Royal Society for Music History of The Netherlands

Belle van Zuylenprijs

Established in 2023, this prize is intended for an excellent artistic research project at Bachelor’s or Master’s level on music submitted to a Conservatoire in the Low Countries. It is required that the presentation form shows how the research project integrates a research and a performance component, in its broadest sense. In principle, the prize is awarded every two years.


The winner will receive a sum of € 250,-.


Nomination process:

Nominations can be submitted by the supervisor of the research project or by the student themselves. Nominations require the submission of the following documents:

  • The artistic research project. This can take the form of a written thesis, a video or audio presentation, a composed score with accompanying explanation of the project, or a form that mixes the above elements. Should you wish to submit a different sort of presentation form, please contact Annelies Andries (
  • Proof that the student completed a Bachelor or Master at the Conservatoire in the relevant academic years.
  • Proof that this project has been assessed with at least an 8/10 (or equivalent grade).


Nominations will only be considered if all documents are submitted. These document must be emailed to


The deadline for nominations is 31 October in odd years.


Belle van Zuylen (1740-1805) lived in a period when intellectual conversation, and musical performance were continuously intermingled, especially within the space of the eighteenth-century salon. This co-existence is evident in van Zuylen’s life: her oeuvre includes novels, plays, opera libretti, songs, and chamber music. Besides maintaining an extensive correspondence with prominent writers, artists, and composers – more than 2,500 letter have survived of which many are digitally available – she admitted to spending many hours a day at her harpsichord. Her work attests to her inquiring, critical attitude, and she did not shy away from satirizing the aristocratic milieu in which she dwelled nor from joining her contemporaries in requesting more and better education for women. She famously claimed “je n’ai pas les talents subalterns”, freely translated “I do not have a talent for subservience”.