LDE Professional Training Landscape Biography: a Retrospect

The first professional training organized by the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Global Heritage and Development has finished. The participants work for municipalities, provinces, universities or are independent researchers or consultants in the Heritage Sector. During three intensive days in September and October, they explored the concept of the Landscape Biography, aided by several guest lecturers and a visit to former airbase Valkenburg.

Excursion to Former Airbase Valkenburg

Landscape Biography
The Landscape Biography is a method that Leiden University’s dean of Archaeology, Jan Kolen, has helped develop. The concept came from landscape archaeology and explicitly involves people as authors of a landscape as well as their experience of it, this is done for example by integrating oral histories. The narrative character of the Landscape Biography makes it very suitable for spatial planning and as a source of inspiration for public participation in heritage related issues.

Plenary discussion at the Lakenhal

The Landscape Biography can be a useful tool in the context of the new Dutch Environmental Act (Omgevingswet, implementation mid 2022). This new law is extremely important for issues such as climate change or the problematic housing market. Under the Omgevingswet, local authorities need to develop an Omgevingsvisie in which they envision how they want to develop and protect their living environment. The Landscape Biography is a tool for writing this vision.

This training is part of the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Universities ambition to work together in tackling global challenges. It is also a good example of valorisation, where knowledge created by the university is shared with society in order to deal with the major issues of our time.