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Buried Landscapes of War: The Archaeology and heritage of World War II in The Netherlands

Modern Conflict Archaeology has a multi-disciplinary character. Apart from archaeology it uses concepts, insights and methods from social anthropology, military history and heritage studies. It furthermore combines a wide range of data, sources and information.

The project is of societal importance as the Second World War occupies a central place in the collective memory of Dutch society.

Wars are etched on the memories of nations, communities and individuals. What people remember, and how, changes with time. This project will enhance the academic potential of the archaeological research of war landscapes and helps develop a theoretical framework.

For a long time, Dutch academic research developed only a weak interest in the heritage and archaeology of landscapes of war, despite the fact that the history of the Second World War rapidly gained in popularity within Dutch society as a whole.

The principle aim of the project is to retrieve, assess and interpret the archaeological information and material gathered on conflict sites in the Netherlands. On the basis of this research, an estimate is made of the scientific potential and the cultural-historical value of the sites found. Archaeology has a vital role with regard to the preservation of these fragile sites and relics. The project intends to design an approach which integrates this new branch of research with archaeological and historical notions of landscape.

There is still much to be gained in our knowledge of the archaeology of modern conflict. The emphasis of the study is on the development of an area with strong potential on many levels, from the fully academic to community-based archaeology and heritage conservation. It is expected that the multidisciplinary approach designed in the project, connecting approved methods of conflict research with new concepts for landscape archaeology, is innovative and profitable for both international conflict archaeology and the Dutch research tradition itself.

Funded by: NWO, Graduate Programme Archon (2014-2018)
Budget: EUR 190,000

Max van der Schriek MA (VU Amsterdam/CLUE+)

Prof. Dr. Nico Roymans (VU Amsterdam/CLUE+)

Prof. Dr. Jan Kolen (Leiden University)

Prof. Dr. Rob van der Laarse (VU Amsterdam/CLUE+)

Publications 2016

  • Schriek, M. van der, 2016: Hermann Löns. Schrijver en oorlogsvrijwilliger uit Niedersachsen. Wereld in Oorlog 48, 17-21.
  • Schriek, M. van der, 2016. Dutch Military Landscapes. Heritage and Archaeology on WWII conflict sites. 20th Conference on Cultural Heritage and New Technologies, Vienna (CHNT20). Available at:

Publications 2015 

  • Schriek, M. van der, 2015: Fromelles 1916. Some corner of a foreign field...Wereld in Oorlog 46, 15-22.

Publications 2014

  • Schriek, J. van der & Schriek, M. van der (2014). Metal Detecting: Friend or Foe of Conflict Archaeology? Investigation, Preservation and Destruction on WWII sites in the Netherlands. Journal of Community Archaeology & Heritage, 1(3), 228-244.
  • Schriek, M. van der (2014). "Für Gott, Kaiser und Vaterland!" Denen aan het Westfront. Wereld in Oorlog 37, 16-22.
  • Schriek, M. van der (2014). Verborgen verleden. Slagveldarcheologie in Nederland. Wereld in Oorlog 38, 40-46.
  • Schriek, M. van der (2014). Dulce et Decorum. Kriegsfreiwillige Caspar René Gregory en Paul Mauk. Wereld in Oorlog 39, 7-13.
  • Schriek, M. van der (2014). De Blauwe Heuvels. De Slag om Narva 1944 en de ondergang van 'General Seyffardt.' Wereld in Oorlog 41, 44-51.
  • Schriek, M. van der (2014). De zoektocht naar Alain-Fournier. Een archeologische detective. Wereld in Oorlog 42, 16-21.