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Heritage meets past, present and future

Give the past a place in the landscapes of the future

The one-year Heritage Studies Master's programme will equip you with the knowledge, methods and skills to act as a heritage expert among architects, spatial planners and policymakers. You’ll be studying in an interdisciplinary environment that encourages you to adopt a spatial perspective with an eye for the past, present and future.

Your study programme will involve not only lectures but also field trips, guest speakers, interactive discussions, group work and case study assignments, such as essays, presentations and transformation proposals. Mandatory courses form the core of the programme, but leave many options for you to specialise through elective courses, free choice of assignment topics, individual tutorials, internships and your Master’s thesis. Recent Master’s theses have focused on the remains of the Atlantic Wall, Westminster Abbey as a tourist-historic icon, heritage strategies in shrinking regions, and the re-use of stolp farms in Noord-Holland.

The professors who will be teaching you are all architectural historians, archaeologists, historians and (historical) geographers. Each of them performs academic research as part of research institute CLUE+ while most also take up roles in the professional heritage field.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers the only Heritage Studies Master's programme that focuses on a spatial perspective in Europe. The university has a highly international outlook, making it the ideal place to study heritage in an international context. The Amsterdam Canal District is a UNESCO World Heritage site, while the city of Amsterdam is world-renowned for its culture, art and tolerance. It offers the perfect context for studying spatial heritage in relationship to urban transformations and tourism.

The start date of this programme is September 1st.

Study programme

During the year, all students take four compulsory core courses: Historical Landscape and Archaeological Heritage; Architectural and Town Planning Heritage; Biography of Landscape; and Transformations: Meeting Designers.

You’ll also get the opportunity to specialise in an area of your own interest through choosing optional modules. If you decide to study urban history and heritage, you could take courses in Archaeology and Heritage of Global Amsterdam; Challenging Eternity: Heritage Excursion Rome; or Amsterdam: Global Historical Perspectives. If you choose to specialise in archaeology, you could take courses in Archaeology and Heritage of Global Amsterdam; or Archaeology, Museums and the Public. If you opt for architecture history, there are a series of Dutch courses on offer, including architectural theory, architectural history, an excursion abroad, and a seminar on living culture. You could also specialise in historical geography. Or opt for spatial planning and urban transformation – with a course on cultural history and planning plus a heritage excursion to Rome.

Plus, there are other thematic courses you can select: Sound Heritage; Terrorscapes in Post-war Europe; or Trending Topics in Media, Art and Culture.


  • Architecture and Town Planning Heritage
  • Historical Landscapes under Transformation
  • Climate challenges in the living environment
  • Religious and cultural diversity in urban landscapes
  • Heritage in the participatory society
  • Master Thesis Heritage Studies

Vail Zerr

Vail Zerr

'My growing curiosity for the significance of heritage and history in contemporary social and political contexts has driven me to study Heritage Studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. More than ever, I desire to investigate and revive components of our past while seeking to understand their implication in our world today through an interdisciplinary approach that acknowledges local and global perspectives.'

Vail Zerr


Many students follow an internship as part of their electives. That means putting your knowledge into practice, gaining valuable work experience, and building your network. You could find a placement at an architectural firm, a municipal heritage department, or an independent research and consultancy firm, for example. Read more about the experiences of a student during her internship.

Heritage Studies blog

Want more first-hand information about this Master’s programme? Read our Heritage Studies blog for news and opinion pieces from both students and staff.

Change your future with the Heritage Studies programme

Change your future with the Heritage Studies programme

Having completed your Heritage Studies Master’s degree, you can start work as a heritage advisor for municipal, provincial and national governments. Many graduates find roles at architectural offices, planning and engineering firms or in spatial heritage consultancy. Those interested in heritage research take up positions in journalism, applied research and academia. There are lots of opportunities out there!

Explore your future prospects
 Aerial view of Dam Square in Amsterdam

Questions about the programme?

Contact the coordinator

Send an e-mail to dr. L.R. Egberts: