In 1958, Utrecht University founded the Dutch art historical institute in Florence. The driving force behind the initiative to establish a centre of scholarship that would advance the study of the art of Italy and the Low Countries was the eminent and distinguished art historian, Prof. Godfried Hoogewerff. More particularly, the founders wanted to give younger and maturing Dutch scholars the opportunity to develop and expand their professional competencies, interests and talents. Thanks to Frits Lugt, the great art collector and founder of the Fondation Custodia (Institut NÈerlandais) in Paris, a recently built villa was acquired that has been the institute’s domicile to this day.
Over the next decades, the institute significantly increased its sphere of competence, and the quality of its academic facilities – notably the library collections – was raised to international standards. Today, the Dutch University Institute for Art History in Florence occupies a prominent position in the academic community, being the only knowledge centre in the world that systematically charts the artistic relations between the Low Countries and Italy.
Since the institute’s foundation, more than 10,000 students and researchers have benefited from the institute’s hospitality. Every year, 2,000 visitors of all conceivable nationalities study for short or longer periods of time in the library and photo archives.
Education, research and research equipment of top international standard are inextricably linked to each other.
Outside professional circles, the institute established a name for itself by virtue of its highly appreciated, public-focused activities, such as lectures, conferences and exhibitions in-house and beyond. Since 1966, more than 300,000 enthusiastic art amateurs and professionals have visited the exhibitions at Viale Torricelli.