Symposium Rembrandt Conservation Histories

On 8 and 9 November 2018, the Rijksmuseum will host an international symposium on the history of conservation of paintings by the Dutch 17th-century master, Rembrandt van Rijn.

Register here


beeld1 The symposium is organised on the occasion of the research and treatment of the portraits of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit by Rembrandt van Rijn, jointly acquired by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Musée du Louvre in Paris. It will be the first in a series of conferences on the history of conservation. In the future, similar conferences will be organised on the treatment history of paintings by Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer and Jan Steen.


Important masterpieces in museum collections, such as the paintings by Rembrandt, often have the dubious honour to have undergone numerous conservation treatments in the past. Because of the significance of the paintings, these treatments are generally well documented. For instance, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp (Mauritshuis, The Hague) has undergone twenty-three documented treatments, while those of The Night Watch (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) add up to twenty-five. Rembrandt’s paintings are distributed all over the world throughout major collections. Some works have been in the same city or collection from early on. The Night Watch never left the city of Amsterdam apart from its peregrinations during World War II. Other paintings, such as the Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) travelled widely and changed ownership several times, ending up in museum collections in the United States. Every country has its own traditions, developments and approaches to conservation, with important restorers who have played a key role in the treatment and appearance of Rembrandt paintings.


The aim of this conference is to heighten awareness of how the appearance and condition of paintings by Rembrandt can (partly) be explained by their treatment history.


Please find the programme here (pdf)

Tour Conservation Studios

On Wednesday 7 November we offer a tour through the Conservation Studios in the Ateliergebouw during pre-registration (see programme for the times).


Thursday 8 November

Registration, poster pitch sessions and presentations, including a keynote lecture by Gregor Weber as well as presentations on the conservation histories of Marten & Oopjen and the Night Watch.
The day will be concluded with drinks in the Foyer.

Friday 9 November

Registration, poster pitch sessions and presentations, including keynote lectures by prof. Joyce Hill Stoner and emeritus prof. Jørgen Wadum.

To close the two-day symposium, drinks and finger food will be served in the Foyer and you will be given the opportunity to enjoy the Gallery of Honour including the Nightwatch after closing hours.


Key note lectures will be given by:

  • Gregor Weber (Head of Fine and Decorative Arts, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)
  • Joyce Hill Stoner (Professor of Material Culture, Program in Art Conservation, Winterthur/ University of Delaware)
  • Jørgen Wadum (Professor emeritus UvA, Director of the Centre for Art Technological Studies and Conservation CATS)

Information for presenters

Call for Posters

beeld2 The aim of the conference is to heighten awareness of how the appearance and condition of paintings by Rembrandt can (partly) be explained by their treatment history.

We now welcome poster contributions that address aspects relating to the conservation history of paintings by Rembrandt or other Dutch 17th-century masters. The authors are given the opportunity to present their poster in a 5 minute pitch.

Abstracts should describe original, unpublished work. They will be included in the book of abstracts that will accompany the conference. At least one author is required to register for each poster and pay the corresponding registration fee.

Please submit your abstract here.
The abstract word limit is 500 words (no images).

Important dates

Call for Posters open: 26 February 2018
Deadline submission: 30 May 2018
Authors acceptance notification: 15 June 2018
Preliminary programme online: 1 July 2018
Registration open: End of February 2018

Conference Committee

  • Robert van Langh (Rijksmuseum Head of Conservation & Science)
  • Petria Noble (Rijksmuseum Head of Paintings Conservation)
  • Esther van Duijn (Rijksmuseum Paintings conservator and researcher)
  • Gregor Weber (Rijksmuseum Head of Fine and Decorative Arts)
  • Erma Hermens (Rijksmuseum Senior Researcher in Technical Art History/ UvA Professor of Studio Practice and Technical Art History)
  • Mireille te Marvelde (Frans Hals Museum Paintings Conservator)
  • Michiel Franken (RKD Curator Technical Documentation, Rembrandt and the Rembrandt School)
  • Maartje Stols-Witlox (UvA Assistant Professor Paintings Conservation)


The venue will be in the auditorium of the Rijksmuseum located at Museumstraat 1 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Plan your stay

Amsterdam is very busy during the month of November, so we recommend you book your hotel soon! We encourage you to book your hotel via this booking website to guarantee the best rates.

Address and contact

Contact information:
Mail address: Hobbemastraat 22, 1071 ZC, Amsterdam
Telephone: +31 (0)20 674 7000


8 and 9 November 2018


The registration fee includes an abstract book, refreshments and lunch, and complimentary 2-day entrance to the Rijksmuseum.

The deadline for Early Bird registration is 13 September 2018 23:59 UTC. You must register and pay before this date to receive the Early Bird ticket. After this date, all new and unpaid registrations will be charged the Late fee.

Regular participant

  • Early-bird fee 1 day ticket: € 200,00
  • Early-bird fee 2 day ticket: € 350,00

  • Late fee 1 day ticket: € 300,00

  • Late fee 2 day ticket: € 500,00

Student participant

  • Student 2 day ticket: € 125,00 (limited tickets available)
  • Students have to send proof of their student status to the conference e-mail address before purchasing their ticket.

Cancellation fee
Before 14 September 2018: 50 % of your fee
After 14 September 2018: no refund


Rijksmuseum, Museumstraat 1 Amsterdam