Collecting Europe. In search of European antiquities for the national archaeological collection (1824-1970)


Shortly after the foundation of the National museum of Antiquities (RMO) by King William I in 1818, its different focal areas for collecting antiquities crystallized. Next to antiquities from Egypt, the Classical world, the Near East and the Netherlands, the acquisition of archaeological finds from other European countries was initiated from 1824 onwards. Over the course of a century and a half this European collection swelled to 7500 objects from countries such as Denmark, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Hungary and Russia. The collection harbours numerous superb pieces that would not look out of place in the national museums of these countries themselves. Nevertheless on October 1st 1956 the 'Ancient Europe' galleries in the museum were closed down. The collections were relegated to the storage rooms and were gradually forgotten. These rooms now form the hiding place of an undiscovered hoard of artefacts and stories that has hardly been delved into.
The project 'Collecting Europe' intends to re-open this treasure trove. The aim is to shed new light on the objects and have them recount their stories by means of extensive archival research in combination with modern archaeological techniques. Stories of important finds and sites, but especially of historical contacts and a growing, dynamic network of museums of antiquities across Europe. Central to this are the ambitions of a young nation to amass a reputation in the European political arena as well as the decision taken to discontinue those activities a century and half later. The research project also envisages creating a web platform that will allow visitors to actively participate 'on the curator's chair'.


Hoofdstuk in boek

Publicatie bedoeld voor een breed publiek

  • LWSW Amkreutz(2016): Op weg in Oud-Europa pp. 53 - 53 ISSN: 15667553.
  • L.W.S.W. Amkreutz(2018): Oud Europa. Een 'slapende' collectie pp. 56 - 59 ISSN: 15667553.
  • LWSW Amkreutz(2018): Europa Verzameld pp. 54 - 57 ISSN: 2542-5455.





Dr. L.W.S.W. Amkreutz

Verbonden aan

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden


01/09/2016 tot 01/09/2018