The Other Half

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The platform The Other Half – Women in the Dutch Art World 1780-1980 puts the role of women in the art world under the microscope, with special attention to the holdings of Dutch museums from the period 1780-1980. The platform is the initiative of the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, University of Amsterdam and the RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History. 


The mission of The Other Half is to increase awareness, knowledge and the visibility of women as actors in the Dutch art world, especially in the development of public collections in the Netherlands, known as the ‘Collectie Nederland’, in the period 1780-1980. The platform furthermore seeks to ensure that the active role of women in the artworld receives long-term recognition within the history of visual art and design. The actors on whom this project focuses are all of those women who have been involved in selecting, collecting, managing, maintaning, researching, presenting and promoting works of art (including sculpture and design) in the Collectie Nederland. Of course, makers are also actors in the artworld, but they are not within the remit of the project because they already receive due attention in other contexts. 


The strategic goals of the project are:

  • A better understanding of the role of women in collecting, managing and presentation of objects belonging to the ‘Collectie Nederland’. 
  • A programme of collaboration between a group of Dutch museums and universities.
  • A publicly accessible digital platform, in which the research results from the various organisations are catalogued and brought together for the long term.

Research at the RKD

The RKD is contributing to The Other Half with research on Women collectors in art 1780-1980. In addition, the RKDartists database will form the central repository for the collection and preservation of biographical information about women actors in the art world. In 2022-2023, as part of The Other Half, the RKD conducted research into Women in Art. Dealers and collectors in the Netherlands, 1870-1914.

More information about The Other Half can be found on the websites of the platform’s partner organisations: