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Internships & Research Associateships

Talent Development Program

The Sector Research and Collections and the Research Center for Material Culture offer an Internship Program, which provides young academics, engaged members of the community, independent scholars and/or museum professionals with the opportunity to pursue further research and professional training within our museums. We mentor young professionals, welcoming the engagement so as to broaden our own perspectives on museum work. You may apply for an Internship or Research Associate position at the Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen, which comprises the Tropenmuseum (Amsterdam), the Afrika Museum (Berg en Dal), the Museum Volkenkunde (Leiden), and the Wereldmuseum (Rotterdam). Each museum or department recruits differently, but if you are applying to do an internship with the Curatorial, Collections, or RCMC departments, please read the below carefully.


  • A Research Associateship means you are not applying for credits at your university, but would like to do research either as an independent scholar or as a researcher affiliated with your current institution. The Research Associateship is not paid.
  • An Internship means you will receive credits from your university. The Internship is paid a very minimal monthly salary.
  • Conducting a research project that includes institutional criticality (i.e. you are studying our museum/s) means you are preparing a thesis (MA/RMA/Ph.D.) that studies our museum/s. 


At the moment, we can only accomodate a very small number of interns per year (i.e. students affiliated with a university wanting to do an internship or stage to earn credits). The process has become rather competitive: thank you for understanding that we cannot accommodate all those who apply. 

We are no longer accepting internship applications for the spring/summer period of 2023. Due to our summer schedules, we cannot accomodate summer internships. 

All interns are required to support both the research and programming activities of the RCMC staff and contribute to organizing RCMC events.

Interns should:

  • be registered as a MA student or PhD researcher throughout the internship period (in exceptional circumstances we accept advanced Bachelors students)
  • be able to work independently and use on-line resources to develop their project.
  • have an excellent command of Dutch and/or English, both orally and in written form
  • be enthusiastic and able to take initiative. Work politely and be open to suggestions as how to welcome and be caring to guests and employees from around the world.
  • be a team player. Respect the professions and the professional lives of museum employees and their schedules and can plan their work and respond to the institutional codes and practices of behavior accordingly. 
  • have an affinity for museums, art and culture
  • For students of anthropology, or for those who wish to do ethnography of or within the museum, we will more readily accept projects with a research agenda that lasts at least six months and is conform to the ethical criteria of ethnographic research, following for example standard Institutional Review Board (IRB) practices.  
    • Much of the work we do asks that we be as protective as possible to the communities with whom we work and of our own employees. While we absolutely accept critique, the way ethnographic work takes place in our institution must honor the complexities of an institutional context and especially of ours.
    • Our professional staff have full work agendas, and any interviews or research projects that directly concerns staff, needs to be agreed and negotiated with the permission of the internship coordinator at the NMVW so that it can be properly planned and does not impose on individuals or disrupt business continuity. Once you have applied and obtained approval to do an internship at NMVW, you will agree on your work schedule with the internship coordinator before you can proceed with interviews.
  • For internships associated with the Curatorial and/or Research Center for Material Culture, we are interested in fostering innovative perspectives on the ethnographic museum and its collections and their history.  We welcome students from interdisciplinary backgrounds in the humanities or social sciences as well as students from other backgrounds such as architecture, design, psychology and biological or material sciences. We are also interested in welcoming students who come from a more area studies interest, and those who have personal lived experience or sustained work alongside a given community that self-identifies as connected to a given geographic area.
  • For internships associated with Preservation, we focus on developing community-based conservation policies and preparing groups of objects for storage moving.

Research Associates

We accept Research Associates based on our research interests and curatorial and collection needs. If you are interested in a Research Associate position (i.e. you are not conducting an official internship with your university; you can also be an independent researcher), please email All research associate positions are not paid. 

Institutional Critique: if you are interested in conducting research 'about' the Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen


For MA, RMA and Ph.D. students wanting to do research on or about the Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen (that is any of the four museums comprise our institution), we very much welcome such projects and have supported them consistently over the past years.

That said, due to how incredibly busy our staff is, and how popular it has become to study our museum/s, at this point, we can only accommodate one project per year.

If you are interested, please send the materials to The materials include:

  • a 1000-1500 proposal that includes: an abstract; proposed methodologies; expected impact to current research, community building, justice work, and/or museum practices; discussion of your own implicatedness (i.e. "situatedness"; "self-reflexivity" as a researcher)
  • a 1-page  timeline for your research project
  • a CV, no longer than 5 pages
  • Nota Bene: 
  • We are aware that in recent years, excitingly, many programs have been teaching literature about decolonizing the museum, an ethical inquiry that we are committed to that requires self-reflection and critique, a long-term commitment. We expect students who do internships with us to be as critical as they are respectful: listening, being themselves open to critique, and also critiquing us by fully engaging in rigorous, cutting-edge practices in what it means to be an academic and a professional working in a museum.
  • Before you contact us, we invite you to consult with standard practices of the Internal Review Board process. The Lafayette College has a concise summary of what IRB is. Many scholarly publications require IRB approval for publication of research results based on human subject research. What we are interested in that in your contact with us when you seek research, we ask that you write emails to request an interview or consult models of informed consent that correspond to standard practice. You can find examples on the IRB website of Utrecht Universiteit, whose acronym is FETCH. If your project is selected, we will also work with you on generating appropriate methodologies. 

    EU or non-EU

    If you are applying from the EU, there is no extra legal paperwork. If you are applying from outside of the EU and you are enrolled in a university program in Europe, you may also apply, as you have a student visa.


    Application Dates

    We are no longer accepting internship applications for the spring/summer period of 2023. 

    Once our application process is back open after the summer period of 2023, we will announce our requirements, deadlines, and contact information on this webpage. 


    Alas, due to summer schedules, we cannot accommodate summer internships.