Museumsberg Flensburg
Norsk Reiselivsmuseum
Sogn og Fjordane Kunstmuseum
De Heibergske Samlinger - Sogn Folkemuseum
The year is 1926, and Wilhelm Dreesen has passed away at the age of eighty-six.

After decades of cutting-edge and prize-winning work as a photographer, his Flensburg workshop was emptied, marking the end of his remarkable life.

A crate filled with unsorted negatives found it's way to the collections of Museumsberg Flensburg, and was eventually re-discovered in 2019.

The material in the crate span Dreesen's entire career, going back to the late 1800s.

These are the photographies contained within that crate.
Research indicates that these negatives have not seen the light of day for well over a century.

Several pictures were published in contemporary media across Europe.

A substantial number were never published.
You are among the first in the world to rediscover these moments frozen in time.
As Dreesen travelled the world, taking pictures for his photography albums, he also documented his travels along the way.

What was once a crate of unsorted glass negatives has become a time capsule containing snapshots of everyday life.
These pictures provide an unfiltered and astonishing view of old Europe, and the holidaymaking of la belle époque - a time of unprecedented technological progress, development and international travel.

While new technologies paved the way for a more interconnected and globalised world,
many Europeans felt a deep longing for something.

What did it mean to be a country with it's own history?
What did it mean to be a people?
After centuries of relative obscurity at Europe's fringe, a fledgling nation struggling to find independence from its mighty neighbours was about to find a willing audience for it's story.
Research indicates that the pictures were taken approximately around 1870-1910.
These decades saw some of the most iconic forms of travel in history.

The story of the photographer himself is nothing short of remarkable.
To most, it is one that has been forgotten, despite being intervowen in some of Europe's most decisive happenings and creative environments.

Who was Wilhelm Dreesen?
What was his life like - and what was the purpose of his trips?
What was the attraction of the North?

And - how was it to experience this golden age of tourism firsthand?

Selected pictures from the Dreesen portfolio have been carefully scanned and digitalised, and are proudly presented below.

To retrace the steps of the photographer Wilhelm Dreesen, please select a chapter:
From the beginning...
The Influencer
A time of unprecedented technology
The North is calling!
Coming soon...
Frontier and Fringe
Coming soon...
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