publication date 29-6-2017

General director Rijksakademie Els van Odijk steps down at the end of 2017

Els van Odijk will step down at the end of 2017 as director of the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten. She will however remain connected with the institute in an artistic advisory position. The Supervisory Board will, in consultation with Van Odijk, initiate the search procedure for a possible successor.
During the last seven years, Van Odijk has been working as director of the Rijksakademie. Van Odijk cited 'an unstoppable need to dedicate myself to artistic and content-related subjects again' as the main reason for her departure. At the same time, Van Odijk wants to make room for her successor at the right time. "This is the right time to hand over the baton. In 2020, the Rijksakademie will be 150 years old. At that time, the new policy plans must be ready. It is important that the new person in charge will really have been given the time and opportunity to become the face of this institute, and create, together with our advisors, a new, future-oriented image of the artistic practice."
Van Odijk joined the Rijksakademie in the 1980s. Initially as a freelance employee whose task involved the development of the institute's international policy. When the academy acquired its autonomous status in 2000, she became a full member of the managing board. As director, she was confronted in 2012 with the cultural cutbacks, which halved the Rijksakademie's government subsidy. A new round of substantial cuts in the institutions in and around the Randstad, including the Rijksakademie, followed in 2016.
According to Chris Buijink, chairman of the Supervisory Board, Van Odijk nevertheless gloriously succeeded in maintaining the quality and reputation of the Rijksakademie at an internationally high level. "The Rijksakademie and the Supervisory Board owe her a lot of gratitude. She has played a prominent role in the development and anchoring of our international reputation. Through her leadership, active sponsor recruitment, a major staffing reorganization and the purchase of the building in which the Rijksakademie is located, Van Odijk has led the Rijksakademie through a difficult phase. This is why we find ourselves, despite all the budget cuts, still in a good position.”

“But that is not something to be taken for granted”, says Buijink. "Here at home, the scope of the institute is still underestimated. The Rijksakademie is one of the most important exponents of the Dutch art policy. The alumni from the Netherlands and abroad are, without exception, the ambassadors of that policy anywhere in the world. The institute is a pressure cooker for the future forefront of art. A unique place that shows that the Netherlands is able to attract and develop top talent at the highest level."
At the request of the Supervisory Board, Van Odijk will continue to fulfill her position until her successor has been appointed. After that, she will remain part-time at the Rijksakademie until the end of 2018. Van Odijk: "At the Rijksakademie in particular, my key points of focus were the subjects globalization and international cooperation and partnerships, but also themes such as art, science and innovation. It is obvious that I will stay active in these areas. The exact implementation of this will obviously be decided in close consultation with the Supervisory Board and my successor."


Danielle Kars (executive secretary)

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