The National Museum of Ethnology (Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde in Dutch) is a world-renowned museum which centers around collection-based research, conservation, exhibitions and events. Since its founding over 175 years ago, museum staff has been active in knowledge creation and ethnographic collecting. This continues today, with museum curators and researchers making their work available through exhibitions, educational products, publications and social media. We believe in generously sharing heritage and co-creating knowledge. Fundamental questions on decolonization, ethics, language and collection histories underlie our practice. We provide maximum collections' access to our stakeholders through online and physical access and uphold an active fieldwork and collecting program.


Our collections materialize stories on historical processes of encounter, continuity and change, colonialism and on contemporary societal issues such as migration, tourism, heritage and identity. The museum promotes collection-focused research taking as a starting point its extensive holdings of 240.000 objects of material culture, and over half a million related items such as photographs, archives, manuscripts, sound recordings and films. The museum also holds a large and actively maintained research library in the fields of ethnography, art, material culture, cultural heritage and museum studies. We facilitate numerous international cooperation projects that are carried out in collaboration with stakeholder communities, in particular indigenous peoples and academic and institutional partners. An International Internship and Research Associates program and the Steven Engelsman Grant contribute to collaborative research on the collections.



Collection & library

The National Museum of Ethnology houses a total of around 240.000 objects, in addition to a multimedia archive containing over 500.000 items. The entire collection is accessible online through our collections website. The catalogue of our research library, which holds over 40.000 volumes, is available online as well.

> Collection & library

Digital publications

The curators of the National Museum of Ethnology conduct extensive research into items the collection of the museum. Parts of this research have been published in a series of digital publications, which are available in their entirety in this section of the website.

> Digital publications