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