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Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

Coordinates: 52°22′17.5″N 4°53′59″E / 52.371528°N 4.89972°E / 52.371528; 4.89972
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Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science
Formation8 May 1808; 216 years ago (1808-05-08)[1]
Coordinates52°22′17.5″N 4°53′59″E / 52.371528°N 4.89972°E / 52.371528; 4.89972
Marileen Dogterom
Websitewww.knaw.nl/en/ Edit this at Wikidata
Formerly called
Royal Institute of Science, Letters and Fine Arts[3]

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (Dutch: Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, abbr. KNAW) is an organization dedicated to the advancement of science and literature in the Netherlands. The academy is housed in the Trippenhuis in Amsterdam.

In addition to various advisory and administrative functions it operates a number of research institutes and awards many prizes, including the Lorentz Medal in theoretical physics, the Dr Hendrik Muller Prize for Behavioural and Social Science and the Heineken Prizes.

Main functions[edit]

The academy advises the Dutch government on scientific matters. While its advice often pertains to genuine scientific concerns, it also counsels the government on such topics as policy on careers for researchers or the Netherlands' contribution to major international projects. The academy offers solicited and unsolicited advice to parliament, ministries, universities and research institutes, funding agencies and international organizations.

  • Advising the government on matters related to scientific research
  • Providing a forum for the scientific world and promoting international scientific cooperation
  • Acting as an umbrella organization for the institutes primarily engaged in basic and strategic scientific research and disseminating information

Members and organization[edit]

The members are appointed for life by co-optation. Nominations for candidate membership by persons or organizations outside the academy are accepted. The acceptance criterion is delivered scientific achievements. Academy membership is therefore regarded as a great honor, and prestigious. Besides regular members, there are foreign members and corresponding members. Since a new membership system was introduced in 2011 there will be no new corresponding members. Each year a maximum of sixteen members are appointed to the academy.[4]

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences has long embraced the entire field of learning. The Royal Academy comprises two departments, consisting of around 500 members:[4]

  • Science (mathematics, physics, astronomy, life sciences, and engineering sciences)
  • Humanities and Social Sciences (humanities, law, behavioural sciences and social sciences)

Both departments have their own board. The departments, in turn, are divided into sections. The highest organ in the academy is the general meeting of members, the united meeting of both departments. The president was Frits van Oostrom until 1 May 2008, after which he was succeeded by Robbert Dijkgraaf. Both van Oostrom in his leaving address and Dijkgraaf in his inaugural address have voiced their worries about the low level of funding in science in the Netherlands compared to almost all other western countries. A list of presidents of the academy is as follows:[5]


During the Kingdom of Holland, it was founded as the Koninklijk Instituut van Wetenschappen, Letterkunde en Schoone Kunsten (Royal Institute of Sciences, Literature and Fine Arts) by Lodewijk Napoleon on May 4, 1808. In 1816, after the occupation had ended, it was renamed to Koninklijk-Nederlandsch Instituut van Wetenschappen, Letteren en Schoone Kunsten. In 1851, it was disbanded and re-established as the Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen and in 1938 obtained its present name. Since 1812, the academy has resided in the Trippenhuis in Amsterdam.

The institute was awarded the Gouden Ganzenveer in 1955.[6]

Research institutes[edit]

The following Research institutes are associated with the KNAW:[7]

Young Academy[edit]

De Jonge Akademie (The Young Academy) is a society of younger science researchers, founded in 2005 as part of the KNAW. Ten members are elected each year for a term of five years; members are scientists between 25 and 45 years old and are selected for a record of excellence in their research. It was modelled after the similar German Junge Akademie and both of these academies in turn were used as models for the Global Young Academy.[9][10]

Society of Arts[edit]

The Society of Arts (Akademie van Kunsten) is a society of prominent artists from various disciplines, including architecture, visual arts, dance, film, photography, literature, music and performing arts. Its aim is to be the place "for debate about the value of art in society and about the relationship between art and science".The Society of Arts was established by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014. Both are seated in the 17th century Trippenhuis in Amsterdam. At the start the Society of Arts had 19 members. Each year the number of members increases with 6 new members who are offered a membership for life. In 2022 the Society of Arts has 76 members. Members of the Society of Arts are elected by nomination. Anyone can nominate leading artists from all disciplines who have distinguished themselves on the basis of demonstrable artistic achievements.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 1808 – Signed: Louis, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved on 2013-09-20.
  2. ^ a b Contact, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved on 2013-09-20.
  3. ^ History of the Academy, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved on 2013-09-20.
  4. ^ a b "The Academy's members". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Voormalige presidenten KNAW - KNAW". knaw.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 2023-10-30.
  6. ^ "Laureaten De Gouden Ganzenveer vanaf 1955". Stichting De Gouden Ganzenveer. 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
  7. ^ "The Academy Institutes". Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  8. ^ "The Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience". KNAW. Archived from the original on Aug 7, 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  9. ^ Loerts, Hanneke (June 2009), "De Jonge Akademie, a new and a leaving member meet" (PDF), Newsletter of the Graduate School for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurosciences: 1–3, archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-11-23.
  10. ^ Brück, Tilman; Beaudry, Catherine; Hilgenkamp, Hans; Karoonuthaisiri, Nitsara; Salah el Din Mohamed, Hiba; Weiss, Gregory A. (April 2010), "Empowering Young Scientists" (PDF), Science, 328 (5974): 17, doi:10.1126/science.1185745, PMID 20360070.

External links[edit]