Category:F. van der Kraaij Collection

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This category contains photographs of West and North Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, Togo, and Tunisia) over the years 1972-1987 by the Dutch economist Fred P. M. van der Kraaij donated to the African Studies Centre Leiden (ASC Leiden) and Wikimedia Commons in 2017. The collection includes a few thousand photographs. His related PhD thesis on the economy of Liberia is: Van der Kraaij, F.P.M. (1983). The open door policy of Liberia: an economic history of modern Liberia. Doctoral thesis, Tilburg University, Volume 1 and Volume 2 (Links to PDF full text)., Ubersee-Museum Bremen.

Introduction by the photo donor Fred P.M. van der Kraaij, 2022[edit]

More than 1400 photographs of 11 African countries[edit]

This category contains photographs of 11 countries in North and West Africa including Benin (known as Dahomey until 1975), Burkina Faso (known as Upper Volta until 1985), Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo in West Africa and Libya, Morocco and Tunisia in North Africa. The collection was donated to the African Studies Centre Leiden and Wikimedia Commons in 2017 by the Dutch economist Fred P. M. van der Kraaij (born 1946) and includes here more than 1400 photographs - originally taken as slides (‘diapositives’ in French), and scanned and converted by the ASC Leiden.



In 1972, Fred van der Kraaij embarked on a study trip in the drought-stricken Sahel which brought him to Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. His study focused on Roman Catholic missionaries as a catalyst of economic and social development in the four Sahelian countries. During his return trip to the Netherlands he traveled through Libya and Tunisia (1972). The following year he and his newlywed wife Eisjen Schaaf visited Morocco. In 1975, he signed a contract with the government of Liberia which employed him as a lecturer in economics at the University of Liberia in Monrovia. He combined teaching with research during his years in Liberia, 1975-1980, including one year in the eastern city of Harper, capital of Maryland County. For research purposes he traveled to every corner of the country, visiting rubber plantations and iron ore mines, interviewing managers and speaking to workers.


From 1980 till 1991 he lived and worked in the Western Sahel with his wife and three small children (Upper Volta / Burkina Faso, 1980-84; Mali, 1984-87; and Senegal, 1987-91). Employed by the Dutch government he worked as a program officer in a rural development project, co-financed by the World Bank and the government of the Netherlands (1980-84), traveling all over Upper Volta - as the country was called until 1985 - to monitor and evaluate micro-projects. In 1984 he moved to Ségou, in neighboring Mali, where he had been appointed advisor to the Director-General of the Office du Niger, a parastatal and the country’s most important rice producer. In late 1985 he switched to the Ministry of Planning in Bamako, Mali, advising on the identification, selection and planning of EU-funded projects, financed by the European Commission. Eighteen months later he moved with his family to Dakar, Senegal, where he worked at the Dutch Embassy, overseeing rural development projects in Senegal, Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania and Mali (1987-1991). From 1991 till his retirement in 2011 Fred van der Kraaij worked in The Hague, the Netherlands, as a Senior Evaluator of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ independent evaluation unit (IOB).

Photographic film[edit]

The photographs presented here were taken in the 1970-1990 period, hence preceding the digital era. In those days, a roll of film contained 36 images. To have a film developed was quite cumbersome in the West African countries where I lived. First of all, the film had to be sent to Europe, and it could easily take one month before the developed film returned (by mail!) and its contents could be seen. This is in sharp contrast with today’s handling of a digital camera which allows to take hundreds of images and to make within minutes a selection of the best.

Photographs as notes and historical records[edit]

In my opinion, taking pictures is equivalent to making notes. One could also say that the two actions are complementary – whereas the well-known adage which says that A picture is worth a thousand words is absolutely true. The fact that I did not take pictures as a tourist but as a person who was residing in the countries where I was photographing certainly was a great advantage. I was never considered an outsider and I could always shoot without any restraints, as is obvious when looking at my pictures of the ceremonial war dances in Half Graway, Liberia, in 1978 or the famous scene of the hanging of the Harper Seven, also in Liberia, in 1979.

As time has passed, some images have increased in value as I was recording history, e.g., when photographing the visit of US president Jimmy Carter to Liberia in 1978 and the 1980 visit of Pope John Paul II to Ouagadougou in what was then called Upper Volta, nowadays Burkina Faso. The importance of these images has even increased as these historic visits have left few or no traces on the nowadays so omnipresent and rich internet. Likewise, the civil wars in Liberia have destroyed many buildings in the capital Monrovia. All images presented here show the pre-war situation. It is worth mentioning that among the photographs shown there are rare images like, e.g., the photo of an important, historic monument erected for Liberian President William Tubman in the early 1950s which stood on the premises of the University of Liberia in Monrovia but which, unfortunately, got lost during the back-to-back wars (1989-97; 1999-2003).

Three themes[edit]

Three interlinked themes run through the images shown here: people, housing and economic activities. People: because I’ve always been fascinated by people, I find every person beautiful and unique. Housing: because the constructions people live in and their places of worship including traditional huts, mosques and other buildings, modern houses and prestigious mansions vary considerably and are worth studying and admiring. Last but not least, being an economist myself, I am particularly interested in economic activities in both the traditional and in the modern economy. The regions and countries covered and the time frame – the oldest photos were taken in the early 1970s, hence more than half a century ago - provided ample opportunity for unique shooting.

Fred P.M. van der Kraaij, 29 July 2022

Just a preview[edit]


  • Usage of these images on Wikimedia projects, main namespace (articles) only.

Languages used[edit]

  • Descriptions of the images are provided in at least one of the official languages of the relevant countries and in any case in English and in Dutch. These official languages are, according to Wikipedia articles in English and French, Benin: French, Burkina Faso: French (Mòoré, Fula and Dioula not available here), Liberia: English, Libya: Arabic, Mali: French, Morocco: Arabic (Berber/Tamazight not available here), Senegal: French, Wolof (not available here) and Togo: French.
  • However, for practical reasons (the uploader of the present images does not know Arabic) file names are in French or in English and not in Arabic.
  • The descriptions, depicted places and dates in Arabic have been produced by machine translation (Google Translate) without expert correction and might accordingly contain errors.



Map of Liberia in External link[edit]

Table of contents[edit]

TBD = To Be Done
The images are ordered below in three ways: 1. by country in certain years, 2. by event, and 3. by origin from 28 minus 4 numbered slide boxes. (Boxes 17-18, and 22-23 are private and excluded here.) These orderings overlap only partially, so that there are images from slide boxes which are not (yet) included in a selection (category) by country. TBD - to be done.

Category Country Subjects Period Number of images
this category, below Liberia Mitchell map of Liberia 1839 1
By country (incomplete)
Burkina Faso 1972, 1981-1984,
slide boxes van der Kraaij-07, -09, -10, -12, -13, -20, -21
Burkina Faso Mossi Plateau, Poura / Basméré, which Ziga?, Batié, Yatenga Province, Bani, Ouahigouya, Pouytenga, Ouagadougou, Cascades, Laléraba, Bobo-Dioulasso, Hauts-Bassins, Centre, Centre-Est, Centre-Nord, Kaya, Douroula, Boucle du Mouhoun, Dédougou, Poni Province 1972, 1981-1984 294
Burkina Faso 1981,
box van der Kraaij-03
Burkina Faso Fara - Mossi Plateau - Pouytenga - Ouagadougou 1981 95
Liberia 1975-1976,
box van der Kraaij-13
Liberia Yekepa: Liberian-American-Swedish Mining Company (LAMCO) iron mine - Harbel: Firestone rubber plantation - Montserrado: Agrimeco 1975-1976 42
Liberia 1975-1979,
boxes van der Kraaij-01, -02, -03, -05, -06, and -08
Liberia Monrovia: Sayetown, Voinjama, Monrovia: celebration of the inauguration of President Tolbert 1976, landscapes with people, Robertsport, Ganta, Ykepa: LAMCO, Nimba County, Half Graway: ceremonial war dances, Harper, Maryland County, Grand Gedeh County, Monrovia: state visit of US president Carter 1976 (39 scans of Half Graway: Ceremonial War Dances of the Grebo, were added here later.) 1975-1979 358
Mali 1972,
boxes van der Kraaij-04 and other boxes to be done
Mali Mopti, various towns, landscape 1972 85
(box 04)
Mali 1984, 1986,
boxes van der Kraaij-10, 12-13, 16, 19-20, 24-25, 27
Mali Ségou region, Bamako, Koutiala, Ségou, Tominian, Markala, Mopti region, Hombori, Gourma Rharous 1984, 1986 105
Morocco 1981,
boxes van der Kraaij-08 and -11
Morocco Atlas Mountains, Casablanca, Fez, Marrakech, Ouarzazate, Rabat, Tangier 1981 88
Senegal 1972, 1987,
boxes van der Kraaij-01, 02, 13 and 19
Senegal Dakar - Tambacounda 1972, 1987 8
By event
Inauguration of President Tolbert,
box van der Kraaij-08
Liberia Inauguration of William Richard Tolbert, 20th President of Liberia, Monrovia 1976 28
State visit of President Carter,
box van der Kraaij-08, combined with work by other photographers
Liberia US President Jimmy Carter and Mrs. Carter, Monrovia 1978 32
Ceremonial War Dances of the Grebo people,
boxes van der Kraaij-06 and -08
Liberia Dance event in Half Graway, Maryland County 1978-1979 90
The Hanging of the Harper Seven,
box van der Kraaij-28
Liberia The Hanging of the Harper Seven 16 February 1979 9
Pope Ioannes Paulus II in then Upper Volta,
box van der Kraaij-03
Burkina Faso Visit to Ouagadougou 1980 15
By slide box
van der Kraaij-01 Senegal, Liberia Senegal: Dakar, Tambacounda,
Liberia: Monrovia Saye Town and elsewhere - Harper - Voinjama Lofa County, Agrimeco project
1972, 1976-1977 92
van der Kraaij-02 Senegal, Liberia Senegal: Dakar,
Liberia: Monrovia, Old Road - Harper - Robertsport
1972, 1976, 1978 42
van der Kraaij-03 Liberia (first 3 photos), Burkina Faso (remaining 95 photos) Liberia: river,
Burkina Faso: Fara - Mossi Plateau - Pouytenga - Ouagadougou
Liberia: unknown, Burkina Faso: 1981 Liberia 3 + Burkina Faso 95) = 98
van der Kraaij-04 Mali, Niger Mali: (Region of) Mopti - Djenné - Sangha - Timbuktu - Sikasso - (region of) Kayes - Koutiala - Ségou - Banankoni - Balandougou - Kakoulou - Diamou - Bamako,
Niger: Ajérou/Ajourou
1972 Mali 86 + Niger 2= 88
van der Kraaij-05 Liberia Monrovia: Old Road, Mamba Point, Waterside, Saye Town, Westpoint - Robertsport - Voinjama - Ganta - Sanniquellie - Nimba County - Grand Gedeh county - Mano River, border with Sierra Leone 1975-1976, 1979 87
van der Kraaij-06 Liberia Grand Gedeh county - Harper - Cavalla River - Nimba County - Half Graway: Ceremonial War Dances of the Grebo 1976, 1978-1979 97
van der Kraaij-07 Burkina Faso Mossi Plateau - Poura / Basméré - Ziga, Sanmatenga Province (formerly Yatenga Province), Nord Region - Batié - Yatenga Province - Bani - Ouahigouya 1981-1983 102
van der Kraaij-08 Liberia, Morocco Liberia: Half Graway - Monrovia: state visit of President and Mrs. Carter 1978, Harper - Voinjama - Monrovia, the inauguration of President Tolbert in 1976 - Half Graway: Ceremonial War Dances of the Grebo (see also van der Kraaij-06),
Morocco: Tangier (1 photo only: 105)
1973, 1976, 1978 88
van der Kraaij-09 Burkina Faso, Togo, Ivory Coast Burkina Faso: Tenkodogo - Cascades Region - Laléraba - Bobo-Dioulasso - Hauts-Bassins Region - Ouagadougou - Centre Region - Centre-Est Region - South,
Togo: Pya - South of Kara - Lomé and environs - Davié,
Ivory Coast: Danané - Man - Yamoussoukro - Senoufo/Senufo region
1981 78
van der Kraaij-10 Burkina Faso, Mali Burkina Faso: Pouytenga - Centre-Nord Region - Kaya - Mossi Plateau,
Mali: Bamako region
Burkina Faso 1981 and unknown, Mali 1986 Burkina Faso 25 + Mali 3 = 28
van der Kraaij-11 Morocco Tangier - Rabat - Casablanca - Marrakech - Atlas Mountains - Ouarzazate - Fez 1973 87
van der Kraaij-12 Burkina Faso, Mali Burkina Faso: Koulipele river - Manga - Mogtédo - Yako - Mossi Plateau - Boucle du Mouhoun Region,
Mali: Ségou region - Niono - Bamako
Burkina Faso 1981-1982, 1984, Mali 1984 Burkina Faso 81 + Mali 18 = 99
van der Kraaij-13 Burkina Faso, Senegal, Liberia, Mali, Niger Burkina Faso: unspecified railway station,
Senegal: Dakar - Kidira,
Liberia: Yekepa, LAMCO iron mine - Harbel, Firestone rubber plantation - Monrovia, Old Road - Montserrado county- Grand Cape county, Agrimeco project,
Mali: Ségou region - Sikasso - Koutiala - Première Région,
Niger: Niamey
Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal: 1972, Liberia: 1975-1976 53
van der Kraaij-14 Liberia Cooper's Beach, Paynesville, Montserrado County - 'Tubman Zoo', Totota, Bong County - Firestone plantation - Kedeja tourist village 1977-1978 34 .tif(f) + 7 .jpg = 41
van der Kraaij-15 Liberia Harper and environs: Fishtown, Pleebo, Harper Airport 1979 18
van der Kraaij-16 Mali, Liberia Mali: Bamako,
Liberia: 'Tubman Zoo' - Totota, Bong County - House of President William R. Tolbert junior, Zorzor, Monrovia: environs and Old Road area
1972, 1976-1978 31
van der Kraaij-19 Liberia, Mali, Senegal Liberia: Near Roberts International Airport - Monrovia - Robertsport,
Mali: Ségou - Touminian,
Senegal: Dakar
1975-1978, 1987 Liberia 34, Mali 12, Senegal 3,... Total 55
van der Kraaij-20 Bénin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Libye, Niger, Senegal, Tunisie Bénin: Cotonou - Gamia,
Burkina Faso: Ouagadougou,
Mali-Senegal border: Falémé River,
Libya: Tripoli,
Niger: Niamey,
Tunisia: Tunis - Sfax
Burkina Faso 1972, Bénin 1972, Libya 1972, Mali/Senegal 1984, Niger 1972, Tunisia 1972 Burkina Faso 2, Bénin 2, Mali-Senegal border 2, Niger = Total 29
van der Kraaij-21 Burkina Faso Centre Region - Douroula - Boucle du Mouhoun Region - Dédougou - Poni Province 1982 67
van der Kraaij-24 Mali Ségou - Mopti region - Hombori - Gourma-Rharous 1986 17
van der Kraaij-25 Mali Bamako - Sotuba 1984 18
van der Kraaij-26 Burkina Faso Ouagadougou: flooded dam - Tenkodogo: agricultural project ARCOMA 1984 8
van der Kraaij-27 Mali Bamako - Niaréla (Bamako) - Ségou region - Siribala - Markala - Sansanding 1984 29
van der Kraaij-28 Liberia Harper - Monrovia - Half Graway 1975-1979 50 (49 .tif, 1 .jpg)
Total unique images Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia 1972-1973, 1976-1979, 1984, 1986-1987 1407, to be counted

The uploader of the present images, Hansmuller (talk) 13:39, 22 April 2022 (UTC)

Extra for upload[edit]

For use in an Excel spreadsheet on upload:
Metadata column containing the photo filenames, say: "ASC Leiden - F. van der Kraaij Collection - 06 or so - "&Num2&" - "&Desc2&" - "&Loc2&" - "&Date2
Metadata column containing the multilingual description, also for the location and the date: "{{fr|1="&Fr2&"}}{{en|1="&En2&"}}{{nl|1="&Nl2&"}}"


This category has the following 37 subcategories, out of 37 total.

Pages in category "F. van der Kraaij Collection"

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Media in category "F. van der Kraaij Collection"

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