Preservation and Development: The Cultural Landscape and Heritage Paradox in the Netherlands

A.J.J. van der Valk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Heritage managers and spatial planners have traditionally developed conservation-oriented (that is, defensive) strategies to protect archaeological–historical values in rural landscapes. However, despite increasing government policy conservation efforts, rural landscapes face continuous encroachment. In the Netherlands, an interdisciplinary research programme entitled ‘Protecting and Developing the Archaeological-Historical Landscape’ has explored an alternative approach that focuses on non-destructive change with the help of the concept of landscape biography. This paper presents an overview of the underlying philosophy and the lessons learned from two specific cases. The maintenance-by-way-of-development concept can help resolve the apparent paradox between landscape heritage preservation and development. The development strategy combines storytelling and scientific analysis in order to assist in the building of territorial identity. However, the fact that the policy concept and the underlying premises have not yet been subjected to stringent testing undermines the credibility of claims of wider applicability
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-173
JournalLandscape Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • development
  • heritage
  • landscape
  • planning
  • preservation


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