New public areas for the RKD

The RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History has started work on refurbishing its public spaces. To reduce disruption the RKD will be closed to the public from 28 September until 9 October. When we reopen there will be more space for meeting, presenting and exhibiting. Large workshop tables and spacious work stations will allow sufficient space for distancing and where possible materials are being reused to ensure sustainability.

Layout with more space

Since 1982 the RKD has been housed in the KB complex right next to The Hague's Central Station. Within five years we expect to move to a new location in the centre. While waiting for this move, it is a good moment to refit our public spaces. The architect Jan David Hanrath has designed a new layout for the entrance area and our reading and study rooms, as far as possible using all existing furniture and repurposing materials, which is both economical and a responsible use of resources. He was also given the task of creating more space: sufficient work stations, an professionally equipped exhibition area, a welcoming meeting area, a separate section for special gatherings, as well as an area for workshops and lectures.

Exhibition, study, meeting and presentation

Combining many functions in a single restricted space was a challenge for Jan David Hanrath: "It was a real puzzle to make sure that the exhibition, study, meeting and presentation sections can operate alongside each other in the RKD. The exhibition area – providing an introduction to the RKD and the temporary exhibition 'Aan het werk' (Getting to work) – becomes an intriguing starting point for a visit to the RKD, and at the same time it provides an attractive transition between the meeting area and the quiet work stations. In addition there is a more private section where small groups can be accommodated. In the exhibition area I was able to make good use of the shelving left over following the digitisation of the RKD’s visual documentation, and even the green boxes have found a new home!"

A welcoming House for Art History

With its new public spaces, the RKD has entered a new phase fitting its mission and vision. General director Chris Stolwijk: "Our ambition is to grow further as a welcoming House for Art History and as the place where anybody interested in the visual arts in the Netherlands can come along. This refurbishment has been designed with the future in mind, when we will be able to move into our new premises in the centre of The Hague." The public spaces will be completed by the end of October and we look forward to giving our visitors a warm welcome in a contemporary space full of possibilities.

Layout by Jan David Hanrath for the exhibition in the new public area of ​​the RKD 

Image top of page: Willem Bastiaan Tholen, Houses under construction, 1895, Kröller-Müller Museum