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About us

Unlocking the secrets of our brain


Mission & Position


The Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN) aims to understand the neural circuits that create our mental functions and how they change in brain disorders.


The brain holds the key to who we are, how we perceive the world and how we act upon it. To understand the brain circuits that enable our mental functions, the Netherlands Institute for Neurosciences leverages a cross-species approach from humans to non-human animals and back. With brain disorders the primary cause of lost quality of life, we unravel the mechanisms that enable the mental functions that are altered in these disorders.

By synergizing diverse research groups harnessing state-of-the-art neurotechnologies across the human, primate and rodent brain, the NIN is in a unique position to uncover circuits and molecular mechanisms that generate these mental functions. The NIN catalyzes neuroscience progress by its unique facilities including the Netherlands Brain Bank, Primate Unit, the Sleep lab and registry, and Spinoza Centre for Neuroimaging (joint with Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Amsterdam UMC). Fundamental insights from post-mortem and MRI human studies are combined with interrogation and modulation of the neural micro-architecture and molecular constituents to ultimately comprehend the causal relationships between brain activity and variability in mental functions.


The Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience has eighteen research groups. They are part of the NIN community and join (group)meetings, seminars and social events. All eighteen groups are housed in the NIN buildings and use the (lab)facilities and other services provided by the NIN. The employees of fiftheen groups are employed at the NIN and led by the NIN director. The employees of three groups are employed at the AMC and (formally) led by AMC management. Current director of the NIN is Christiaan Levelt.

The NIN aims to establish a flat management culture, in which all PIs, young talents and support staff feel free to communicate at all levels of the organization and in which all can develop their academic and technical skills and prosper.

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Inclusion mission statement

At NIN, we recognize that prejudice, discrimination and racism can occur anywhere in both implicit and explicit ways. We therefore pursue an active diversity policy to help reduce inequality, remove barriers and create equal opportunities for everyone. We strive for an environment with equal opportunities for all, regardless of age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, culture, disability, race and ethnicity. NIN encourages excellence by resolutely pursuing an inclusive environment, where synergies across diverse individuals and groups are harnessed.

Acknowledging, respecting and integrating the diversity of our community, is our way to Master the Mind.

The history


The Netherlands Institute for Brain Research dates back to the early 1900s. Its foundation was the result of a meeting of the International Association of Academies held in Paris in 1901


This led to the formation of the International Academic Committee for Brain Research in 1904


In the wake of these meetings several institutes for brain research were founded in Europe, among them, on 8 June 1909, the “Netherlands Central Institute for Brain Research”, as the institute was then called.


Under the inspiring leadership of its first director, Prof. dr. Cornelius Ubbo Ariëns Kappers (director from 1909 to 1946) and his successors, the institute acquired an international reputation as a centre of excellent brain research.


The Netherlands Ophthalmic Research Institute started out in 1972, as an interuniversity institute created by the ophthalmic departments of the Dutch universities with the aim of providing them with a place to perform basic research.


Originally oriented towards comparative neuroanatomy, the institute, under the leadership of renowned scientists such as Prof Dick F. Swaab (director 1978-2005), further developed into a multidisciplinary centre with outstanding research facilities, such as the Netherlands Brain Bank.


The Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience came into being on 1 July 2005 as the result of the merger of the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research and the Netherlands Ophthalmic Research Institute, both institutes of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), but with very different backgrounds.



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