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Heritage Protection in the 21st Century


Admission requirements

Admission to the bachelor Archaeology track Heritage and Society.


This course explores the institutional practices surrounding (archaeological) heritage protection. The main goal is to gain an understanding of (archaeological) heritage protection from a practical perspective. The focus will be on the Netherlands, but we will also include the international context and perspective.

We will look into national and international policies of the main actors in heritage protection. The focus will be on the protection and management of tangible heritage. We will include the protection of iconic sites that may be turned (or have been turned) into World Heritage.

Questions we will address are:

  • How do we select and protect those sites?

  • Which instruments do we use?

  • Which challenges and opportunities do heritage organisations encounter?

You will learn how heritage protection works in daily practice, primarily at the level of local and national authorities. We will engage with practitioners who do this on an everyday basis to explore how it is organised, and what the tasks and activities of the main institutions and other non-governmental actors are.

You will also discover the skills you need and may have to develop if you have the ambition to obtain a job in one of these aspects of heritage protection.
Topics discussed vary from rules and regulations to looting and illicit trade, from storing material in repositories, to involving stakeholders in decision-making (participatory governance).

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, you will have:

  • Gained insight in key concepts from the institutional practices (and discourses) concerning the concept of heritage protection and preservation;

  • Gained insights in institutional practices (and discourses) regarding heritage preservation and the way in which it is shaped by the realities of everyday life;

  • Gained an understanding of the challenges contemporary heritage managers face;

  • Assessed the effectiveness of contemporary heritage protection;

  • Learned what you will do as a professional conducting heritage protection and what knowledge and skills you will need as such a professional;

  • Reflected on and articulated your own future role.


Course schedule details can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button.

Mode of instruction

  • Introduction and context/instruction lecture(s);

  • Literature study;

  • Assignments;

  • Policy evaluation session(s);

  • Discussion(s) with practitioners.

Assessment method

  • Participation in class discussions (10%);

  • Answering questions relating to policy documents and preparing a reflection document (individual assignment on the basis of a format (together 40%);

  • Policy evaluation assignment (group assignment), including a presentation and report (together 50%).

Assessment deadlines

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button. To view the assessment deadline(s), make sure to select the course with a code ending in T and/or R.

Some assignments (studying policy documents) are handed in (and discussed) during the course. The final group assignment (written report) is handed in after the course.

Reading list

Titles will be communicated through Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudymap is mandatory.

General information about registration can be found on the Course and Exam Enrolment page.


For more information about this course, please contact dr. M.H. (Monique) van den Dries.


Compulsory attendance.