Cinema in Context

How To Do

How many banned films were screened in 1930?

The Netherlands Board of Film Censors (1928-1977) had to rate each film before it was allowed to be screened in public. The results of these ratings have been included in Cinema Context up to 1960. You can find the answer to the question in a single step.


  • Open Cinema Context in a new window
  • Click on Films at the top of the page. You will enter the search page for the Films collection.
  • Select Censorship rating from the pull-down menu behind the first search field. An Index button will appear to the right of the pull-down menu.
  • Click on Index and select the rating Banned
  • Limit the search query to the desired period: enter '01-01-1930' and '31-12-1930' in the fields marked film shown between
  • Select both under 'Limit search query to'
  • Click on
  • Search results will list '1 to 10 of 26'. 26 films were found that match your search query.


  • May we deduce from the answer that all the films in the search result were screened without permission and were therefore illegal? The censorship laws allowed that, after an appeal and a second rating, films were passed on the condition that an objectionable scene was removed. Sometimes the board of film censors would also simply change its mind. Such is the case for one of the titles in the search result: The Fake. Click on this title and select 'Censorship' from the row of tabs on the page. You will see that the film was rated 'banned' on 22 January 1929 because of assault and incitement to suicide. A week later, on 30 January, the film was suddenly approved because it included 'beneficial elements too'.
  • Banned films were prohibited from public screenings, but were allowed to be screened privately. Groups like the Netherlands Film League therefore had the possibility of screening unrated or even banned films, but only for members. An example is La Coquille et le clergyman (1928).
  • The Netherlands Board of Film Censors had the authority from 1928 to 1977 to prohibit the public screening of a film in all of the Netherlands. The original archive and all files can be found in the National Archives in The Hague. Before 1928 there was a local film censorship board in every municipality, which fell under the mayor’s authority, but Cinema Context has no data available about those ratings.
  • It was also possible for the Netherlands Board of Film Censorship to approve a film, but for the Catholic ratings board to ban the same film in a number of Catholic cities in the southern part of the country. An example is Eros in Ketten (1930). This film was approved for exhibition to persons of 18 years and older after a second censorship rating, but the Catholic ratings board nevertheless prohibited the film for the faithfull.
  • You can refine search results in Cinema Context. If for instance you want to know which of the films you have found were shown in Utrecht, then click on refine search results on the results page. Enter 'Utrecht' in the second search field and select City of screening in the pull-down menu beside it. Click on search films. You will now see the banned films that were shown in Utrecht.
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