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Heritage meets past, present and future

Give the past a place in the landscapes of the future

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

Throughout the programme we take ongoing societal challenges as a point of departure, such as religious diversity in cities, wildfire management and sustainable re-use of abandoned sites. Apart from the compulsory courses on the role of heritage in present-day challenges, there is lots of room for specialization as well. You are free to choose elective courses, assignment topics, internships and the topic of your Master’s thesis. Recently students graduated on researching the remains of the Atlantic Wall, Westminster Abbey as a tourist-historic icon, heritage strategies in shrinking regions, and the re-use of historic farms.

The professors who will be teaching you are heritage researchers, architecture historians, archaeologists and cultural 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

Two introductory courses equip you with basic knowledge and skills about spatial heritage. In three other core courses you will work on a societal challenge together with stakeholders from outside the university. This allows you to study in an academic environment, but already make a difference in the professional world as well.

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; or Amsterdam: Global Historical Perspectives. If you are interested in the sensory aspects of heritage, you can follow Sound Heritage and Knowing by Sensing. If you want to know more about historical geography and digital skills, you can take Imaging and Assessing Landscapes. If you are interested architecture history, you can participate in architectural theory, architectural history, an excursion abroad, and a seminar on living culture (in Dutch). You will find the study programme in our studyguide.


  • (De)constructing Heritage in Architecture and Town Planning 
  • Historical Landscapes under Transformation
  • Climate challenges in the Living Environment
  • Religious and Cultural Diversity in Urban Landscapes
  • Planning Heritage in the Participatory Society
  • Master Thesis Heritage Studies

You will find the study programme in our studyguide.


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 Gabriel Schwake