The Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten was established in 1870 by King Willem III as the successor to the Koninklijke Akademie van Beeldende Kunsten which was founded as a national academy by Royal Decree in 1817. In de Rijksakademie collections the history of these institutes and their academic tradition are visible from their original inception in the Amsterdam-based Stads Tekenacademie (18th century) and the Konstkamer (17th century). In the past, artists such as August Allebé, Antoon Derkinderen, Willem Witsen, Jan Veth, Jan Toorop, Berlage, Breitner, Piet Mondrian, Constant, Karel Appel and many more were associated with the Rijksakademie.

From classical academy to artists’ residency
The Rijksakademie in its present form as a residency is the result of a development process that began in the nineteen eighties. The “scholastic” concept was abandoned, knowledge and skills were no longer offered at a structured, educational level. Teaching programs were thrown overboard, classrooms converted into individual studios. Teachers made way for experienced artists and advisors, students made way for young artists from home and abroad who had already graduated and had several years’ practical experience. The advisors discussed the work and work process with resident artists in individual studio visits.

This radical reorganisation was the key to success, in which the later autonomous status (November 1999) proved a catalyst for the international positioning and profiling.

The international significance of the Rijksakademie grew and continues to grow. The number of applications increases annually, and the quality of the applicants remains high. Residents come from all over the world, in 2011 twenty-six nationalities are represented. The Rijksakademie attracts top talent from all corners of the globe.