Mission and vision

The Dutch University Institute for Art History (NIKI) promotes and facilitates research and education for students, researchers and lecturers of the participating Dutch universities and other universities. In cooperation with international university and museum partners, the NIKI develops interdisciplinary activities.

We have built up internationally recognised and unique expertise in three areas of interest in the early modern period: Italian art, the artistic relations between the Netherlands and Italy and the history of drawing and printmaking. The NIKI is the only knowledge hub in the world that systematically maps out the artistic relations between the Netherlands and Italy. The NIKI is by no means reserved for art historians only, it is the ideal place for education, research and symposiums for students, lecturers and researchers from related disciplines and branches of science.


The institute is part of the Dutch Scientific Institutes Abroad (NWIBs). The Executive Committee consists of representatives of the Executive Boards of the six participating universities: Utrecht University, University of Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit (Amsterdam), University of Groningen, Leiden University, Radboud University (Nijmegen). Utrecht University is the overall coordinator.

In determining and evaluating policy, we are assisted by a Scientific Advisory Board (WAR), which consists of staff members from the partner universities and representatives of major museums, such as the Rijksmuseum. The members are familiar with the institute and are experts in one or more of the NIKI’s focus areas The WAR consists of: Dr M. Brüggen Israëls (University of Amsterdam), Wouter Wagemakers (Leiden University), Dr. J.P. Keizer (University of Groningen), Dr. A.R. de Klerck (Radboud University), Dr. M.J.M. van Beek (Utrecht University), Dr. I.R. Vermeulen (Vrije Universiteit), Dr S.J. van Dijk (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam), S. Boomsma, secretary (Utrecht University). The new chairman will be announced shortly.

Social relevance

Our scientific staff has been closely involved in the organisation of successful exhibitions in the Netherlands and abroad and collaborates with the Dutch and foreign media.

Thanks to its network in Italy, the NIKI is a much sought-after intermediary for Dutch and Italian museum and scientific institutions. Joint projects with Italian museum institutions show how much we are regarded as an outpost of Dutch art history in Italy.


Prof. Dr. Michael W. Kwakkelstein


Dr. Gert Jan van der Sman

Researcher / librarian

Dott.ssa Ilaria Masi


Lex Kuil

Office manager


Each partner university has a NIKI-ambassador. Each partner university has a NIKI-ambassador. The ambassadors can of course be contacted for questions about accommodation, courses, internships and/or scholarship opportunities.

Britt Kramer

Britt Kramer

Utrecht University

Martijn Janssens

Utrecht University
Pien van Raalte

Pien van Raalte

University of Amsterdam

Noortje Niemeijer

University of Amsterdam
Daan Osterop

Daan Osterop

VU Amsterdam

Isa Walvoort

VU Amsterdam
Isabelle Ottes

Isabelle Ottes

University of Groningen
Anja van der Spoel

Anna van der Spoel

University of Groningen

Eric Boot

Leiden University
Coen Meurs

Coen Meurs

Leiden University

Linde Brueren

Radboud University
Foto Roel Rots

Roel Rots

Radboud University
Joost Wilschut

Joost Wilschut

TU Delft
Laura Tacoma

Laura Tacoma

Amsterdam University College (UvA)


The NIKI develops activities in cooperation with university and museum partners:


The NIKI was founded in 1958 as an institute and library for Dutch art historians who wanted to conduct research in Italian art collections and archives. The initiator was Godefridus Johannes Hoogewerff (1884-1963), emeritus professor of art history at Utrecht University and resident in Florence at the time. Through his contact with the art historian and internationally renowned collector Frits Lugt (1884-1970), the villa that Lugt had recently acquired in Florence became the seat of the institute.

The villa is located on the southern hill not far from the historic centre and the famous Piazzale Michelangelo and is owned by the Fondation Custodia (Paris), which manages Lugt’s art collection.

Between 1966 and 2008, exhibitions were organised in collaboration with Dutch and international museums, based on the artistic relationship between Northern and Southern Europe. These included drawings from the collections of Frits Lugt, the Teylers Museum, the Rijksmuseum and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen; graphic work by Escher and Rembrandt; drawings by Mondriaan and Van Gogh; as well as Sienese and Florentine paintings in Dutch possession.

Thanks to some large-scale renovations, the available space for scientific meetings, the library and our in-house guests could be expanded.

The first director of the NIKI was Drs. Jan A. Emmens (1958-1961). The position was taken over successively by: Drs. Hans-W. van Helsdingen (1961-1962, acting); Drs. Fernanda Bramanti-Nieuwenkamp (1964-1975); Prof. Dr. Anton W.A. Boschloo (1975-1976) and Prof. Dr. Bert W. Meijer (1976-2008). Prof. Dr. Michael W. Kwakkelstein has been director since 2008.

Friends & Donors

The Foundation Friends of the Institute for Art History in Florence supports the projects and activities of the NIKI. The objective is twofold: to promote scientific research within the framework of the institute and to assist in making public, publishing and disseminating the research results obtained.

In addition, the Foundation makes the NIKI/GWO scholarships available annually for students who carry out research at the NIKI.

You can support the NIKI financially and become part of the Circoli dell’amicizia in the following ways:

Become an Amico for € 40 per year

You will receive our digital newsletter, invitations to lectures and cultural activities in Italy and the Netherlands, and an invitation to a festive gathering. Guests are welcome.

Become a Donatore for € 250 per year

As a Donatore, in addition to the Amico benefits, you have the option of participating in the Sponsor Day, for which, in case of actual participation, an extra €150.- must be paid for the many additional expenses of transport, lunch and permesso’s.

Become a Benefattore for € 500 per year

As Benefattore, in addition to the aforementioned Amico benefits, you will be invited to the annual Sponsorship Day
in Florence and you will have the opportunity, on payment of €150.- to bring a guest along.

Become a Mecenate for € 1000 per year

Over a period of five years you donate € 1.000,00 annually to sponsor a student or a project of your choice, all in close consultation with the director.

All the activities mentioned above also apply to the Mecenate.

For more information:

The Foundation has the status of Institution for General Benefit (ANBI)
Business name: Vrienden van het Kunsthistorisch Instituut in Florence
ANBI tax number: 7900624
IBAN: NL85 ABNA 0253 61 71 70

The board of the Foundation consists of: Drs. Jeroen L. Torenbeek (chairman), Ir. Drs. Wouter J.N. Hoek (treasurer), Drs. Bernadette E.C.M. Straetmans (secretary), Drs. Ing. Henryk van Hugten, Drs. Christine van Marle-Crommelin, Drs. Hetty E.C. De Mol van Otterloo-Pott Hofstede, Drs. Marina Aarts and Drs. Melanie E. Ruys-van Haaften.