National Institute for Subatomic Physics (Nikhef)

The National Institute for Subatomic Physics (Nikhef) is involved in the quest for answers to some of the biggest questions in physics: what is the universe made of, and how exactly does it work? At Nikhef, scientists and technicians work together in particle and astroparticle physics on research into the smallest building blocks of matter, and the interplay of forces between them. They study these elementary particles in collision processes at the large particle accelerators, such as CERN near Geneva. Nikhef coordinates the Netherlands' experimental activities.


Nikhef scientists and technicians played a key role in the discovery of the famous Higgs particle. Nikhef researchers also study interactions between particles and radiation from space in, for example, the atmosphere or seawater. The necessary experiments can only be carried out thanks to intensive collaboration at a national and international level.

Ultramodern equipment

Nikhef's research is based on the development of innovative technologies and ultramodern equipment. This is done in close collaboration with industrial partners.

In ICT, Nikhef is a leading supplier of grid and cloud computing, and houses part of AMS-IX, one of the world’s largest Internet exchange points.

Nikhef also supports high-quality education, and organises a range of activities such as master classes and open days to raise interest in research.


Nikhef is a collaborative venture between the FOM Foundation and the Radboud University Nijmegen, the University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University and the VU University Amsterdam.


An agreement between FOM, the city of Amsterdam and Philips, led in 1946 to the founding of the Institute for Nuclear Physics Research (IKO). In 1975, an agreement was signed between the FOM Foundation, the IKO Foundation, the University of Amsterdam and the Catholic University of Nijmegen, establishing the Nationaal Instituut voor Kernfysica en Hoge-Energie-Fysica (NIKHEF). The other universities subsequently joined the venture, and the institute now continues as the National Institute for Subatomic Physics (Nikhef).

NIKHEF is an Institute of the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I) and is a part of the the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.



Science Park 105
1098 XG Amsterdam
The Netherlands
T: +31 20 5922000