Amsterdam: Comparing Heritage Projects


Course Objective

Gaining insight into and appreciation for twentieth century (spatial)
history and built heritage projects in Amsterdam and other cities.
Learning how to think and write critically about heritage issues; how to
collect information in publications, the built environment and musea;
and getting acquainted with the professional practice of the heritage

Course Content

This course deals with urban heritage and historical themes in the
period 1850-2000. It focuses on Amsterdam as the main case-study, in
particular 20th-century city extensions, like the Bijlmermeer,
Amsterdam-West and Amsterdam-North, and specific renovation projects of
building-ensembles. Comparisons with other towns inside and outside of
the Netherlands are included. Historical questions are for instance: How
did city building politics develop? How did (the appreciation for) the
20th-century city extensions change over time? Heritage questions are:
which parts of the town do we preserve, what are the arguments for
preservation (what is the historical story, what other arguments exist),
how do we preserve it, what design is applied (what old parts are
renovated, what new parts are designed), and what new functions does the
preserved ensemble or building get? This course contributes to an
orientation in the professional field of heritage studies and the
learning content is related to on-going research projects.

Teaching Methods

Seminar sessions of 2 hours, once per two weeks in November and
December. Presence at seminar sessions is mandatory.The course consists
of two parts. First students study a package of literature on a topic of
their choice and discuss this with the two lecturers during an oral
examination of 20 minutes in November (period 2). Then students
undertake a research project, extending the package of literature by
individual literature research and by contacting heritage organisations,
and write a research paper (5.000 words), to be submitted in January
(period 3). Also students prepare an oral presentation of their project,
if possible on the spot down town (15 min.), or supported by a
Powerpoint Presentation at the VU (15 min.). Some sessions take the form
of excursions. Two lecturer-guided excursions in November-December
(period 2) are part of the course. In January (period 3) an excursion
will take place organized by the students, where students will present
their research projects.

Method of Assessment

Oral book exam (40%), oral presentation (20%) and research paper (40%).

Target Audience

BA students history and history of architecture.

Additional Information

This course is one of the three core modules focused on spatial history
of the minor 'Amsterdam Urban History.' The other courses are
'Amsterdam: A Historical Introduction' and 'Amsterdam: Global Historical

Recommended background knowledge

This is a course for students who want to invest in research seriously,
so you need to be acquainted with the urban history of Amsterdam. Highly
recommended: take the course 'Amsterdam: A Historical Introduction' or
'Amsterdam: Global Historical Perspectives', or both.

General Information

Course Code L_AABAALG058
Credits 6 EC
Period P2+3
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. F.H. Schmidt
Examiner dr. F.H. Schmidt
Teaching Staff prof. dr. P.J.E.M. van Dam
dr. F.H. Schmidt

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Excursion
Target audiences

This course is also available as: