Project 2

Bridges to the Past: Historical Distance and Multiperspectivity in English and Dutch Heritage Educational Resources

This project has been completed. Pieter de Bruijn successfully defended his PhD Thesis at Erasmus University Rotterdam on October 16th, 2014.

The research project encompassed an analysis of the educational materials, activities and museum presentations of fifteen heritage institutes in England and the Netherlands that deal with the history of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery, the Second World and the Holocaust. It examined what strategies are used by museums, archives and memorial centres to bring the past closer and stimulate various forms of engagement. Furthermore, it studied how these techniques relate to the inclusion and exclusion of multiple points of view. An important outcome of this research is an analytical framework that provides insight into the effect of different narrative structures on the experience of the nearness or distance of the past and the various ways in which the past can be connected to the present. This study argues that elements of temporal proximity and engagement should be combined with detached reflection in order for heritage education to offer more than a coloured experience of the past and actually enrich history learning.

Contact:  Send an email

Supervisors: Prof. M.C.R. Grever and Prof. C.A.M. van Boxtel

Original NWO Application Project 2 (pdf) PhD, Heritage and history teaching: Dutch and English curriculum practices


P.A.C. de Bruijn, Bridges to the Past: Historical Distance and Multiperspectivity in English and Dutch Heritage Educational Resources (Unpublished PhD Thesis, Erasmus University Rotterdam, 2014).

P.A.C. de Bruijn, 'The Holocaust and Historical Distance. An Analysis of Heritage Educational Resources', in: Jan Hodel, Monika Waldis and Beatrice Ziegler (eds.), Forschungswerkstatt Geschichtsdidaktik 12 (Bern, hep-Verlag, 2013) 204-213.

M. Grever, P. de Bruijn, C. van Boxtel, 'Negotiating Historical Distance. Or, How to Deal With the Past As a Foreign Country in Heritage Education', Paedagogica Historica 48;6 (2012) 873-887.

P.A.C. de Bruijn, 'Engaging Heritage. Plurality in Educational Resources’, in: C. van Boxtel, S. Klein, E. Snoep (eds.), Heritage Education. Challenges in Dealing With the Past (Amsterdam, Erfgoed Nederland, 2011) 22-25.

C. van Boxtel, P. de Bruijn, M. Grever, S. Klein, G. Savenije, 'Dicht bij het verleden. Wat kunnen erfgoedlessen bijdragen aan het leren van geschiedenis?', Kleio 51;7 (2010) 18-23.