"Accumulating an immense global mosaic of the life of as many inhabitants on this planet as possible—I have to admit that’s a pretty ambitious goal that we’ve set for ourselves and our collection.… Human beings are the focal point of the collection. What makes us human? What do people wish and hope for, what do they dream about? We are intrigued by the fact that, since 1839, there has been a medium capable of recording the history of humankind in meaningful and extremely concentrated images. Our store of photographs is useful to a wide variety of university disciplines, and it allows entirely different kinds of museums to collaborate." —Peter Herzog (Oral history, 07.07.2016, 24.11.2016)

The order that Ruth and Peter Herzog devised for their 'encyclopedia of life' (Martin Heller, 1989) does not reflect the classical canon of photography, but instead reveals their reservations regarding scientific classification and its attendant categorization. The Herzogs have bundled sections of their collection into 12 chapters, based on subject matter or geography. The result is an alternative panorama of world history.

The 12 chapters have been retained in cataloging and organizing the holdings of the Kabinett. Thus, in the online collection, the chapters are listed from A to L. Furthermore, the photographs and their location within the order established by Ruth and Peter Herzog are clearly identified by number. Each chapter is introduced by a short passage excerpted from conversations with Peter Herzog; this oral history, in progress since 2016, contributes substantially to the collection.


"Italy, the Vatican, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, all that belonged to the repertoire of educational journeys through Europe. And biblical history, too, when people traveled on to Palestine or Bethlehem. The exotic appeal of foreign cultures had a lot to do with it. Being able to take educational trips like that also meant that you belonged to the social elite. Tourists bought photographs in those days as souvenirs and also to prove they had been on those trips." —Peter Herzog (Oral history, 16.02.2007)

View Chapter
America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands

"There has always been globalization in terms of photography. It’s not a new development. Large-scale trading always meant global trade, and long before the word ‘globalization’ was introduced. Swiss merchants also traveled to Asia and Africa. They established an international trade network, using raw materials and cheap labor and driven by the fascination and pioneering spirit of opening up new continents, and, of course, by the prospect of phenomenal gains." —Peter Herzog (Oral history, 24.11.2016)

View Chapter

"Italy was the destination in those days and that’s reflected in our collection.… We organized an exhibition [360°, 39 Pictures of the Arch of Constantine 1849–1910, 2002] at the Istituto Svizzero in Rome with Dieter Bachmann, who was the director at the time. The pictures of the Arch of Constantine that we selected from our collection all look the same at first. But far from it. Each photograph is different: different photographer, different exposure time, different technique, different angle, different background." —Peter Herzog (Oral history, 24.11.2016)

View Chapter
Africa, Asia Minor, Southern Europe

"One of the questions we asked ourselves while collecting was: How and when did people start acting as if the world was there to be conquered? And how did they do it? Traveling to China or Africa in the 19th century was equivalent to the idea of going to Mars today.… It’s fascinating to see how fast the world pictured in the historical photo albums is disappearing." —Peter Herzog (Oral history, 07.06.2016, 24.11.2016)

View Chapter
France, England, Benelux, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe

"I spent a lot of time in three countries in particular—Italy, France, and England. I’ve traveled around in them quite a bit and I still enjoy being there.… Actually, London more so than Paris. I feel more at home with the British mentality. How did people live in Germany, Italy, England, or Switzerland? How do people live in general? Photographs can give us clues." —Peter Herzog (Oral history, 24.11.2016)

View Chapter
Germany, Austria, Switzerland

"The first photographs that show Swiss motifs were taken by people from abroad, from France, England, and elsewhere, who traveled through Switzerland. At first, the Swiss … couldn’t understand how visitors could be so excited about the mountains, how they could romanticize everything—the so-called alpenglow, the glacial lakes. All they saw were the sparse Alpine pastures. The cliché of Switzerland, as we know it today, was invented by those first tourists; it’s an incredibly selective, rose-colored view of reality. A lot of people in Switzerland actually still cultivate that image." —Peter Herzog (Oral history, 09.07.2018)

View Chapter
Art, Architecture, Theater, Documentation

"Members of the bourgeoisie weren’t the only ones who bought photographs and reproductions of artworks as souvenirs of their journeys. Scholars did too. It was a source of inspiration to be able to see something in photographs that they couldn’t see in person.… A lot of people, like art historians, used it to jog their memories, for instance, when they gave lectures. A famous example in Basel of somebody who collected photography and used it in his lectures was the Swiss historian of art and culture Jakob Burckhardt." —Peter Herzog (Oral history, 26.02.2017)

View Chapter
Industry, Transportation, Military, Work, Sport, Leisure, Construction

"The consequences of war are important, what wars mean for the civilian population, the misery they cause. This is exemplified in various albums, for instance, those about the First or Second World War. Why war here?" —Peter Herzog (Oral history, 07.06.2016)

View Chapter

"One of the things that makes collecting photography so interesting is that there are still countless undiscovered stashes of photographs or bodies of work." —Peter Herzog (Fotogeschichte no.145, 2017)

"Photographs are always about history and storytelling. That means that a specific oeuvre consists not only of records and aesthetic highlights, but also of marginalia, for example, a photographer’s diary." —Peter Herzog (Oral history, 24.11.2016)

View Chapter
Personal Selection Ruth and Peter Herzog

"We bought our 'first' photograph at the Bürkliplatz, where there’s an open-air flea market every Saturday. It was the first Saturday in May 1974, around nine or ten o’clock in the morning. Our background knowledge doesn’t come from books. We were lucky in that we were able to see a lot of collections, to meet people and acquire pictures that you can’t find in Switzerland.… We knew people like Helmut Gernsheim, who wrote classic reference works. They were committed collectors, with an extraordinary store of knowledge in the field of photography, and they knew how to pass it on to others." —Peter Herzog (Oral history, 24.11.2016, 16.02.2017)

View Chapter
Portraits, Family Albums

"Only after studying thousands of family albums, thousands of pictures, did we realize how very important they are. You can’t really acquire insight if you just look at the work of the big names in the field or leaf through a few photo albums.… A lot of albums start by introducing the main protagonists, the family members, and those closest to them. That’s followed, like a film, by memorable ‘events’: from the cradle to the grave, everything that’s part of a human life." —Peter Herzog (Oral history, 24.11.2016, 09.07.2018)

View Chapter
Nature, Animals, Plants

"Given the complexity of the world, we keep asking ourselves: how can photography capture it? It is important for scientists to be able to study changes, sometimes even microscopic ones, for example, in a series of photographs of plants." —Peter Herzog (Oral history, 24.11.2016)

View Chapter

Happy Accident—The serendipity that originally sparked this collection of historical photography also prevails on viewing these vast holdings. Read more

Users of the Fotosammlung Online should familiarize themselves with the conditions presented below:

Every reasonable attempt has been made to identify the authors and owners of any proprietary material. Please contact info@fotosammlung.notexisting@nodomain.comcom if you would like to provide us with additional information.

Some of the items in the Fotosammlung Online may be sensitive and may or may not be the opinions, ideas, or beliefs of the people who collected the materials or their informants. The Kabinett does not endorse the information in the collection, likewise, the materials contained in the collections do not represent the opinions of the Kabinett.

While the collection contains materials that may be considered prejudiced, stereotyped or offensive, or depict graphic, violent, or sexual content, it should be remembered that these photographs are an important resource in the study of contemporary and past cultures. We take our responsibilities with such material seriously.

General terms and conditions of the Jacques Herzog und Pierre de Meuron Kabinett, Basel (Foundation)

1. Applicability

1.1 The general terms and conditions apply in the respective version valid at the time of concluding the contract, for all business relationships between the Jacques Herzog und Pierre de Meuron Kabinett, Basel (Foundation), (hereinafter referred to as “Kabinett”), and customers of the online shop.

1.2 The customer explicitly agrees to these general terms and conditions by placing an order or by downloading from the website.

1.3 Conditions of the customer that are contrary to or different from these terms and conditions will not be accepted, unless, the Kabinett explicitly approves them in writing in individual cases.

2. Registration

2.1 After successfully completing the registration procedure as a registered customer or after registering as a guest user, the customer is permitted in the online shop.

2.2 The Kabinett can revoke this permission at any time. If permission is revoked, the Kabinett is entitled to immediately block and delete the user name and the corresponding password.

3. Contract Conclusion

3.1 The presentation of products in our online shop does not constitute a legally binding offer to enter into a purchase agreement, rather, it is a non-binding online catalogue.

3.2 A contract is concluded when the Kabinett, by means of its e-mail order confirmation, accepts the contractual offer made through the customers’ order. The order confirmation contains the main content of the order. The customer must check the order confirmation for obvious spelling mistakes and calculation errors, and for any discrepancies between the order and the confirmation. Discrepancies must be notified to the Kabinett immediately.

4. Prices

4.1 The prices may fluctuate. The applicable price specified by the Kabinett when the order is placed by the customer is effective.

5. Delivery, Shipping Costs

5.1 The Kabinett will immediately deliver the ordered products or copies of the works and downloads to the address specified by the customer in the order. The Kabinett is entitled to make partial deliveries and provide partial services at any time, insofar as the customer finds it reasonable. If partial deliveries are made by the Kabinett, then the Kabinett will cover the additional shipping costs.

5.2 The delivery is made according to shipping costs specified individually for each order. These shipping costs must be paid by the customer in addition to the product price.

5.3 Delivery dates or deadlines conveyed by the online shop are non-binding.

5.4 Deliveries will only be made to end customers. The Kabinett reserves the right to limit the quantity.

6. Due Date and Payment Terms, Delay

6.1 The purchase price and the shipping costs are due for payment upon conclusion of the contract.

6.2 The Kabinett accepts payments through the following credit cards via Stripe: Visa, Mastercard, and American Express

6.3 The currency used in the contract and invoices is the Swiss franc (CHF).

6.4 Payments can be made through vouchers or periodic invoices only if a corresponding agreement is concluded.

7. Retention of Title

7.1 Until all payments owed from the contract are received, the delivered products or copies of the works and downloads will remain the property of the Kabinett. In case of any default in payment, the Kabinett is entitled to withdraw from the contract and to demand the products or copies of the works and downloads to be returned.

7.2 In the event that a supplier, despite a contractual obligation, does not deliver the ordered products or copies of the works and downloads, and the Kabinett, through no fault of its own, is permanently unable to deliver it, then the Kabinett is entitled to withdraw from the contract. The Kabinett will immediately inform the customer if a service cannot be provided and refund any payments made by the customer.

8. Customs Duties, VAT

8.1 Import duties may be charged for goods imported to countries outside Switzerland; the customer shall pay these duties. Import duties vary between customs territories. The customer is responsible for properly declaring the import products and for paying the due customs duties and fees. Import duties are not shipping costs.

8.2 The indicated price includes the applicable statutory value added tax for deliveries within Switzerland. For exports to other countries, the indicated price is the net price exclusive of the value added tax.

9. Right of Withdrawal for Online Purchase of Goods or Copies of Works and Downloads.

9.1 The customer has the right to withdraw from the purchase agreement in writing, within 14 days of the product or copies of works and downloads being received by the intended recipient, without stating any reasons, via any other permanent data medium, via email, or by returning the goods or copies of works and downloads.

9.2 To comply with the deadline for exercising the right of withdrawal, it is sufficient to send the declaration of withdrawal in time to:

The Jacques Herzog und Pierre de Meuron Kabinett, Basel (Foundation)
c/o Herzog & de Meuron JP AG
Rheinschanze 6
4056 Basel

9.3 The right of withdrawal does not apply to contracts for

a) the delivery of products or copies of works and downloads, which by their nature are not suitable for return (e.g. e-books, downloads etc.);

b) for delivery of newspapers, magazines, pictorials, yearbooks, and calendars;

c) for the delivery of DVDs, CDs, e-book readers, videos, music cassettes and software, unless they are returned unused, shrink-wrapped or sealed in the original package;

d) the delivery of products or copies of works and downloads, that are made according to the specifications of the customer, and goods or copies of works and downloads specially purchased overseas for the customer , that are labelled as such in the detailed view.

9.4 If the customer returns an order from a purchase agreement, from which the customer cannot withdraw, then the customer will pay the costs for re-sending the order to him.

10. Data Protection

10.1 The data required for transaction processing is saved in Switzerland in strict compliance with the applicable legal provisions, and will only be disclosed to other companies for the purpose of processing the order. All personal data will be handled with strict confidentiality. The Kabinett is entitled to share personal data with a company affiliated with the Kabinett, in the context of data exchange, for assessing the creditworthiness and solvency.

10.2 If the transaction is processed using credit cards, then customers’ data is not saved. The transaction is processed via Stripe.com (Stripe, 510 Townsend Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 - https://stripe.com/en-ch/ssa); data is saved by this financial company only for one-time use and subsequently deleted. The Kabinett does not receive this transaction data.

11. Rights of Use (Incl. Downloads)

11.1 All products or downloads that are offered are only intended for private use and not for commercial purposes. Any other use constitutes a violation of the copyright of © Sammlung Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron Kabinett, Basel (foundation). Making copies for the purpose of sale, commercial lending, public broadcasting, or transfer or assignment to third parties is not allowed.

11.2 The customer commits not to reproduce and/or distribute downloads of photographic works, that are not yet in the public domain, in any form whatsoever.

(Basel, 14.07.2020)

1. Data Protection at a Glance

General Information

The following notes provide a simple overview of what happens to your personal data when you visit this website. Personal data is all data, using which you can be personally identified. Detailed information on the subject of data protection can be found in our privacy policy stated below this text.

Data Collection on this Website

Who is responsible for the data collection on this website?

The data processing on this website is undertaken by the website operator. Its contact details can be found in the imprint of this website.

How do we collect your data?

On the one hand, your data is collected when you provide it to us. This can, for example, be data that you enter into a contact form.

Other data is collected by our IT systems when you visit the website either automatically or after you give your consent. This is mainly technical data (e.g. Internet browser, operating system or time of the page access). This data is collected automatically as soon as you enter this website.

What do we use your data for?

A part of the data is collected in order to ensure error-free provision of the website. Other data can be used to analyse your user behaviour.

Which rights do you have in relation to your data?

You have the right to receive free-of-charge information about the origin, recipient and purpose of your stored personal data at any time. You also have the right to demand correction or deletion of this data. If you have given your consent to the data processing, you can any time revoke this consent for the future.  You also have the right, under certain circumstances, to demand restriction of the processing of your personal data. Furthermore, you have the right of appeal to the competent supervisory authority.

For this and other questions on the subject of data protection, you can contact us any time at the address given in the imprint.

Analysis tools and third-party tools

When you visit a website, your surfing behaviour can be statistically evaluated. This is done mainly with so-called analysis programmes.The Fotosammlung Online currently does not use analysis tools or third-party tools.

Detailed information on these analysis programmes can be found in the following privacy policy.

2. Hosting

External Hosting

This website is hosted by an external service provider (hoster). The personal data collected on this website is stored on the hoster’s servers. This data may be mainly IP addresses, contact requests, meta and communication data, contract data, contact details, names, website accesses and other data generated by a website.

The use of the hoster is for the purpose of fulfilling a contract with our potential and existing customers (art. 6 para. 1 lit. b GDPR) and in the interest of a  safe, fast and efficient provision of our online offer through a professional provider (art. 6 para. 1 lit. f GDPR).

Our hoster will process your data only insofar as this is necessary to fulfil its performance obligations and will follow our instructions with regard to this data.

Conclusion of a Contract About Order Processing

In order to ensure data protection-compliant processing, we have made a contract about order processing with our host.

3. General Notes and Mandatory Information

Data Protection

The operators of these pages take the protection of your personal data very seriously. We handle your personal data confidentially and in accordance with the legal data protection regulations as well as this privacy policy.

When you use this website, different personal data is collected. Personal data is data, using which you can be personally identified. This privacy policy explains which data we collect and what we use it for. It also explains how this is done and for what purpose.

We would like to point out that data transmission in the Internet (e.g. when communicating through e-mails) can have safety loopholes. Complete protection of the data from a third-party access is not possible.

Note on the Responsible Authority

The responsible authority for the data processing on this website is

Jacques Herzog und Pierre de Meuron Kabinett, Basel

Rheinschanze 6

4056 Basel


Responsible authority is the natural or legal entity that, alone or jointly with others, determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data (e.g. names, e-mail addresses or similar).

Revocation of Your Consent to the Data Processing

Many data processing operations are only possible with your explicit consent. You can revoke a previously given consent at any time. The legality of the data processing carried out up to the time of revocation will remain unaffected by the revocation.

Right to Object to Data Collection in Special Cases and to Direct Advertising (art. 21 GDPR)



Right of Appeal to the Competent Supervisory Authority

In the event of violations of the GDPR, the parties concerned have a right of appeal to a supervisory authority, in particular in the Member State of their regular residence, place of work or the place where the alleged violation was committed. The right of appeal exists without prejudice to other administrative or judicial remedies.

Right to Data Transferability

You have the right to have the data, which we process automatically on the basis of your consent or in fulfilment of a contract, handed over to you or to a third party in a common, machine-readable format. If you demand the direct transfer of the data to another party responsible, this will take place only as far as it is technically feasible.

SSL or TLS Encryption

This site uses SSL or TLS encryption for security reasons and to protect the transmission of confidential content, such as orders or inquiries that you send to us as site operator.  You can recognise an encrypted connection by the fact that the address line of the browser changes from “http://” to “https://” and by the lock symbol in your browser line.

If SSL or TLS encryption is activated, the data that you transmit to us cannot be read by third parties.

Information, Deletion and Correction

Within the framework of the applicable legal regulations, you have the right to obtain free-of-charge information at any time about your stored personal data, its origin and recipients and the purpose of the data processing and, if applicable, a right to correction or deletion of this data. For this purpose and for other questions on the subject of personal data, you can contact us any time at the address given in the imprint.

Right to Restriction of the Processing of Your Personal Data

You have the right to demand restriction of the processing of your personal data. For this purpose, you can contact us any time at the address given in the imprint. The right to restriction of the processing exists in the following cases:

  • If you dispute the accuracy of your personal data stored with us, we usually need time to verify this. For the duration of the verification, you have the right to demand restriction of the processing of your personal data.
  • If the processing of your personal data was/is unlawful, you can demand restriction of the data processing instead of deletion.
  • If we no longer require your personal data, but you require it to exercise, defend or assert legal claims, you have the right to demand restriction of the processing of your personal data instead of its deletion.
  • If you have an raised an objection pursuant to art. 21 para. 1 GDPR, a balance must be struck between your interests and ours. As long as it is not yet clear as to whose interests outweigh, you have the right to demand restriction of the processing of your personal data.

If you have restricted the processing of your personal data, such data may be processed – apart from its storage – only with your consent or for the purpose of asserting, exercising or defending legal claims or protecting the rights of another natural or legal entity or on grounds of an important public interest of the European Union or a Member State.

4. Data collection on this website


Our web pages use so-called “Cookies”. Cookies are small text files that do not cause any damage to your end device. They are stored on your end device either temporarily for the duration of a session (session cookies) or permanently (permanent cookies). Session cookies are automatically deleted at the end of your visit. Permanent cookies remain stored on your end device until you delete them by yourself or an automatic deletion takes place through your web browser.

In some cases, cookies of third-party companies can also be stored on your end device when you enter our website (third-party cookies). These enable us and you to use certain services offered by the third-party company (e.g. cookies for the processing of payment services).

Cookies have different functions. Many cookies are technically essential, since certain website functions would not work without the cookies (e.g. the shopping cart function or the display of videos). Other cookies are used to evaluate user behaviour or to display advertisements.

Cookies that are required to carry out the electronic communication process (necessary cookies) or to provide certain functions that you want to use (functional cookies, e.g. for the shopping cart function) or to optimise the website (e.g. cookies to measure the web audience) are stored on the basis of art. 6 para. 1 lit. f GDPR, unless a different legal basis is specified. The website operator has a legitimate interest in the storage of cookies for the technically error-free and optimised provision of its services. If a consent has been requested for the storage of cookies, the cookies concerned are stored exclusively on the basis of this consent (art. 6 para. 1 lit. a GDPR); the consent can be revoked at any time.

You can set up your browser in such a manner that you will be notified when cookies are placed and to permit cookies only in individual cases, to exclude the acceptance of cookies for certain cases or in general and to activate automatic deletion of cookies when you close the browser. If cookies are deactivated, the functions of this website may be limited.

If third-party cookies are used or if cookies are used for analytical purposes, we will inform this to you separately within the scope this privacy policy and, if applicable, ask for your consent.

Server log files

The provider of the pages automatically collects and stores information in so-called server log files, which your browser automatically transmits to us. These are:

  • Browser type and browser version
  • Operating system used
  • Referrer URL
  • Host name of the accessing computer
  • Time of the server query
  • IP address

This data is not merged with other data sources.

This data is collected on the basis of art. 6 para. 1 lit. f GDPR. The website operator has a legitimate interest in the technically error-free presentation and optimisation of its website – the server log files must be collected for this purpose.

Contact form

When you send us inquiries via the contact form, your details from the inquiry form, including the contact data you provide there, will be stored with us for the purpose of processing the inquiry and for follow-up questions. We will not forward this data without your consent.

This data is processed on the basis of art. 6 para. 1 lit. b GDPR, insofar as your inquiry is associated with the fulfilment of a contract or is necessary for the execution of pre-contractual measures. In all other cases, the processing is based on our legitimate interest in the effective processing of the inquiries sent to us (art. 6 para. 1 lit. f GDPR) or on your consent (art. 6 para. 1 lit. a GDPR) provided that such a consent was requested.

The data you enter in the contact form remains with us until you request us to delete it, revoke your consent to its storage or the purpose of the data storage ceases to apply (e.g. after your inquiry has been processed completely). Mandatory statutory regulations – particularly retention periods – will remain unaffected.

Inquiry by e-mail

When you contact us by e-mail, your inquiry including all personal data (name, inquiry) resulting from it will be stored and processed by us for the purpose of processing your inquiry. We will not forward this data without your consent.

This data is processed on the basis of art. 6 para. 1 lit. b GDPR, insofar as your inquiry is associated with the fulfilment of a contract or is necessary for the execution of pre-contractual measures. In all other cases, the processing is based on our legitimate interest in the effective processing of the inquiries sent to us (art. 6 para. 1 lit. f GDPR) or on your consent (art. 6 para. 1 lit. a GDPR) provided that such a consent was requested.

The data sent to us by you via the contact inquiries remains with us until you request us to delete it, revoke your consent to its storage or the purpose of the data storage ceases to apply (e.g. after your issue has been processed completely). Mandatory statutory regulations – particularly statutory retention periods – will remain unaffected.