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In 1984, the college of aldermen decided to bring all of Luxembourg City's various photographic collections together into one place, resulting in the creation of the Photothèque (Photographic Archive). Its purpose is to document Luxembourg City's evolution through its various phases of urban development, and to provide public access to its documents, subject to certain rules.
It is consulted by journalists, publishers, architects, collectors, teachers, students, museums, etc., and is always looking to supplement its existing collections (old photographs, postcards, etc.) through new acquisitions (subject to conditions agreed upon on a case-by-case basis).
The photographic archive's collections now contain approximately 6,000,000 photos taken between 1855 and the present day. They have been built over the years through donations, bequests, acquisitions of collections and reports commissioned by the City.
In 2011, electronic archives were established. Since that time, a million photos have been scanned. Every image recorded also displays the year the picture was taken, and the indexing system provides a more detailed description of the location or context in which it was taken, as well as of the work itself. It also provides information about the photographer and their origins and, lastly, details about the negative and applicable copyright.
Particular care is taken over the optimal conservation of our documents. For example, negatives are archived separately from paper documents in a climate-controlled room, ensuring the long-term preservation of this fragile material.
Albums may be consulted on site for free, for various kinds of research. However, visitors must pay if they want copies of the images.