About the RKD

The RKD is a renowned documentation and research institute. As a knowledge institute we work in collaboration with museums, heritage institutes, universities and private institutes. Members of our staff are involved in research, publications and organising events. We harbour unique archives, documentation and photographic material and the largest art historical library on Western art from the Late Middle Ages to present, with the focus on Dutch, Southern and Northern Netherlands, art. Our collections contain information on tens of thousands of paintings, drawings and sculptures, but also cover monumental art, modern media and design.

RKD is publishing substantial parts of its data through (beta) web services. All sets are made available under ODbL-BY  (Open Database Licence – Attribution). Note: this licence is for the metadata only. Images are not licenced, although they might be in the public domain. RKD is currently exploring the options around Open Access and Content. All suggestions are welcome.

RKDimages web service (OAI-PMH)

The RKDimages web service is made for application developers and others who want to consult the data from RKDimages in machine-readable format. Through this web service descriptive data  is offered for around 240,000 works of art from the Middle Ages to the present day. 

This data set is made available under ODbL-BY  (Open Database Licence – Attribution). The web service works on the basis of the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting OAI-PMH. The format is RDF and using DC-Terms, FOAF en Schema.org: namespaces.

Please note that the license concerns the descriptive data. Images can be retrieved in low resolution with watermark, but these are not yet available as open content.

RKDartists web service/Open Search (EAC-CPF)

This is a derivative set of biographical data from the extensive dataset RKDartists&. Containing biographical data of some 250,000 Dutch and foreign artists from the Middle Ages to the present. The ampersand in the name indicates that also art dealers, art collectors and art historians are included in this database. RKDartists serves also as an index to the extensive art historical documentation of the RKD. That analog documentation (images, archives, press documentation and literature) can then be viewed at the RKD. RKDartists is used by other (Dutch) heritage institutions as authorized name authority file in their own collections.

The displayed elements are made available under the Encoded Archival Context for Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families (EAC-CPF) standard. Each object (artists record) can be accessed via a URI (Uniform Research Identifier). Also there is in the data a deep link to the full record in RKDexplore.

This data set is made available under ODbL-BY  (Open Database Licence – Attribution).


Iconclass is a classification system designed for art and iconography. It is the most widely accepted scientific tool for the description and retrieval of subjects represented in images (works of art, book illustrations, reproductions, photographs, etc.) and is used by museums and art institutions around the world. So you can find the iconclass codes in many collection information systems. Although it’s considered a complex system with a high learning curve, Iconclass is second to none as a system for art (historical) subject annotation. The Iconclass system is accessible through the Iconclass  Browser and available as Linked Open Data (LOD)

Please check the list of data sources for more information on these data sources