Place meanings of Dutch raised bog landscapes: an interdisciplinary long-term perspective (5000 BCE–present)

Maurice Paulissen*, Roy van Beek, Maria de Wit, Maarten Jacobs, Floor Huisman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Few natural landscapes have been so negatively stereotyped as raised bogs. These stereotypes as well as knowledge gaps on bog perceptions have hampered the development of nuanced and realistic views on humans’ historical relations to bogs. We studied variation in eight bog place meanings (attachment, beauty, biodiversity, functionality, risk, admiration, historicity, and mystery) from prehistory to present by integrating qualitative archaeological and historical with quantitative survey evidence on Dutch bog areas. Virtually all place meanings were found in late modern and present-day material. In older periods, functionality, risk, and mystery were dominant. Daytime/night-time differences could explain the co-existence of apparently opposite place meanings. Physical bog landscape characteristics were important place meaning determinants, and similar meaning patterns across different bog areas underlined this. The long co-existence of mystery (and risk) alongside functional meanings may explain the persistent popularity of negative bog stereotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1071-1086
JournalLandscape Research
Issue number8
Early online dateSept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2022


  • archaeology
  • history
  • long-term perspective
  • Low Countries
  • online survey
  • peatland
  • Place meaning
  • raised bog
  • sense of place
  • The Netherlands


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