CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Rijksmuseum Fellowship Program

Information from the museum, 9 December 2014

The Rijksmuseum operates a research fellowship program for outstanding candidates working on the art and history of the Low Countries whose principal concern is object-based research.

The Rijksmuseum houses the world’s largest collection of Dutch artistic and historical treasures, and the most complete library on Dutch art. The museum re-opened its doors to the public in April 2013 following a ten-year renovation that completely transformed the institution. For the first time in its history, the paintings, sculpture, decorative arts and historical artefacts are being shown together in a chronological display. This innovative curatorial approach presents the public with an overview of the art and history of the Netherlands from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century.

The aim of the Rijksmuseum Research Fellowship Program is to train a new generation of museum professionals: inquisitive object-based specialists who will further develop understanding of Netherlandish art and history for the future. The focus of research should relate to the Rijksmuseum’s collection, and may encompass any of its varied holdings, including Netherlandish paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, prints, drawings, photography and historical artefacts. The purpose of the program is to enable doctoral candidates to base part of their research at the Rijksmuseum and to encourage the understanding of Netherlandish art and history by offering students and scholars access to the museum’s collections, library, conservation laboratories and curatorial expertise. Partnership and collaboration is at the heart of these fellowships, which provide support for the museum and its research priorities, as well as its academic and non-academic partners.

Doctoral fellowships
The doctoral fellowships support individuals engaged in postgraduate studies leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Science (DSc) degree.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will provide one doctoral fellowship annually. This is a one-year fellowship, with the possibility of renewal for one additional year. Applications should include an outline of the proposed research, related to the Rijksmuseum’s holdings, in which objects are fundamental. A suitable project might entail research into art objects as artistic or historical sources; object-related archival research; or scientific research. The fellow’s progress will be assessed by the curator responsible for him/her in consultation with his/her supervisor(s) to determine if the renewal of the fellowship for a second year is desirable. Satisfactory performance will result in prolongation.

Funding for the following two fellowships was provided by Royal DSM and JLL Partners.

The DSM-JLL Fellowship will enable one doctoral candidate to conduct conservation research. Specifically, the fellowship supports conservation research or technical research on Dutch paintings. This fellowship has a one-year duration.

The JLL-DSM Fellowship will enable one doctoral candidate to conduct art historical research. The proposed research should demonstrate a particular focus on Dutch paintings. This fellowship has a one-year duration.

Terms and conditions for doctoral fellowships
Preference will be given to applicants whose doctoral research corresponds with museum research projects. Each fellow will work closely with a curator or conservator in his or her field, and will be exposed to curatorial practice. This will, in most cases, include the handling of objects and contact with the staff of the Conservation Department. Also of importance will be the communication of academic findings to a broad public in the museum through one of our educational programs (for example specialists’ talks in the galleries). Before the start of the fellowship, the dissertation supervisor and the curator will discuss the proposed research and prepare a suitable program with the candidate.

The value of each fellowship is €33,000 annually (before tax). The grantee will be responsible for making all arrangements for travel, accommodation, etc. The fellowship will allow for limited travel for research in art collections and archives elsewhere in Europe to a maximum value of €5,000 annually.

The fellowship will preferably result in a publication, the content and form of which will be decided by the fellow and the curator in consultation with colleagues at the Rijksmuseum.

Applicants will be selected by an international committee.

Other research grants
The research grants below provide support for pre-doctoral, doctoral and post-doctoral candidates.

The Johan Huizinga Fund offers outstanding postgraduate candidates the opportunity to conduct historical research into objects in in the Rijksmuseum collection. Candidates are invited to submit a research proposal that draws on these objects as subject material and as sources of information. The Johan Huizinga Fund Fellowship is awarded annually and comprises a grant of €16,500 (before tax) for a six-month period during which the candidate is expected to conclude the research and produce a manuscript of approximately 15,000 words in length. Manuscripts found to be of suitable quality will appear as part of the newly launched publication series Rijksmuseum Studies in History.

The Manfred & Hanna Heiting Fund enables the Rijksmuseum to annually award two postgraduate fellowships that stimulate outstanding object-based, photo-historical research by prospective curators from the Netherlands or abroad. The research is based on the National Photo Collection held by the Rijksmuseum’s Print Room. It will form the basis for an article on classical photography pertaining to original works from the Rijksmuseum’s rich holdings of photographic works and, where possible, to objects in other collections. The international research bursary of €14,412 (before tax) is for a period of six months commencing 1 September, the start of the academic year. For information on the most recent publication supported by the Manfred & Hanna Heiting Fund, see Rijksmuseum Studies in Photography.

Application and procedure
The Rijksmuseum will provide office space in which the fellows can work, in order to stimulate an exchange of knowledge, ideas and experience. Access will be provided to all necessary information in the museum, as well as to the library and the resources of the Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD) in The Hague and the University of Amsterdam.
Fellowships are open to students of all nationalities and with varied specialisms. They may include art historians, curators, conservators, historians and scientists. Candidates should have proven research capabilities, academic credentials and excellent written and spoken knowledge of two languages (English and preferably Dutch or German).

The closing date for all applications is 15 March 2015, at 6:00 p.m. (Amsterdam time/CET). No applications will be accepted after this deadline. All applications must be submitted online and in English. Applications or related materials delivered via email, postal mail, or in person will not be accepted.

Selection will take place in April 2015. Applicants will be notified by 1 May 2015. All fellowships will start in September 2015.

Further information
For additional information and application forms, please visit