About the Reinwardt Academy
The Reinwardt Academy, part of the Amsterdam University of the Arts, is the sole college offering a bachelor's programme in Cultural Heritage (taught in Dutch). For those who aspire a policy function in the international work field of cultural heritage and museums, the academy offers an English-taught master's programme in Applied Museum & Heritage Studies.
Cultural heritage tells us who we were, determines who we are and encourages us to think about our future. The Reinwardt Academy strives to contribute to this philosophy by positioning itself as one of the foremost knowledge, research, and training centres in this domain, where established as well as future cultural heritage professionals, from all over the world, can exchange knowledge, share inspiring ideas and develop innovative professional products. The academy organizes several debate nights a year, the annual Reinwardt Lecture and international workshops.
Cultural heritage is not an isolated phenomenon, but a quality ascribed to (intangible) matters under specific circumstances. These circumstances are often urgent: something is in danger of disappearing or is under societal or political pressure. Theories concerning the processes and themes involved, as well as research on all potential implications thereof, are central to the Cultural Heritage Research Group programme.
Sustainable monumental building
The Reinwardt Academy is located in a renovated monumental nineteenth-century school building, in the heart of Amsterdam. Key principles of the renovation were sustainability, the preservation of historical elements and the creation of a pleasant and flexible learning and working environment for students and staff. The result is a bright and inspiring building with lecture and meeting rooms, workplaces, a spacious auditorium, and an area for symposia.
The Prussian-Dutch Caspar Georg Carl Reinwardt (1773-1854) was a respected scientist, professor and horticultural director. In the former Dutch East Indies, he brought together extensive collections that later ended up in Dutch natural history and ethnological museums. The academy was named after him in 1976, because this founder of the Leiden state museums had all the skills you would expect from a good museologist. He collected and documented systematically and with wide interest, he advised others and facilitated their research.
On the other hand, Caspar Reinwardt can be seen as someone whose research contributed to the Dutch ‘colonial project’. Is Reinwardt an appropriate name for the academy then? Should it perhaps not be replaced?
Botanical gardens and Caspar Reinwardt are objects of heritage and as such, subjects of an ongoing debate about the impact of the colonial past on the present. Debating about heritage is what is central to our education programmes and staff and students are encouraged to participate. Some time ago, the staff held an emotion networking session on Caspar Reinwardt and a student hung a critical passage from Ewald Vanvugt's book Roofstaat ꟷ about the Dutch colonial past ꟷ in the corridor next to his portrait.
Starting point for discussion
With a keen eye, the academy’s research and education programmes pay attention to the processes of heritage formation and its own role. The name of the academy serves as a good starting point for discussion.