nl en

Culture, heritage and international law



Heritage policies have become increasingly internationalised in recent decades. From the protection of world heritage to the destruction of cultural sites and the articulation of a ‘right to landscape’, contemporary issues dealing with heritage are confronted through a variety of international treaties and global governance mechanisms. Operating at the juncture of identity politics and global commons, culture, heritage and landscape increasingly represent the stage where the political acts of our age are played out, and where concepts of democracy and human rights converge and diverge.

Through an examination of international cultural heritage law (incl. UNESCO treaties), concrete case studies (Mali, Dakota pipeline) and global governance mechanisms, this course focuses on the challenges and trends in the governance of heritage at the international level.

What are the various policies influencing heritage protection globally? How are the universal and specific reconciled through global approaches to heritage and culture? What about state accountability and cultural claims? These are just some of the questions addressed in this course.

Course objectives

  • Overview of the role of international law and rights in the governance of heritage, culture and landscape;

  • Ability to identify the main challenges in governance of heritage today;

  • To demonstrate how culture and heritage governance can apply to real case studies;

  • To provide students with a range of opportunities to develop their analytical and presentation skills.


Course schedule details can be found in the MA and MSc time schedule.

Mode of instruction


This course is taught through seminars and discussion. Active participation in class is expected. Before each class students are required to have read (and watched where relevant) the essential materials and consider the questions/ discussion points in preparation for the class.
Methods used by the instructor include PowerPoint presentations, video footage, illustration of issues through discussion of concrete cases, literature and critical analysis of international legal treaties, such as the European Landscape Convention and the World Heritage Convention.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 28 hours of seminars & lectures (2 ec);

  • 150 pages of literature and mini-assignment (1 ec);

  • 14 hours of preparations and research towards class presentation (0.5 ec);

  • Final essay of 2,500 words (1.5 ec).

Assessment method

  • Essay (60%);

  • Class presentation and a literature review (40%).

The presentation and the final paper must be passed in order to pass the course.
A retake is only possible for the final essay, but only if all other requirements have been met.

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the MA and MSc examination schedule.

Reading list

The reading list will be posted on BlackBoard.


Registration for the course or the exam is not required.


For more information about this course, please contact dr. A. Strecker.


Compulsory attendance.
You can miss no more than 2 classes per 14 lectures (28 hours). A register of attendance will be kept. In addition, you need to have read the required materials in order to participate in class discussion.