nl en

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 get 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;

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

  • have gained an understanding of the challenges contemporary heritage managers face;

  • have assessed the effectiveness of contemporary heritage protection;

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

  • have reflected on and articulated your own future role.


Course schedule details can be found in the BA2 time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Introduction and context lecture(s);

  • Literature study;

  • Assignments;

  • Policy evaluation session(s);

  • Discussion(s) with practitioners.

Due to COVID-19 measures in place, and depending on developments in the situation, the mode of instruction may change before or during the course.

Assessment method

  • Participation in class discussions (10%);

  • Preparation and reflection reports (individual assignment on the basis of a format (40%);

  • Policy evaluation assignment (group assignment) (50%).

All exam dates (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the BA2 examination schedule.

Due to COVID-19 measures in place, and depending on developments in the situation, the assessment method may change before or during the course.

Reading list

Titles will be communicated through Brightspace.


Registration via uSis is mandatory.

  • The Administration Office will register all BA1 students for their tutorials (not lectures; register via uSis!).

  • BA2, BA3, MA/MSc and RMA/RMSc students are required to register for all lectures and tutorials well in time.

  • The Administration Office registers all students for their exams, students are not required to do this in uSis.


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


Compulsory attendance.