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Preserving the past and shaping the future

The Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage is the federal institution that documents, studies and preserves Belgium's cultural and artistic heritage.

Our services

Public institutions, but also owners of private collections in Belgium and abroad, can apply to our institution for the conservation, study and documentation of works of art and other heritage objects. You can contact us for:

  • Conservation of art works
  • Scientific analysis methods and dating techniques
  • Photography and scientific imaging
  • Art historical research

We share our knowledge and expertise

One of the core tasks of the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage is collecting, archiving and disseminating the scientific research data from all disciplines covered by our experts. We also play a pioneering role in the field of Open Data in the arts and heritage sector. We want to share our knowledge and expertise with the heritage sector and the general public as much as possible.

  • Discover our exceptional range of documentation
  • Read more about our activities
  • Join our team as an employee or intern

The Erfgoed Challenge Patrimoine

The Heritage Challenge (Erfgoed Challenge Patrimoine) is an initiative hoping to restore at least ten fine examples of Belgian cultural heritage in the lead-up to Belgium’s 200th birthday in 2030, with the help of the public.

Every year, the victory allows for a year’s worth of help by KIK-IRPA for communications and fundraising for the winning object.

In 2024, with the support of the public, we want to start the research, conservation-restoration and valorisation of the painting The Preaching of John the Baptist.

The restauration of the Ghent Altarpiece

The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (1432), created by the Van Eyck brothers and kept at Saint Bavo’s Cathedral (Ghent), is considered one of the most important masterpieces of Western European painting.

Since 2012, the painting has undergone research and restoration by the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA). The project is now in its third and final phase: the treatment of the upper panels of the interior of the polyptych (2023-2026).

News from the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage


Chancellor Rolin in 3.5 billion pixels. A masterpiece by Van Eyck as you've never seen it before


The Louvre in Paris recently solicited the services of KIK-IRPA for the exhibition 'Revoir Van Eyck. La Vierge du Chancelier Rolin', which runs until June 17, 2024. The painting of The Madonna of Chancellor Rolin, freshly restored, was captured in images again by our teams. Moreover, it got its own section on the Closer to Van Eyck website.

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Third phase Ghent Altarpiece: First results promise stunning outcome


Since May 2023, the third and final phase of the large-scale conservation-restoration campaign of the altarpiece of the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA) is ongoing. In recent months, the KIK-IRPA team have been removing non-original varnishes and have carried out a thorough examination of the paint layers underneath. Currently, following the advice of the international commission of experts, they have started removing 16th-century overpaints. Already the first results are breathtakingly beautiful.

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