Nikhef rules with regards to coronavirus

Due to the precautionary measures taken to minimise the spread of the coronavirus, Nikhef is open only to a limited extent. External guests can only access the building for necessary visits, by invitation and accompanied by a Nikhef employee.



Nikhef’s Theoretical Physics group performs theoretical research on a wide range of fundamental topics in high-energy physics, ranging from particle and astroparticle physics to cosmology, gravitational waves and string theory.

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Astroparticle physics

Astroparticle physics combines physics and astronomy. In the cosmos, very strong magnetic fields create what can be considered a ‘natural’ particle accelerator. To perform astrophysics research, scientists ‘just’ need to build the right detectors. Nikhef is active in KM3NeT, Auger, XENON1T/nT and Virgo.

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Particle Physics

In particle physics, very large detectors are used to study elementary particles. Particles such as protons are accelerated in a particle accelerator, and made to collide with each other. The detectors record these collisions, which release a lot of energy to create new particles. Nikhef is active in ALICE, ATLAS and LHCb at CERN and eEDM in Groningen.

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Physics Data Processing

Advanced computing for physics and other sciences. Nikhef researchers are mainly developing increasingly better grid software, and transferring their grid knowledge, so that  scientists who are struggling with an ‘impossible’ data problem can profit from the grid.

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Technische afdelingen Nikhef

Mechanical technology

The Mechanical Technology (MT) department is made up of approximately 30 MBO-, HBO- and University schooled technical engineers. The main task of the department is to develop, design and realise mechanical solutions for the mostly international projects that Nikhef participates in.


Detector R&D

Answering big elementary particle physics questions requires pioneering experiments. The Detector R&D program at Nikhef is aimed at conceptualizing and testing of instrumentation concepts before they are implemented in scientific programs at Nikhef.

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Programme spotlight

XENONnT: Dark matter

Of all matter in our Universe, only about 5% consists of ‘ordinary matter’ as we commonly know it, built up from atoms. This is what all stars, planets and other visible materials are made up from. However, no less than 95% consists of dark energy (68%) and dark matter (27%).

National Institute for Subatomic Physics

Welcome to Nikhef. We are the Dutch National Institute for Subatomic Physics. Our institute performs research into the elementary building blocks of our Universe, their mutual forces and the structure of space and time.
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Recent news

6 January 2021

Nobelprize winner Martinus Veltman passes away at 89

In his hometown Bilthoven the Dutch physicist and Nobel Prize winner Martinus Veltman died on Monday. Veltman received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1999 for his pioneering…

6 January 2021

In memoriam Martinus ‘Tini’ Veltman (1931-2021)

The influence of Martinus Veltman on particle physics is difficult to overestimate.  Non-abelean gauge theories now form the basis under the Standard Model. Experimental particle research worldwide is…

5 January 2021

Light-highway of the future is already in place between Nikhef and CERN

SURF and Nikhef have established a new data connection with accelerator lab CERN in Geneva, which can transmit up to 400 Gigabits per second. That is four times…