The RKD houses over 2.5 kilometres of archival material in the field of the visual arts of the Netherlands. In total, it is over 900 archives of artists, artists' associations, art historians and other art-related persons and firms.

Artist's archives

The RKD manages about 200 archives of Dutch artists such as Piet Mondrian, Jeanne Bieruma Oosting and Armando. These personal archives may contain correspondence, personal papers such as passports and certificates, correspondence, diaries and notebooks, work and project files, but also information connected with membership of societies, items recording participation in exhibitions, sales books, texts of lectures and presentations, sketches and preparatory studies, photos, videos, sound recordings, invitations and other printed ephemera.

Research material

This collection contains research papers left behind by prominent art historians including the extensive archives of Rembrandt specialist Dr Abraham Bredius, the German art historian Dr Max J. Friedländer, and the archive of Holland’s first professor of art history, Dr Willem Vogelsang. The expanding collection of unpublished research belonging to art historians grows year on year and is of great importance, especially for new generations of researchers. Various digitisation projects, for example Bredius’s annotations, are making a great deal of information accessible online.

Technical Documentation

The Technical Documentation collection comprises technical information about artworks, contained in such things as X-ray photographs and conservation reports. The RKD manages important technical documentation archives, assembled by, for example, Prof. J.R.J. van Asperen de Boer, the Rembrandt Research Project, and Prof. Molly Faries. The RKD has also acquired archives belonging to conservators, containing conservation reports for artworks: those of Martin de Wild, Peter Hermesdorf, the Hesterman family and the Kollektief Restauratieatelier Foundation, Amsterdam. In 2020 Dr Maryan Ainsworth donated her research material relating to infrared reflectography.

Because of the specialist nature and vulnerability of the material, the Technical Documentation collection can only be consulted under supervision. You may request to see it using the contact form.


Every day more of the RKD collection is becoming available online. The digitisation of archival material is happening through various projects.

Visual documentation

The visual documentation, comprising about four million digital and analogue photos, reproductions and slides of artworks, is fully digitised and available via RKD Research. The platform RKD Research provides access to seven online databases containing millions of digitised documents and images: RKDartists, RKDimages, RKDimages Lite, RKDtechnical, RKDlibrary, RKDcollections and RKDexcerpts. These databases form the most important source for art-historical research into the visual arts of the Low Countries in an international context, and they are being updated constantly with new data.

Art dealers’ archives

The archives of seven major art dealers of the period 1850-1950 have been fully digitised. These are the archives of the Bachstitz Gallery, J.H. de Bois Gallery, Goupil & Cie., Huinck en Scherjon, G.J. Nieuwenhuizen Segaar, Sala & Zonen, and E.J. van Wisselingh & Co.

Modernist archives

Early in 2020 the RKD launched a project to digitise a unique collection of archives from the period 1910-1960. These belonged to innovative, leading Dutch artists, including Paul Citroen, Nelly van Doesburg and Kees van Dongen.

Sculptor’s archives

Since 2023 the RKD has been running a project to digitise a unique collection of sculptor’s archives. Together they provide a unique source of information about artistic life before, during and after the Second World War. The sculptors’ archives are no longer available for consultation in the study room but they will be accessible online in 2024.

Archives of artists’ societies

In 2023 the RKD made a start on the digitisation of various archives of Dutch artists’ societies from the period 1839-1950. This means that the archives of the Arti et Amicitiae Society and De Onafhankelijken (independents) are no longer available for consultation in the RKD. The archival documents will be accessible online from early 2025.


Each year dozens of new acquisitions, gifts as well as purchases, are added to the RKD’s archives collection. The library collection also keeps on expanding as further acquisitions are added.

View all acquisitions