The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (In Dutch: Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, abbreviated: KNAW) is an organisation dedicated to the advancement of science and literature in the Netherlands. The Academy is housed at the Trippenhuis, Kloveniersburgwal 29, in Amsterdam.
In addition to various advisory and administrative functions it operates a number of research institutes and awards many prizes, including the Lorentz Medal in theoretical physics, the Leeuwenhoek Medal in microbiology, and the Dr. A.H. Heineken prizes.
Main functions of the Academy
The Academy advises the Dutch
government on scientific matters. While its advice often pertains to genuine scientific concerns, it also counsels the government on such topics as policy on careers for researchers or the Netherlands' contribution to major international projects. The Academy offers solicited and unsolicited advice to parliament, ministries, universities and research institutes, funding agencies and international organisations.
- Advising the government on matters related to scientific research
- Assessing the quality of scientific research (peer review)
- Providing a forum for the scientific world and promoting international scientific cooperation
- Acting as an umbrella organisation for the institutes primarily engaged in basic and strategic scientific research and disseminating information
Members and Organization of the Academy
The members (at most 200 regular members younger than 65) are appointed for life by co-optation
. Nominations for candidate membership by persons or organizations outside the Academy are accepted. The acceptance criterion is delivered scientific achievements. Academy membership is therefore regarded as a great honor, and prestigious. Besides regular members, there are retired members (members older than 65 years old), regular members living abroad, foreign members, and corresponding members.
The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences has long embraced the entire field of learning. The Royal Academy comprises two departments:
- Science (mathematics, physics, astronomy, life sciences, and engineering sciences) with 110 regular members;
- Humanities and Social Sciences (humanities, law, behavioural sciences and social sciences) with 90 regular members.
Both departments have their own board. The departments, in turn, are divided into sections. The highest organ in the Academy is the general meeting of members, the united meeting of both departments. The president was Frits van Oostrom until 1 May 2008, after which he was succeeded by Robbert Dijkgraaf. Both van Oostrom in his leaving address and Dijkgraaf in his inaugural address have voiced their worries about the low level of funding in science in the Netherlands compared to almost all other western countries.
During the French occupation of the Dutch Republic
, it was founded as the Koninklijk Instituut van Wetenschappen, Letterkunde en Schoone Kunsten
(Royal Institute of Sciences, Literature and Fine Arts) by Lodewijk Napoleon
on May 4
. After the occupation, in 1816
, it was renamed to Koninklijk-Nederlandsch Instituut van Wetenschappen, Letteren en Schoone Kunsten
. In 1851
it was disbanded and reestablished as the Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen
and in 1938
acquired its present name.