On the Origin of the Dutch Word for Snapshot: "Kiekje"

The Dutch word for a low quality snapshot is: "Kiekje". The word originates from Leiden, where it were students at the end of the 19th century that frequently bothered the photographer Israel David Kiek to have a group portrait made. (This frequently happened at nightly hours.) The students, referring to the resulting pictures as "Kiekjes", treated the pictures as kind of trophies of their partying lifestyle. The quality of the "Kiekjes" suffered clearly from the intoxicated condition of the subjects, the nightly hour as well as the lack of quality control in the process of Mr. Kiek. Now, in the 21st century, the word has become part of the common vocabulary of the Dutch language. It has the connotations of an amateurish photograph showing friends and family. It is remarkable that almost everyone uses the term without ever having heard about Mr. Kiek.

More information on Israel David Kiek:

Photo: Group of Students, by J.D. Kiek (1880), owned by Prentenkabinet Leiden, copied from Nederlandse Fotografie, de eerste honderd jaar, Claude Magelhaes, 1969.

Photo: Group of Students, by J.D. Kiek (1880), owned by Prentenkabinet Leiden, copied from Nederlandse Fotografie, de eerste honderd jaar, Claude Magelhaes, 1969.