Gerrit Rietveld Academie

Published on July 23, 2015


The Gerrit Rietveld Academie occupies two buildings: the main building, designed by Gerrit Rietveld, and the new building from 2003, designed by the architectural firm Benthem Crouwel Architects.

The main building was designed by architect and furniture designer Gerrit Rietveld between 1950 and 1963 and completed in 1966. It is the largest of Gerrit Rietveld’s buildings. There was a long period of preparation between its commission and its completion, during which important developments took place in Rietveld’s way of designing. Gerrit Rietveld did not live to see the building’s completion, as he passed away while construction was still going on. The academy moved into the building in 1967. When the school became part of the higher professional education system in 1968 and was given the status of Academy for Fine Arts and Design, the name was changed to the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in honour of Rietveld. Much of the building was renovated in 2004.


The new building was designed by Benthem Crouwel Architects and built in 2003 as an expansion of the Rietveld Academie. Studios can be found on the north side of this building, and offices in the south wing. The south and east facades of the building are clad with 16,000 cast glass elements. The building houses the departments of Fine Arts, Audio-visual, and the Master’s programmes of the Sandberg Institute. The library, Buro Rietveld and a small exhibition area are located on the ground floor.

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The Gerrit Rietveld Academie is a university of applied sciences for Fine Arts and Design. They offer one Bachelor’s degree programme and four Master’s programmes. The Academie offers the Bachelor’s degree programme Art & Design (formerly the two programmes Fine Arts and Design). This combination expresses their vision concerning art education in which autonomous and applied art form a single entity. This degree programme has twelve specialisations. All students follow a general first year (the Basic Year) and then choose one of these specialisations for in-depth study in the following three years. The Rietveld Academie also offers a part-time Bachelor’s programme. The Basis Year of the part-time Bachelor’s programme lasts two years and is followed by three years of in-depth study.

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Once you have gained your Bachelor’s degree (BA in Art & Design) you can go on to take a Master’s Degree. Master’s degree programmes are offered at the Sandberg Instituut. They currently offer four Master’s degrees: Master of Fine Arts, Master of Design, Master of Applied Art and Master of Interior Design. The Sandberg Instituut also offers a varying number of temporary programmes in response to specific social or artistic issues.

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They offer a range of preparatory programmes for students who wish to prepare for a degree programme at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. In the Orientation Year, you spend 25 Saturday afternoons taking classes at the Academie. The Orientation Year is sufficient to build up a good portfolio and to establish whether the Rietveld is right for you. Besides this they offer a Preliminary Programme in which you take lessons for 3 or 4 half-day sessions per week. Once you have successfully completed the Preliminary Programme year, you can enter the Basis Year, provided you have at least a HAVO/MBO4 qualification (Senior General Secondary Education/Senior Secondary Vocational Education Level 4).

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The Gerrit Rietveld Academie aims to support talented young people in such a way that they can operate independently in the field of visual arts or design. They want to enable them to sustain their work on their own and become sources of artistic inspiration in their area of specialisation.


Wants to optimally develop the capacities and creativity of the individual. They respect the individual and his freedom to develop a personal approach and develop his own future. They value research, experimentation and authorship, and attach great importance to maintaining an open attitude towards the environment while supporting involvement with others and society. They do this on the basis of their own individual vision of what art education should be.


The Rietveld Academie is an international academy. With 45% of our students coming from outside the Netherlands and representing more than 60 countries, they reflect the character of the world of arts & culture today. They regard the bringing together of different cultures in our academy as a strength, challenging students and lecturers to take different perspectives.


The origins of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy can be traced back to the merger of three schools in 1924 to form the Instituut voor Kunstnijverheidsonderwijs (Institute for Education in the Applied Arts), or Kunstnijverheidsschool (School of Applied Arts) for short. From 1939 to 1960, the study programme was heavily influenced by the functionalist and socio-critical ideas of De Stijl and the Bauhaus, partly thanks to the role of the socialist architect Mart Stam, who was the director of the programme. The role and influence of the autonomous visual arts and individual expression increased from the 1960s onwards, particularly in the 1970s. Together with a practical orientation and a critical mentality, these influences continue to define much of the face of the academy today. In 1967, the school moved to its present academy building, designed by architect and furniture designer Gerrit Rietveld. When the school became part of the higher professional education system in 1968 and was given the status of an Academy for Fine Arts and Design, the name was changed to the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in honour of Rietveld, who had passed away in 1965.

Gerrit Rietveld Academie



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