The Rijksmuseum Research Fellowship Programme

From 2014 onwards the Rijksmuseum will support a pre-doctoral research fellowship programme for outstanding doctoral candidates working on the art and the 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 artefacts, and the most complete library on Dutch art. In April 2013 the museum re-opened its doors to the public after a renovation of ten years which completely transformed the institution. For the first time in its history, paintings, sculpture, decorative arts and historical artefacts are shown together in a chronological display. In this innovative presentation the public is presented with an overview of the art and history of the Netherlands from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.
From 2014 onwards the Rijksmuseum will support a pre-doctoral research fellowship programme for outstanding doctoral candidates working on the art and the history of the Low Countries whose principal concern is object-based research. The programme aims to train a new generation of museum professionals: inquisitive object-based specialists, who will further understanding of Netherlandish art and history for the future.
The focus of research should be 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 programme is to enable doctoral candidates to base part of their research at the Rijksmuseum and to encourage 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, providing support for the museum and its research priorities, as well as its academic and non-academic partners.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will provide two pre-doctoral fellowships each year, each for a two year duration. Applications should include an outline of the proposed research, related to the Rijksmuseum’s holdings in which objects are fundamental; for example:
  • research of art objects as artistic or historical sources
  • object-related archival research
  • scientific research
The Dr. Anton Dreesmann Fellowship will annually enable one pre-doctoral candidate in the history of art from the University of Pennsylvania to conduct research for his or her dissertation in the museum. The fellowship is funded by a University of Pennsylvania alumna. This is a one-year fellowship, with the possibility of renewal for one additional year.
The Migelien Gerritzen Fellowship will enable one pre-doctoral candidate to conduct research in the field of conservation or material-technical research of art works and historical artefacts. It will welcome applicants who are either conservators or scientists. This is a one-year fellowship, with the possibility of renewal for one additional year. It is funded by an endowment legacy.
The value of each fellowship is EUR 33,000,– annually (before tax). The holders 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 of EUR 5,000 annually.
The Rijksmuseum will provide office space where the fellows can work, thus stimulating an exchange of knowledge, ideas and experience. Access to all necessary information in the museum, the library and the resources of the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie (RKD) at The Hague and the University of Amsterdam will be provided.
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 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 tenuation. The fellowship should result in a publication, the content and form of which will be decided by the fellow and curator in consultation with other Rijksmuseum colleagues
Fellowships are open to students of all nationalities, and with varied specialisms – including 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). Funding is available for one or two year fellowships, starting in the academic year 2014-2015.
Applicants whose doctoral research converges with museum research projects will be given preference. Other applicants will be given the opportunity to spend 50% of their time on a project of the museum (generally collection cataloguing projects or exhibitions), the remaining 50% would be dedicated to their doctoral thesis.
The closure date for all applications is 15 March 2014, at 6:00 p.m. (Amsterdam time/WEWT). 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.
The online application requires the following documents as PDF files:
  • Cover letter outlining your interest in the fellowship position.
  • A research proposal, not exceeding one thousand words, specifying your areas of research and their relationship to the Rijksmuseum’s collections and activities.
  • Full curriculum vitae including education, professional experience, honours, awards, and publications; official undergraduate and graduate diplomas.
  • A provisional schedule of work to be accomplished during the fellowship period.
  • A provisional schedule of travel required (maximum of six weeks) during the fellowship period.
  • Copy of a published paper or recent sample of writing.
  • Contact information for at least two referees (names, complete titles, and email addresses), including one academic referee (who may not be a current Rijksmuseum staff member).
Applicants will be selected by an international committee. Selection will take place in March and April 2014. Applicants will be notified before May 1, 2014. Fellowships will start in September 2014.
Further information can be obtained from: 
Dr. Frits Scholten ( or at 0031 (0)20-6747000, ext. 243
Rijksmuseum Fellowship Application Form