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Gert-Jan Burgers is full professor in Heritage and History of Cultural Landscapes and Urban Environments at the Faculty of Humanities of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VUA). He directs the interfaculty VU research institute CLUE+ for Culture, Cognition, History and Heritage, with approx. 250 researchers from a range of disciplines from the Humanities, Religion and Theology, Science, Social Sciences, Law and Economics. Burgers is also coordinator of the Pan-european H2020 Marie Curie International Training Network 'Heriland. Cultural Heritage and the Planning of European Landscapes'. Prior to this, he was director of the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (2012-2013) and Head of the Heritage and Ancient Studies departments of the same institute (2006-2013). In these capacities, Burgers’ mission has been to bring together researchers from a wide variety of academic disciplines, to jointly investigate scientific and societal challenges and to formulate strategies for addressing those challenges.

To that aim, over the last decades Burgers has developed and directed a series of large scale archaeological field projects in Italy. Since 2004 he has also directed critical heritage projects, notably  in the Italian region of Apulia and in Rome (see below). Linking these projects to larger European consortiums, Burgers has built up an extensive international network of researchers, as well as of policy makers, urban planners, architects, citizen organisations and other stakeholder groups involved in heritage management and spatial planning and design. In all project cases Burgers has attracted substantial external funding from national and international public sector organizations, including NWO (Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research), Italian government departments and the European Union, as well as commercial sponsors.



The greater part of his academic career to date, Burgers has been concerned with  urban and rural landscape studies and with critical and spatial heritage studies (conceptually as well as applied). In these fields he has published eleven books and over seventy articles, delivered over fifty invited papers at international conferences, and organised thirty international workshops and congresses. His more recent work is dedicated to the theme of heritage and spatial planning, on which he has launched a series of ambitious projects. These are funded amongst others by the H2020 Marie Curie scheme and aim at educating a new generation of researchers, professionals and entrepeneurs to create socially, economically and environmentally sustainable spaces through heritage planning. 



Major project grants

  • 2019-2023: Project Leader of Heriland. Cultural Heritage and the Planning of European Landscapes, an International Training Network funded by the H2020 Marie Curie action (no. 813883). Training 15 Phds in research based heritage planning strategies.
  • 2019-present: Coordinator of Exploded View. Artistic research in transition, funded by the Mondriaan Fund and the AFK-Fund. The project brings together artists, researchers and professionals in the field of landscape management, to collaborate with public and private stakeholders in research, management and planning of landscape parks in Amsterdam and Rome
  • 2016-present: Scientific direction heritage project Valorizzazione e fruizione dell’insediamento messapico di Muro Tenente, financed by the Accordo di Programma Quadro “Beni ed attività culturali” between the  Region of Apulia and the Italian Ministry MIBACT. This project concerns the arrangement and management of an archaeological park of Muro Tenente (IT – prov. of Brindisi);

  • 2011-present: co-direction project Challenging Testaccio. World Heritage in a Working Class Area, with dr. Renato Sebastiani (Archaeological Heritage Board of Rome; SSBAR); Private and public funding. This project constitutes a laboratory for research on theoretical concepts (Urban Landscape History. Landscape biography) and tools for heritage planning;

  • 2006-present: Co-direction L’Amastuola Archaeological Project (until 2010 with prof. Crielaard, VUA). Public funding; NWO Humanities, EU Marie Curie (FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IEF No 301094). Project on early colonization in Greater Greece;

  • 1995-present: Direction of Salento Isthmus Project. Private and public sponsoring (e.g. NWO – Historical Sciences. This project focuses on the long term biography of an Italian region (isthmus of Salento), translating it into the present and integrating it in development plans at the level of individual municipalities;

  • 2007-2009: Scientific direction EU-heritage project Progetto di Recupero, Valorizzazione e Fruizione del Sito Li Castelli di S. Pancrazio Salentino.- funding: UE Development Fund ERDF - ROP for Apulia;

  • 2007-2008: Scientific direction EU-heritage development project Progetto di Recupero, Valorizzazione e Fruizione del Sito Muro Tenente – funding: UE Development Fund ERDF - ROP for Apulia;

  • 1997-2002: Co-direction Regional Pathways to Complexity- project, with prof. P. Attema (RUG). NWO/ Historical sciences funding. In this project we first experimented with a long term biographical landscape approach and its theoretical underpinnings.



Burgers’ teaching concentrates on Landscape Studies and Critical and Spatial Heritage Studies. He also teaches archaeology classes, mainly on Mediterranean archaeology, landscape and heritage. He supervises theses and dissertations at bachelor, master and doctoral level, both in the Netherlands and in other countries. He coordinates a Pan-European PhD training network on cultural heritage and the planning of landscapes. He would welcome PhD applications on the following topics (please contact g.l.m.burgers@vu.nl):

  • Heritage and the living environment; heritage planning and design in urban and rural contexts

  • Landscape Archaeology
  • Social and political change in pre- and early-Roman Italy; Romanization, colonization and urbanism

  • Landscape archaeology


Current PhD candidates

  • Nana Zheng, Coming to Grips with Diverse voices in Participatory Heritage Initiatives
  • Marta Ducci, Disappearing Landscapes of Apulia
  • Marilena Mela, From territories to landscapes. Spatial planning and heritage stories in European lands
  • Alana Castro De Azevedo, Barriers to publi participation in memorialization processes: Evidence from three case studies
  • Ilona Venderbos, Gendered Identitities in Italy (9th – 6th centuries BC)

  • Christian Napolitano, Archeologia dei Paesaggi contemporanei nella piana brindisina

  • Dorota Biesiekirska, (as co-promotor; promotor prof. V. Stissi)

  • Ilaria Ricci, La villa rustica nel mondo romano. Caso di studio dell’orizzonte pugliese


Ancillary activities

  • Journal Siris. | Matera | Adviseur | 2017-07-09 - present
  • Archaeological Park of Muro Tenente | Mesagne | Wetenschappelijk directeur | 2017-07-09 - present
  • Periodical Archeologia e Storia | Lecce | Adviseur | 2017-07-09 - present
  • Ecomuseo della Via Appia | Latiano | Adviseur | 2017-07-09 - present

Ancillary activities are updated daily

Ancillary activities

  • Member of the scientific board of Ergasteria. Collana di studi di Archeologia del Dipartimento di Scienze del Patrimoinio Culturale dell’Università di Salerno.
  • Member of the scientific board of the journal Siris. Studi e Ricerche della Scuola di Specializzazione in Archeologia di Matera
  • Member of the Dutch National Research School of Archaeology Archon
  • Advisory board member of the Collaborative Research Centre 1070 'ResourceCultures - sociocultural Dynamics and the Use of Resources' of the University of Tubingen, financed by the DWG.
  • Member of the scientific board of the periodical Insulae Diomedeae. Collana di ricerche storiche e archeologiche
  • Member of the Board of Herity International
  • Member of the scientific advisory board of the EU-Joint Programme Initiative on Cultural Heritage
  • Advisor to the Ecomuseo della Via Appia (Italy, prov. Brindisi)
  • Scientific director of the archaeological park of Muro Tenente (Italy, prov. Brindisi)
  • Member of the scientific board of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Taranto



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