NINO initiates, supports, and conducts scholarly research in the civilizations of the Near East from the ancient to the early modern period. In particular, it concentrates on the archaeology, history, languages, and cultures of Egypt, Levant, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, and Persia. In addition to its scientific research, NINO supports and advances the cultural relations between the Netherlands and the Near East. NINO is an independent foundation with ties to the academic community of the Netherlands. It is located on the premises of Leiden University and is associated with the university through a memorandum of cooperation.
NINO meets its goals of scientific study and cultural contact not only in the Netherlands but also by managing a subsidiary institute in Istanbul. Its premier library is one of the major ones in this field in the world and attracts scholars both from the Netherlands and abroad. NINO publishes journals and books on the ancient and modern Near East. It also houses several important collections of books, archival materials, and cuneiform tablets and supports research projects, as well as conducting its own projects.