NWO Programme Heritage Education

Plurality of Narratives and Shared Historical Knowledge

This research program was financed by the Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research (NWO) and consisted of three projects and a synthesis. It examined the views of Dutch teachers and heritage educators (project 1), Dutch and English heritage educational resources (project 2), and Dutch students' entrance narratives and their learning experiences (project 3). The research projects focused on the same topics as contexts of analysis: Transatlantic Slave Trade and World War II.

Research team

Prof. Maria Grever (Program and Research Leader)
Prof. Carla van Boxtel (Research Leader)
Dr Stephan Klein (Postdoctoral Researcher)
Pieter de Bruijn (PhD Candidate)
Geerte Savenije (PhD Candidate) 

Duration of the programme: 2009-2014

Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie






In 2013 together with the National Centre of Expertise for Cultural Education and Amateur Arts (LKCA) an international conference was organised on heritage education and history learning, entitled Tangible Pasts? Questioning Heritage Education. Are the uses of heritage as primary instructional resources in education compatible with critical historical thinking? If so, how can we use heritage in history education? More than 100 scholars, heritage professionals and history teachers – from the Netherlands and abroad - discussed these and other questions at the conference, which was held in Rotterdam.

In paper sessions research was discussed on various topics, such as teaching and learning about sensitive heritage, the museum experience and authenticity, colonial heritage, and expressions of the past in public culture. Interactive workshops and panel discussions developed these themes further through concrete examples from practice. In their keynotes, Maria Grever (NL), Peter Seixas (Canada), Peter Aronsson (Sweden), Bruce VanSledright (US), Carla van Boxtel (NL) and Brenda Trofanenko (Canada) provided the framework, reflecting on the theme of the conference from the angle of cultural heritage and history education.

For a full report: “On the use of heritage in history education”  

In 2011 an International Master Class was organised together with The Netherlands Institute for Heritage at De Bazel in Amsterdam. The main theme of this meeting was the meaning of heritage for youngsters in a globalizing and multicultural society. During the morning programme several international experts delivered a lecture revolving around the themes of heritage and education. The afternoon program featured workshops on 'identity and meaning-making' and 'learning through experience'.

This master class was intended for education officers of heritage institutions, developers of educational resources who work for heritage institutions and regional heritage consultants. Participants received the publication Heritage Education. Challenges in Dealing With the Past with contributions by the experts and the research team. 

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