Professor Jan (J.C.A.) Kolen studied Archaeology at Leiden University. After graduating, he worked for the RAAP Foundation at the University of Amsterdam and the NWO Pioneer Project 'Changing view of Ice Age foragers' (Leiden University). In 2005, he obtained his PhD (cum laude) with his dissertation on the ‘Biography of the Landscape’, a new approach to landscape history. Since 2000 he has been affiliated to the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, initially as a lecturer, then as Belvedere Professor of Heritage of Town and Country, and since 2009 as Professor of the History and Heritage of European Cultural Landscapes. In addition, Jan Kolen was Director of the CLUE Interfaculty Research Institute (Heritage and History of the Cultural Landscape and Urban Environment). In 2013 he was appointed Professor of Landscape Archaeology and Cultural Heritage at Leiden University as well as Scientific Director of the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Global Heritage and Development (2013-2019). Jan is also boardmember of ICOMOS Netherlands since 2015.
Since September 2018 Jan is the Dean of the Archaeology Faculty of Leiden University.