For more than a century, the KNIR has offered high-quality research and interdisciplinary education in Rome.

The Institute was founded in 1904, primarily for the purpose of studying the recently opened Vatican archives, a unique source of information for the cultural, political and religious history of the Netherlands and Europe.

The KNIR has made its home in the Via Omero since 1933, in a stately neo-Renaissance-style building designed by the Italian engineer Gino Cipriani and architect Jan Stuyt of The Hague. The premises are situated in the Valle Giulia, an area earmarked by the fascist regime for different international institutes. Benito Mussolini attended the opening.

In later years, until 1991, strengthening the cultural and scientific ties between the Netherlands and Italy was one of the Institute’s core tasks. Today, the KNIR’s mandate is defined primarily from an academic perspective.

On the occasion of its 100th anniversary in 2004, the Institute received the designation ‘Royal’.