At Willem de Kooning Academy, we create the setting in which students can develop and broaden their interests. They can choose different ways of working, the type of assignment that suits them best and even the style of learning and how to develop their talent.






Ah, the creative process is the same secret in science as it is in art. They are all the same absolutely.


You can find Willem de Kooning Academy right at the heart of the design city of Rotterdam. The academy is part of the multi-sectoral Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (RUAS for short). RUAS is a dynamic knowledge institute for higher professional education.

Students not only choose a particular major course – let’s say Advertising&Beyond – but also a professional context or what we call a ‘practice’. We offer three of these practices or graduation profiles: Autonomous, Social and Commercial.

Students can also enter an honours programme and/or complete their graduation specialisation by choosing an exchange programme at an academy or university abroad. This gives them the opportunity to adapt the academy’s education programme to their own preferences and to the development of your own talent.

(Former) students participate in a wide variety of national and international contests, initiatives and programmes. Here is an incomplete overview: SpinAwards Young Talent Show, North Sea Jazz Art Poster Competition, Creative Press Challenge, Dutch Design Awards, Maaskantprijs, Onderzoeksprijs, Steenbergen Stipendium, Drempelprijzen, HEMA ontwerpwedstrijd, BAD Award, Woolmark Prize, One Show, VEED Awards, YoungGuns International Award, Volkskrantprijs, Kunstprijs Binnenmaas, Art Rotterdam, Stimuleringsprijs DBKV and Best in Show Award.

International Classroom

Willem de Kooning Academy presents itself as an international art academy. Every year, a large number of exchange students  come to the academy and academy students go abroad for study or internship. An international composition of the student population leads to more developed intercultural skills and improves understanding of different countries and cultures, which is one of the reasons for the academy to pursue further growth in the number of international students.

Our academy sees a clear added value of an "international classroom": this contributes to the international profile of the academy and enhances its reputation, which facilitates the recruitment of international talent. Another reason is that contemporary professional field requires professionals with international competencies or the 21st-century skills. Even if the student has no ambition to work in a foreign country, those skills are essential. Needless to say, it is also essential that tutors have or develop these skills, whether through training or guest lectureship at one of our partner schools. For students, there are optional modules available to brush up their English.

To facilitate the integration of international students, WdKA has decided to change all courses into 'full' English education as from September 2016*. It is important to note that the English language is not a goal but a means. At the start of the first year of study the student will have to do an assessment in English and if the grade is insufficient, the student will be obliged to take extra classes to bring command of English to a satisfactory level (B2).

The following agreements have been made regarding the languages :

  • All communication by supporting staff will be done in English (or Dutch and English).
  • All group meetings with students will be in English, as soon as an international student is present in the class.
  • In case of individual feedback/review, one can switch to Dutch.
  • Papers/essays and reports can be submitted either in English or Dutch, in close consultation with the tutor.
  • If required, tutors can, in consultation with their supervisor, take English classes.

* Except Leisure & Events Management and Fine Art en Design Teacher Training.

Social Safety at WdKA

In order for students and staff  to fully focus on their studies and enjoy their study time at the WdKA, social safety is a prerequisite. The WdKA is committed to a rich study climate that is inclusive and diverse, and where safety for all is guaranteed.

To ensure this, various measures have been taken:

  • An updated Code of conduct
  • Study Career Coaches
  • Office for Inclusivity
  • Vitality coach
  • Student welfare staff (Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences)
  • Counsellors (Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences)
  • An updated Complaints procedure
  • Confidential officer for students and a confidential officer for employees (WdKA and Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences)
  • Confidential officer specifically in the area of inclusiveness (Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences).
  • WdKA joins Mores.nl, the independent platform for complaints regarding safety and integrity in the arts.

Students and staff can find all information on the internal platform Mywdka.nl.


A radical spatial concept

"Within the city of Rotterdam the Willem de Kooning Academie [WdKA] occupies a special position. Besides knowledge institute, the WdKA functions as a catalyst for partnerships: a cultural space where students, alumni and international professionals meet each other. The current building has a closed nature and is not representing the numerous successful connections between the art institute and the city. With the challenge of converting intangible structures into a new spatial design, TomDavid & Kraaijvanger laid down an ambitious plan that won the selective tender."

TomDavid Architecten

Complete makeover

Willem de Kooning Academy is located at Blaak 10 and Wijnhaven 61, two adherent buildings connected with an air bridge. In the last couple of years, the academy had had a complete makeover in line with its renewed curriculum.

WdKA hall, photography, Ossip van Duivenbode

Since 1998, we proudly carry the name of one of most famous alumni. Willem de Kooning Academy is conveniently located at Blaak 10 and Wijnhaven 61, two adherent buildings connected with an airbridge. The beautiful Blaak 10 has always been regarded as the ‘home base’ of the academy. Due to expansion and an increasing student population, the Wijnhaven 61 building was assigned to the academy in 2007.

In the last couple of years, the academy had had a complete make-over in line with its renewed curriculum. Education is now based around state-of-the-art stations. Stations are not the ‘property’ of any particular major, minor or practice, but are a meeting place for students and teachers across subjects and years. Here you can find all the expertise and facilities (hard- and software) that you need to carry out your work. Students have access to the following stations: Interaction Station, Image & Sound Station, Publication Station, Material Station, Drawing Station, Fabric Station,  Business Station, Education Station and Research Station.