Netherlands Institute for Conservation Art and Science

Netherlands Institute for Conservation Art and Science (NICAS) is a new innovative interdisciplinary research center housed in the Ateliergebouw in Amsterdam, uniting art history, conservation and science. The center, initiated in collaboration with the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), will work in cooperation with the Rijksmuseum (RM), the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE), the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft).

The center invites other organizations – independent of size – to participate in the research.

Board members

The NICAS is headed by a Board with members from all lead partners:

  • RM: Taco Dibbits (chair)
  • RCE: Cees van 't Veen
  • UvA: Frank van Vree
  • TU Delft: Dirk Jan van den Berg
  • NWO: Louis Vertegaal

Scientific Working Group

In addition, the NICAS has a Scientific Working Group (SWG), that has as its main priority the scientific cohesion of the center.
The SWG has to set the necessary parameters to make sure that the research is of excellent international standard and should strengthen the position of the Centre, nationally and internationally. In addition, the SWG should suggest incentives to change competitive behaviour that serves only the interests of the individual researcher or project in order to create the communal research environment with an international reputation envisioned for the NICAS. The SWG should make a persuasive case for the direction in which the Center needs to develop that the Board is willing to follow.

Members of the scientific working group:

  • Arian van Asten (Netherlands Forensic Institute, University of Amsterdam)
  • Maarten van Bommel (Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, University of Amsterdam)
  • Joris Dik (Delft University of Technology)
  • Rob Erdmann (Rijksmuseum, University of Amsterdam, Radboud University Nijmegen)
  • Robert van Langh (Rijksmuseum, chair)
  • Noushine Shahidzadeh (University of Amsterdam)
  • Ron Spronk (Queen's University, Radboud University Nijmegen)

International Review Committee

The International Review Committee acts as a final quality control for proposals submitted to the NICAS. It does not have a strategic role in deciding the research lines of the center.

Research at the NICAS

Broadly, the Center aims to foster innovative research unifying three different disciplines: art history, conservation, science. The major themes are taken from the vision statement in the white paper booklet Science for Arts of the Netherlands (pdf)

Knowledge Areas

  • Material dynamics
  • Diagnostics
  • A new type of art history
  • Conservation treatments

Major Themes

  • Origin of the artwork
  • Life of the artwork through time