CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Rijksmuseum seeks head of department of fine art

The Rijksmuseum is seeking a head for its Department of Fine Art, one of the three curatorial departments of the museum. An initial contract of one year is offered, renewable for two years before being converted into a permanent appointment. Deadline for applying: 12 October 2008.

Museum announcement

As the National Museum of Art and History, the Rijksmuseum holds canonical collections of Netherlandish fine and applied arts and historical artefacts from the Middle Ages onwards, supplemented by important holdings of European and Asian art. Its principal function is to study, enhance and augment these collections and to present them for the enjoyment and benefit of a broad national and international audience.
The Rijksmuseum is currently seeking a new:

Head of the Department of Fine Art

The department

For administrative purposes the collections are divided into three departments: Dutch History, Fine Art, and Prints and Drawings.

The Department of Fine Art is responsible for the care and administration of the collections of paintings, sculpture and decorative arts of all European schools, plus Asian arts of all media. In addition to the Head, the curatorial staff comprises full- and part-time curators,  assisted by temporary research staff and interns (e.g. for exhibitions or special projects). Departmental activities include research into the collections, proposals for new acquisitions, organising monographic and thematic exhibitions and the presentation of the collections to the public, both through means of their display in the Rijksmuseum and elsewhere and though publications, lectures etc. The dissemination of scholarly knowledge about the collections, both on a national and international level, is paramount.


The Head of the Fine Art Department is, together with the Head of the Dutch History Department and the Head of the Print-Room, answerable to the Director of Collections for the research, management and presentation of the objects under their care, and plays a key role within the Museum as a whole. He or she will be an acknowledged specialist within an area (preferably, but not essentially Dutch art) covered by the fine-arts collection,  and will be expected to provide both intellectual and administrative leadership to the curatorial staff, particularly by stimulating innovative interdisciplinary research.

The Head of the Department of Fine Art will be  expected to formulate far ranging policies and to present these, on behalf of the Department, to the Directorate. A core task in the coming years will be preparations for the opening of “The New Rijksmuseum”  in 2012, in which the collections of the Department will take a central place, not only in the display but in publications both in book form and in the “new” media. The Head of Fine Art also acts as a representative of the Rijksmuseum and communicates information about the collection by way of the media.

Principal responsibilities

Overseeing the activities of the department as well as consulting with related departments (particularly those of Exhibitions, Collection Management, Conservation, and Education) in order to coordinate the management, research, and presentation of the collections.
–    Developing and implementing policies related to research as well as the care and augmentation of the collection over both the short and the long term,  taking into  account the museum’s commitment to public education.
–    Accounting for the Departmental budgets, estimating the costs of plans, programs, and projects involving the collections.
–    Maintaining and expanding contacts with sister-museums and research institutes both  in The Netherlands and abroad.
–    Ensuring that the quality of research, conservation and restoration, publications, and scholarly symposia are concordant with the museum’s status as an internationally renowned institution.
–    Maintaining contacts with private collectors and dealers to stimulate future acquisitions.


–    Postgraduate degree in Art History, (Ph.D. preferred).
–    Substantial experience managing collections and organizing exhibitions.
–    Minimum of 3 years experience in an executive role.
–    Established expertise in at least one of the fields embraced by the collection, with a track-record of publications.
–    Good command of Dutch and other modern languages, both written and spoken.
–    Experience in interdisciplinary projects.
–    Broad international network.
–    Object-based with a wide understanding and appreciation of the significance of art works.
–    Ability to formulate a clear vision of the place of the collections within a national and international museum context.
–    Integrity and leadership in decision-making.


 The appointment will be for an initial period of one year,  renewable on assessment of performance, with eligibility for permanent tenure after three years.


Depending on training and experience, the gross salary will be a minimum of 48.074,- Euro and a maximum of 71.436,- Euro per year based on a full work week of 36 hours, including 8% holiday allowance and 1.25% end of the year allowance. The Collective labour agreement for  independent state museums is applicable.


For further information about this position, please contact Taco Dibbits, Director of Collections, tel. +31 (0)20 674 7300. For questions regarding the application procedure, please contact Anita Jansen, Manager of Human Resources, tel. +31 (0)20 674 7326.


Please send your application (cover letter, CV, list of publications) via email to: by 12 October .  The first round of interviews will take place in week 44. An assessment is part of the procedure.