Koninklijk Instituut voor het Kunstpatrimonium – Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA)
Established in 1948, the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage is one of ten scientific institutions falling within the competence of the Federal Ministry of Scientific Policy. KIK-IRPA is committed to the inventory, the scientific study, the conservation and the promotion of the country’s artistic and cultural property. The Institute, whose chief mission is research and public service, represents a unique instrument for the heritage of our country, both movable and immovable.
Three departments group art historians, photographers, chemists, physicists and conservator-restorers. By comparing their observations, they gather reference material and study works of art from different points of view: their composition, evolution, ageing of materials and how to treat them. Any restoration treatment will be based on this detailed pre-study.
Our specialists advise researchers and curators of both public and private collections.
An impressive Information Centre is open to the public. It comprises a photo library containing over one million photos, 644.000 of which are accessible online, and a library specialised in art history offering nearly 50.000 works and around 1500 periodicals. Furthermore, the publications, the photo inventory and the organization of courses, conferences and seminars reflect the role KIK-IRPA plays in the promotion of heritage and the diffusion of tools for researchers and the public.The Institute groups laboratories, conservation-restoration workshops,photographic workshops, a photo library and a library in a single building. The building was designed in such a way as to join together very different work units and obtain an interdisciplinary approach to works of art.