The RIAS is a graduate school, library, research and conference center for the study of US history and transatlantic relations in the modern era. The Institute’s profile is framed around the idea of the Rooseveltian Century. This focuses on the progressive leadership of the three Roosevelts – Theodore, Eleanor, and Franklin – and how their legacies have shaped the United States and its relations with the rest of the world.
The RIAS is primarily subsidized by the Province of Zeeland and the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. As of September 2020, the Institute is located at the Hofplein in Middelburg, a set of historic buildings which also houses the Zeeland Archive.
The RIAS has both academic and public functions. Academically it provides a graduate school, involving training for PhD candidates in modern US history; a hub for conferences and seminars through the year; a pole of attraction for individual scholars and student groups.
As a public institution the RIAS also provides public lectures on contemporary topics of US politics; support for high schools on US-related topics; commentaries and talks engaging the general public on US-related topics.