RKDartists as Linked Open Data

RKDartists is a freely available online database that contains biographical data about artists, companies and institutes of various disciplines of visual arts, applied arts and architecture from both the Netherlands as abroad. It also contains information about collectors, art historians, researchers, art critics and other institutes active in the arts domain.

Linked Open Data

Museums, archives and researchers often require information on artists and collectors in order to be able to process their collection data. Those responsible for registering and archiving the data often have to enter this information manually. This is not only time consuming, but the information also has to be updated regularly as new data is found on a regular basis when new archive research has been carried out.

It is much more efficient to use a central source to access this data. Creating and updating data is not the only advantage that such a central source offers. It also allows files and data from museums, archives and research institutes to be linked, offering a semantic web of cultural heritage information. This data can then be linked and shared by way of a standard known as Linked Open Data (LOD). This standard stipulates the structure to be used to present your data so that the information can remain freely available 'forever' under a permanent address (uri). Information published as Linked Open Data forms stable building blocks to which you are free to link your own files. Linked Open Data forms one of the pillars of the Netwerk Digitaal Erfgoed (NDE), the joint information landscape of the heritage sector in the Netherlands. The website is a term network, a service offered by the NDE which gives access to the LOD sources gathered.

The RKD shares bibliographical data in RKDartists with the world as Linked Open Data and in doing so follows the NDE Term network. A lot of information on persons or companies in ARKartists is also shared with the world via LOD. Below you can find the technical and functional instructions for using the LOD service and the data from RKDartists.


RKD made the RKDartists LOD available under the 'Open Data Common Attribution License (ODC-BY) version 1.0'. The f text below gives a summary of the conditions to use the service and data:

You are free:

  • To share: to copy, distribute and use the database
  • To create: to produce works from the database
  • To adapt: to modify, transform and build upon the database

As long as you:

  • Attribute: You must attribute any public use of the database, or works produced from the database, in the manner specified in the license. For any use or redistribution of the database, or works produced from it, you must make clear to others the license of the database and keep intact any notices on the original database.

Therefore, it is free to use the data as long as you 'Attribute'. The RKD recommends you do so by linking back (deep link) to the RKDartists records in the original RKDartists context. By linking back you make a connection to the complete context of the data including the sources for the data. We believe this type of 'Attribution' is the best way to justify the idea of LOD. Click here for more details about the license.

Which RKDartists data are available as LOD?

All persons and institutes included in RKDartists are accessible as LOD. However, not all field elements are available. The most important elements such as 'preferred name', 'name variations', 'gender', 'nationality/school', 'places and dates of birth and death' have been entered; all essential biographical data to load or connect to your own data, are available as LOD.

For a complete overview of available elements please refer to the 'List of RKDartists elements'. In this list you can also find a complete overview of RDF elements according to the metadata standard SCHEMA.ORG for the types PERSON and ORGANIZATION.

Data such as 'teacher', 'pupil', 'sources and literature' and certain other elements are not (yet) available as LOD. In the second section of the 'List of RKDartists elements' you can find a complete list of elements that are not (yet) available.

As mentioned under 'license' you are free to use our data, but please link back to our data in RKDartists. By linking your data to RKDartists you connect your data in the semantic web and your data are connected to the complete data context in RKDartists. You can connect your data by using the following url:

Persistent URI to retrieve biographical data from RKDartists

Alle personen en instellingen in RKDartists kunnen met bijbehorende informatie via een persistent identifier worden aangeroepen. De persistent identifier is als volgt samengesteld: The number in the uri is identical to the number in the upper right corner of the screen in the detail presentation in the RKDartists web interface:

For example, the persistent identifier to retrieve the biographical record of Rembrandt can be found in the upper right corner, for Rembrandt the number is 66219. So the uri returns the biographical data for Rembrandt.

The uri supports 'content negotiation'. This means that the same uri executed from a web browser returns the 'human readable' page for Rembrandt in RKD Explore, while this uri executed in a software code returns data in for example RDF. 

You can use a command line utility such as cURL to retrieve data in four different standards:

  • JSON-LD: curl -L -H "Accept: application/ld+json" ""
  • RDF/XML: curl -L -H "Accept: application/rdf+xml" ""
  • Turtle curl: -L -H "Accept: text/turtle" ""
  • N-triples: curl -L -H "Accept: application/n-triples" ""

Dump RKDartists dataset

Alongside retrieving individual records you also can load a complete dump containing all persons and institutes from RKDartists. The dump contains all data elements listed in the 'List of RKDartists elements' at the end of this document. The dump is also available in four standards. Download links for the data dumps:

Retrieval data set description (in DCAT)

Use the url to retrieve the DCAT file of the RKD. This url also supports content-negotiation. For example, by using the command line utility cURL you can retrieve the DCAT file in the standard of your preference.

  • JSON-LD: curl -L -H "Accept: application/ld+json" ""
  • RDF/XML: curl -L -H "Accept: application/rdf+xml" ""
  • Turtle: curl -L -H "Accept: text/turtle" ""
  • N-triples: curl -L -H "Accept: application/n-triples" ""

Searching RKDartists by a SPARQL-endpoint in the data environment of NDE (Network for Digital Heritage)

Finally, we offer a SPARQL service to search the RKDartists dataset in the NDE data environment. On the webpage you can find some example SPARQL queries. Three examples offered in this list are:

List of RKDartists elements

Open Search

The RKD also publishes RKDartists as Open Search with data in EAC format. We recommend using the RKDartists Linked Open Data web service, but we will continue to support the Open Search EAC. Click here for information about the Open Search.