RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History

Location: The Hague, Netherlands
Photographs: 6,000,000
Website | Online catalogue

The RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History is a global knowledge institute and the central resource for the study of Dutch and Flemish art in the international context. The RKD operates as an independent international academic documentation and knowledge institute, interacting and working in close collaboration with other stakeholders in the field to reach its target audience all over the world. We are an outward-looking institution and we strive to serve our users in accordance with our mission: to make knowledge and information about Netherlandish art in an international context available to scholars and members of the general public worldwide.

The RKD manages a unique collection of archive, documentation and library material relating to Western art from the late Middle Ages to the present. The nucleus of the collections is made up of documentation on Netherlandish art. The RKD pursues an active programme of acquisitions in the areas of painting, drawing and sculpture as well as monumental art, modern media and design.

Our various holdings of visual, technical and press documentation as well as the library and archival collections can be consulted in our study rooms. Parts of the  collection are also accessible through our online databases; you may find it useful to look here prior to visiting the RKD. Find out more about our holdings by consulting the overview of our collections on our website or by looking in the RKDcollections&archives database.

The core mandate of the RKD is to develop, explore, manage and promote its documentary, library and archival material.The staff members of the RKD regularly make scholarly or organizational contributions to exhibitions, publications, and symposia.

The RKD plays an important supporting role for museums, universities, auction houses, galleries, art dealers and other institutions, as well as for independent researchers, collectors and other interested individuals.The RKD primarily serves professionals and students who wish to consult the collections for their work or study, but private individuals conducting art-historical research are also most welcome.

Photo Archive

The Visual Documentation Collection of the RKD is the largest collection of art-historical visual material in the world and contains more than six million photographs, reproductions, and slides of paintings, drawings, sculpture, graphic arts, and design. In addition the RKD owns microfiche copies of documentary material found at important sister institutions such as The Witt Library London and the Bildarchiv Foto Marburg. Each year the Visual Documentation Collection is expanded by more than 50,000 images.

In the visual documentation of the RKD the emphasis is on Dutch art but work by foreign artists is also documented. The visual documentation is arranged by country and period and is divided in the following subsidary collections:

Dutch and Flemish Old Master Paintings
Dutch and Flemish Old Master Drawings
Nineteenth-Century Dutch and Belgian Art
Modern and Contemporary Dutch and Belgian Art
Foreign Art
Portrait Iconography (Iconografisch Bureau)
Historical Topography

The online database RKDartists is the most important key to the visual documentary collection. A growing number of the photographs and reproductions can be consulted in RKDimages.