The Verkade albums: A success for Verkade and for Dutch nature

Published on
August 30, 2022

In the beginning of the 20th century, biscuit manufacturer Verkade created albums on different aspects of Dutch nature. Collecting the small pictures for the albums became very popular among Dutch households. A selection of beautiful Verkade albums from the Special Collections is now on display in Forum Library.

Verkade albums on display

The Special Collections of the WUR library holds several Verkade picture albums. The most interesting are exhibited in two displays on the 4th floor of the Forum Library. The albums focus on the natural environment and landscape of the Netherlands, with a continuous, illustrated story in each book.

The first display exhibits a selection of albums on agricultural history, botany, and experiencing nature.
The second display shows albums about areas with which the Special Collections employees have a special connection from where they were born to favourite hiking spots to Dutch holiday destinations.

The Verkade albums: A household name in the 20th century

Verkade picture albums can be regarded as the most successful Dutch advertising campaign of the 20th century. In 1903, Verkade, the bread, cake, and rusk manufacturer from Zaandam, started to publish pictures that could be pasted into specially-made albums. Soon, a large part of the Netherlands was captivated by the pictures; collecting and exchanging these pictures became a national hobby.

Who created the albums?

Artists, such as Jan Voerman and Sam van Beek, were enlisted to paint the pictures and renowned naturalists, such as Jac. P. Thijsse and Frits Portielje wrote the texts.

Album Bloemen en haar vrienden, p. 30.
Album Bloemen en haar vrienden, p. 30.

A marketing success for Verkade and for Dutch nature

In total, manufacturer Verkade created 35 different albums:

  • 15 during the period up to the end of the First World War,
  • 15 during the interwar period,
  • 5 between 1965 and 1995.

Some of the albums were so successful that they were even reprinted as facsimiles.

The albums stimulated the sale of Verkade biscuits and rusk bread. Yet, the Verkade albums were not just a publicity stunt. Jac. P. Thijsse was responsible for 20 of the 35 albums. With his inspiring texts he was playfully spreading knowledge of and love for nature and the Dutch landscape.


You’re most welcome to view the Verkade albums on the 4th floor in Forum Library. The exhibition runs through the end of December 2022. Check here the Summer opening hours of Forum Library. As of 5 September, Forum Library will resume its regular opening hours: Monday - Friday, 8 am - 10 pm and Saturday and Sunday, 10 am - 6 pm.

Address: Forum Library, Wageningen University & Research. Building 102. Droevendaalsesteeg 2, 6708 PB, Wageningen.