RKD Research launched!

RKD Research

RKD Research is launched. Now there are even more possibilities for digital research. As of this month, millions of additional data can be consulted online using our new platform RKD Research. With the introduction of the innovative tool visual search, unprecedented opportunities have been opened up for art-historical discovery. There is still some work in progress: some functionalities are not yet working optimally. This will be solved in the coming months.


With the arrival of RKD Research, RKD Explore will be replaced and expanded with millions of additional data. Via RKD Research you can search seven online databases with over six million digitised documents and images. These databases are the main source for art historical research into the visual arts from the Low Countries in an international context and new data are continuously added. RKD Research is the place to endlessly search millions of documents, data and images online.

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Unlimited possibilities

Until now, the visual documentation – more than four million images of works of art – could only be consulted at the RKD in The Hague. But now the entire visual documentation has been digitised and is available online. This is a fantastic development for art historians, saving everyone a lot of time. Anyone can freely access the research platform and it offers users, wherever they are, unlimited possibilities to search and compare images at great speed. Digital research is made easier by the provision of metadata; in line with the National Strategy for Digital Cultural Heritage, the RKD has made all of its databases accessible as Linked Open Data.

Visual search

Now that the visual documentation is available digitally it is possible to do research in a different way. Users who subscribe to RKD Research can enjoy extra features, such as visual search. Together with the University of Oxford, the RKD has developed a tool which permits image searches within RKD Research. This throws up surprising results and allows connections to be made which were overlooked in the past when going through the paper files of visual documentation. As well as historical photographs and copies, visual search will also return fragments and mirror-images of the artwork that is the subject of your search. During the pilot phase of visual search remarkable discoveries were made, involving paintings which had at some point in their history been overpainted, or even cut in two. 

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Work in progress

Transferring the databases takes time. A large amount of data is unfortunately temporarily invisible and a number of functionalities do not yet work. The main ones are:

  • Searching in RKDtechnical, RKDexcerpts and RKDartists does not always give the most relevant results. When using RKDartists, this can be overcome by typing the name of the artist + RKD in a search engine such as google. 
  • RKDarchives will be temporarily unavailable from December. A link to the inventory in pdf form will be available in RKDcollections. In this way, it will still be possible to request archives. Digitised archives are also temporarily unavailable. Please contact archieven@rkd.nl for the possibilities to still consult the archives (digital or analogue). 
  • Books can be requested via RKDlibrary, but not all data are shown yet. This will be solved in early January. In the RKD's study room can be searched via the Adlib collection management system until then.

In the first months of 2024, all data will be supplemented and the search function refined, so that RKD Research does function optimally.