Research Center for Material Culture

The Research Center for Material Culture (RCMC) is a flagship research institute within the Tropenmuseum (Amsterdam), Museum Volkenkunde (Leiden), Afrika Museum (Berg en Dal) and the Wereldmuseum (Rotterdam) that serves as a focal point for research on ethnographic collections in the Netherlands. We foster interdisciplinary research, focused on our internationally renowned collections, which comprise over 376.000 objects and almost 1.000.000 photographs cataloguing the diversity of world cultures. Our research projects and programs address the historical and contemporary meanings of these collections, the national and global histories of which they are a part, and the contemporary societal questions around issues of heritage, cultural identity and belonging that these objects raise.

Our Research

The RCMC is committed to research at the highest academic standard, while promoting the widest possible accessibility to the knowledge we generate. We strive to be a vibrant hub within national and international networks of research partners, fostering research collaborations with individuals and institutions. 

At the RCMC we:
  • foster innovation and critical approaches to understanding, interpreting and displaying our collections, and ethnographic collections more generally;
  • encourage the development of new strategies for their proper care and preservation;
  • contribute to the development of state-of-the-art approaches to engaging various local and international audiences through collections-based research and programming.
“Where objects come alive”
Working with us

As a hub in a network of research partners, the RCMC is involved in a number of research projects both nationally and internationally. With these global collaborating partners and projects we are involved in ongoing research projects, exploring the meaning of our collections for originating communities and for our different stakeholders in the Netherlands. Currently we are involved in the following international research projects.


Wayne Modest
Head Research Center for Material Culture
Ninja Rijnks-Kleikamp
Coordinator Research Center for Material Culture
Amal Alhaag
Programming Research Center for Material Culture
Carolyn Nakamura
Senior Researcher & Research Coordinator
Rita Ouedraogo
Research Programmer & (Community) Collaborations
Robin Lelijveld
Juliette Huijgen
Communications & Production Manager