Architectural Finishes Research Conference

An international conference on finishes of built heritage, organized by the Low Countries

From May 29 through 1 June 2024, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE) will host the Architectural Finishes Research Conference in Amsterdam. We will do so in collaboration with renowned partners on this subject in the Low Countries: Koninklijk Instituut voor het Kunstpatrimonium/Institut Royal du Patrimoine Artistique (KIK/IRPA), SRAL -The Conservation Institute, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and University of Amsterdam.

Logo Architectural Finishes Research Conference

Aims of the conference

The general aim of the conference is to provide an international platform for professional researchers specialized in finishes of built heritage. Whilst exchanging new developments in the interpretation, preservation, documentation and management of historical finishes, common grounds are sought which lead to mutual understanding between the various participants. Thus creating a professional and strong cohesive global Architectural Paint and Finishes Research community.

Conference themes

The programme of the conference will be based on the following themes:

1. Moving on to Standards 2.0

What can we learn from issuing and using European or national standards such as the European CEN 17543 and the Dutch ERM URL 2004? 

2. The benefits of hindsight

Which project management arrangements, AFR processes, conservation methods did or didn’t work in retrospect? All conservation projects involve subjective decisions. What lessons can be learned from revisiting completed projects? Would other options have been more appropriate? 

3. Identifying innovative 21st century techniques and skills to fast forward AFR

The use of digital tools in AFR such as micro-cameras, advanced software, data mining, databases, is increasing. Practitioners are now looking to other research disciplines and the roll and further development of education training courses to encourage innovative thinking and perhaps leading to reinterpretation and reinvention of AFR.

4. Finishing materials and techniques in the Low Countries – Similarities and  Differences

The Low Countries is not a fixed concept. Over the centuries borders between France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, Spain, Austria and The Netherlands have been fluid and cultural centers have shifted. 

5. Trans-cultural influences through the ages

How has conflict, migration, religion, colonization and world trade issues impacted on styles, fashions, materials and techniques of applied decorative finishes? What was the impact of war on the availability of materials? What innovative measures were taken to provide substitute materials? Which impact did collaboration with different parts of the world population have on historic finishes, including different cultures, world or local traders, colonized people, colonizers and settlers, asylum seekers, etc.

6. Health and climate awareness

Climate, environment and health & safety regulation can sometimes take precedence over research we want to conduct. What measures should we take in view  current and future legislation and regulations, and climate disruption, with regards to toxic materials, sustainable processes and products, documentation and the monuments themselves.

Program and registration in 2023

Registration will be opened when the final program is published. This will  approximately be mid-2023. Please check our calendar for updates.

Conference venue in 2024

The conference is scheduled for four days from 29 May till 1 June 2024 and will take place in hybrid format, including field trips. We aim for venues in or near Amsterdam for the plenary sessions. If circumstances allow, we will organize a hybrid event in which participants can partake online or live. If a live event can’t be held due to circumstances, alternative arrangements will be made accordingly.

Papers and scientific committee

In 2022, the organizing committee published a call for papers. Authors who have submitted abstracts, have received information about the peer-review process. The abstracts and papers are being reviewed by the following scientific committee:

  • Drs. Angelique Friedrichs (Architectural finishes researcher and conservator, SRAL – The Conservation Institute, The Netherlands)
  • Prof. dr. arch. Ann Verdonck (Architectural Engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium)
  • Dr. Annelies van Loon (Paintings conservator and conservation scientist, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
  • Edwin Verweij (Conservator Build Heritage Finishes, Belgium)
  • Helen Hughes MA (Dip. Conservation, Historic Interior Conservation & Research United Kingdom)
  • Jessica Hensel MASc (Conservation and restoration lecturer, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
  • Johanne Bornemann Mogensen (MSc in Conservation and Restoration, the National Museum of Denmark)
  • Kathrin Hinrichs Degerblad (conservator of architectural paint and polychrome sculpture, Riksantikvarieämbetet, National Heritage Board Sweden)
  • Kirsten Travers Moffitt (Conservator and Materials Analyst, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, USA)
  • Dr. Luc Megens (Senior Conservation scientist, Cultural Heritage Agency, The Netherlands)
  • Merel Landman MA Pd Res (ML Conservation, The Netherlands)
  • Phillipa Mcdonnell (Research Fellow at University of Lincoln, United Kingdom)
  • Wivine Wailliez (Conservator, Decoration of monuments unit – conservation department, Institut royal du Patrimoine artistique- Koninklijk Instituut voor het Kunstpatrimonium (Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage), Brussels, Belgium)

Past conferences and peer-reviewed papers

This specialized conference is formerly known as the Architectural Paint Research Conference and focusses on the research of finishes in building conservation. Previous conferences have been organized since 2000 by various institutions around the world and were accompanied by peer-reviewed publications. These initiatives resulted - besides some national initiatives - in European standards developed by the working group CEN/TC 346/WG13.

Peer reviewed publications of the previous seven conferences 


The RCE organizes this conference in collaboration with Koninklijk Instituut voor het Kunstpatrimonium/Institut Royal du Patrimoine Artistique (KIK/IRPA), SRAL -The Conservation Institute, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and University of Amsterdam.