Reduction of 12wt.%Co/0.5wt.%Re/α-Al2O3 Fischer–Tropsch catalyst has been studied in-situ in an environmental transmission electron microscope. Reduction of Co3O4 to metallic cobalt was observed dynamically at 360 °C under 3.4 mbar H2. Structural and morphological changes were observed by high resolution transmission electron microscopy and scanning transmission electron microscopy imaging. The cobalt particles were mainly face centred cubic while some hexagonal close packed particles were also found. Reoxidation of the sample upon cooling to room temperature, still under flowing H2, underlines the reactivity of the nanoparticles and the importance of controlling the gas composition and specimen temperature during this type of experiment. Similar behaviour was observed for a non-promoted catalyst. Imaging and analysis of the promoted sample before and after reduction indicated a uniform distribution of the promoter.