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NWO Program
Heritage Education, Plurality of Narratives and Shared Historical Knowledge

Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie

This research program is financed by the Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research (NWO). It examines how heritage education in a multicultural and globalizing society can contribute to the construction of shared historical knowledge, while acknowledging different perspectives on the past. The research program has two aims. First, the program intends to investigate and reflect on the opportunities of heritage education with regard to disciplinary foundations, goals and approaches. Second, on a practical level the aim is to develop a benchmark model for dynamic and professional heritage education and to stimulate its integration in the curriculum of primary and secondary Dutch schools.

The research program consists of three projects and a synthesis. We focus on views of Dutch teachers and heritage educators (project 1), Dutch and English educational resources (project 2), and Dutch students' entrance narratives and their learning experiences (project 3). The research projects focus on the same topics as contexts for analysis: Transatlantic Slave Trade and World War II. We selected these topics for various reasons. First, in the Netherlands they relate to items of the Dutch Canon. Second, they are part of the Dutch and English history curriculum for primary and secondary schools. Third, they include material and immaterial heritage (memory sites, buildings, rituals, texts). Additionally, the heritage associated with these topics has trans- and (inter)national dimensions. Last, we expect that especially heritage education resources related to these topics reflect an engagement with the past that is emotional and identity-focused.  Next to improvement of historical understanding and knowledge, the topics may also aim at a strengthening of tolerance, responsible citizenship and a historically grounded sense of selfhood. In such cases ‘becoming something’ seems as important as ‘learning something’. The findings of the projects will contribute to the development of benchmarks for heritage education (synthesis).


Anne Frank House Bookcase

This research is affiliated with the endowed chair in Historical Culture and Education which was established by Erfgoed Nederland (The Netherlands Institute for Heritage) in 2008 at the Center for Historical Culture and has been extended by LKCA, the Netherlands Expertise Centre for Arts and Cultural Education. The research will be conducted in collaboration with LKCA and EUROCLIO (European Association for History Educators). An Advisory Committee of seven academic experts will oversee the progress and intellectual output of the program during regular meetings with researchers and applicants.

Grant: € 560.621 for post doc; two PhD students; teaching replacement supervisor program

Research leaders: prof.dr. Maria Grever (supervisor program) and prof.dr. Carla van Boxtel

Duration of the program: 2009-2014

Original NWO application for the research program (pdf)