The Archives collection currently contains almost 2000 meters of archive material on artists, artist associations, art historians, art critics, gallery owners, art dealers, collectors, restorers, designers and others affiliated with the field of Fine Arts and Design in one way or another.

The private archives all have their own unique composition and structure. The term 'archive' is globally used for a collection of documents made or received by a person, group of people or institution for the purpose of fulfilling their duties and tasks. For artists these are documents related to the arts, including personal documents such as passports and diplomas, correspondence, diary entries and notes, work and project files and sketches for pre-studies.

The RKD currently manages around 700 archives. This number grows annually with around 25 new archives which vary greatly in their size. An archive overview listing all the archives in the RKD collections can be found in the RKDcollections database. Archives with an available accompanying inventory can be found in the RKDarchives database.