHerder_web.jpgDirk De Herder

In the world of photography, Dirk De Herder was known as «the poet»; not only for his images,  which are invariably infused with a poetic atmosphere, but also for his talent for making one dream out of almost nothing. His images, of a great simplicity, captivate. His humanistic vision brings to mind Boubat, Brassai, Kertesz, and Ronis. As a young man, his ambition was to become a painter, but the need to earn a living pushed him towards photography. A close friend of painters from the artistic movement CoBrA, he portrayed them in photographs. He worked mainly in black and white, except for a period of ten years or so when, in order to make ends meet, he produced colour portraits for radio and television. Over his lifetime, he published a dozen or so books. From 1979 on, he spent much of his time in his residence in Roussines (Charente), all the while remaining very active. He is represented in the collections  of the Nederlandsfotomuseum in Rotterdam.


  • 1914 Born in Rotterdam, December 10.
  • Has desire to dedicate himself to painting. His father insists that he learn a profession.
  • 1930's Apprentice with several photo labs. While working for the theatre photographer Kurt F. Kahle, comes to realises the artistic potential of photography.
  • 1935 Opens own photographic studio in Beverwijk.
  • 1939 Marries Marretje Messie. Lives in Amstelveen.
  • 1939-45 Earns living making portraits and identity photos.
  • 1945-47 Stays in Paris. Meets Brassai. Exchanges first book Amsterdam for the celebrated book by Brassai, Paris de Nuit.
  • 1950-52 Lives in Stockholm.
  • 1954-64 Works for VARA, the Dutch radio and television company.
  • 1964 Founds a film production company.
  • 1964-68 Makes a dozen short television films. 
  • 1968 Works in advertising, a field which does not suit him. Suffers from health problems. Continues to work independently, producing books, constructions based on found objects, and sculptures.
  • 1969 Moves to De Rijp in North Holland.
  • 1978 Moves to The Hague.
  • 1979-2000 Splits artistic activities between The Hague, Antwerp, and his farm in Roussines, Charente. Creates own photo museum in Zijderveld. Produces four new books.
  • 1980-87 Photographs the dilapidated state of the old quarter of The Hague, a project resulting in an exhibition with political overtones.
  • Travels along the coast of Europe from the Northern tip of Norway  to the South of Portugal.
  • 1989 Trips to Venice, New York, and Paris.
  • 1999 Marries Louky van de Brink (with whom he had already been living for a long time). 
  • 2003 Dies in The Hague.
  • Amsterdam: Allert de Lange, Amsterdam, 1947 (Dutch)
  • Het paleis op de Dam: Allert de Lange, Amsterdam, 1953 (Dutch)
  • Gamla Stan (The Old Town of Stockholm): Stockholm, 1959 (Dutch)
  • Van Gogh achterna (In the Steps of van Gogh): Het Spectrum, 1975 (Dutch)
  • Leeghwater, idealist en molenmaker: Edecea, Hoorn, 1975 (Dutch)
  • Luis Filcer (painter): van Spijk, Venlo, 1979 (Dutch)
  • Fon Clement (painter): van Spijk, Venlo, 1980 (Dutch)
  • Never travel without a suit-case full of dreams: Thomas Rap, 1983 (English, Esperanto)
  • Herder: Her en Der (Herder: here and there): van Spijk, Venlo, 1984 (Dutch)
  • Boom en blad: European Art Union, La Haye, 1999 (Dutch)
  • Flashback: Walburg Pers, 2001 (Dutch)


  • 1946 Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam
  • 1975 Van Goghmuseum, Amsterdam
  • 1976 Rijksmuseum voor Westerse Kunst, Tokyo
  • 1985 Gemeentearchief, Amsterdam
  • 1992 Amsterdams Historisch Museum, Amsterdam
  • 1993 Musée de la Photographie, Bièvre