What is relevant to capture in images now, that may be important to later generations? Since the Rijksmuseum started with the photo commissions in 1975, this has been the key question with regard to every new commission. The initiator dr. W. Vroom, director of the Dutch History Department at the time, formulated in 1995 the underlying ideas as follows: " The purpose of these commissions was to evoke a portrait of an era in the Netherlands that would survive time itself."
Essentially, these commissions are an effort to solve the problem that all history museums grapple with: How to collect their own era ?. The broad area covered by the Dutch History department, viz. the national history of the Netherlands, makes answering this question rather complicated.
Choosing themes for the photo commissions requires sensitivity and intuition, besides knowledge of what is going on in society. What is new, what is changing? Of course it was a coincidence that the photo commission about the parliamentary elections of 1977 turned out to include the most laborious government formation since 1945, which was only favourable to the result.