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A multicolor scanning near-field optical microscope (color-SNOM) has been developed to provide real color images of nanoscopic samples for biological and spectroscopical purposes. The sample illumination consists either of a single or a combined beam of different laser wavelengths. A common SNOM setup has been modified in a way that three photomultipliers for blue, green, and red light detection and color separating dichroic filters have been implemented. With this beam splitter device, it is possible to acquire simultaneously with the topography three color optical images on three different channels. In order to improve the signal-to-noise ratio, etched fiber tips with a high transmission intensity were used. Fluorescence experiments on latex beads labeled with two different dyes and transmission measurements on gold nanoparticles show a wavelength dependent optical contrast. The color-SNOM appears as a powerful tool for high resolution color spectroscopy. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.