Personal profile

Personal information

I am holding the interuniversity VU-UvA Westerbork chair in War and Conflict Heritage at VU Amsterdam.

I came to join VU-CLUE in 2010 and was for five years head of the CLUE research cluster The Heritage and Memory of Conflict and War (with Koos Bosma, Jan Kolen and Dienke Hondius), after which I was appointed founding director of the Heritage, Memory and Material Culture (AHM) research school at the University of Amsterdam, where I had been program director in Heritage and Memory Studies before.

I studied history and anthropology at the UvA where I graduated and obtained my PhD both cum laude, while my dissertation was awarded a Praemium Erasmianum research Prize (1990). As a teacher and researcher I have been a staff member of the HvA's Education and the UvA's History, Media Studies, and Art and Culture departments, and a fellow at the ESRI Salford University, Jean Monnet fellow at the EUI Florance, fellow and theme leader at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS), theme leader at the UvA priority program Heritage and Identity (ACHI) and the VU/UvA research centre ACCESS EUROPE (currently ACES and VICES), and panel assessor of NWO, RCN (Norway), HERA, JPICH, and ERC. 

As CLUE research leader I was responsible for achieving its cutting edge position in war and conflict heritage as VU co-leader of large NWO progrsamme Dynamics of Memory and several European research programs, among them the Terrorscapes networking project for which I was awarded together with Georgi Verbeeck in Rome the Euromediterraneo Prize 2013. Since 2016 I was leading the European collaborative research projct Accessing Campscapes, granted in the HERA Uses of the Past Call (iC-ACCESS) on inclusive strategies for European conflicted heritage, and the Horizon 2020 Marie-Curie ITN grant as PL of 'Curating of the Past' in the collaborative Critical Heritage for the Future of Europe (CHEurope) project.

Inaugural 2012 (NL) / Farewell Speech 2024 (NL / ENG / Video)



My research focuses on European intellectual history, cultural heritage, identity and memory politics, and conflicts and war, on which I published more than 100 book and journal publications.

I am a board member of several academic journals, such as Virtus (Yearbook on the history of Nobility, with Yme Kuiper and Hanneke Ronnes) and Accessing Campscapes (E-Journal on Nazi and Gulag camps research), and the founding editor of the CLUE book series Landscape and Heritage Studies (2010-2015) and since 2015 the succesfull AHM series Heritage and Memory Studies at Amsterdam University Press, and the Palgrave Studies in Cultural Heritage and Conflict (with Britt Baillie and Ihab Saloul). Since 2020 I am also co-editor in chief of the international peer reviewed Heritage, Memory and Conflict Journal (HMC) at AUP. 


My track record in 2017 was 5,1 million euros external research funding granted by NWO and EU research foundations.

At VU Amsterdam I initiated since 2010 several large research projects to Europe's competing memories and contested heritage of the 20th century World Wars and the Holocaust, such as the research line Dynamics of Memory (2009) developed together with Frank van Vree (NIOD/UvA), the AHRC-NWO Anglo Dutch research project Landscapes of War, Trauma and Occupation (2012) together with Gilly Carr (Cambridge University), the Westerbork Archaeological Research Project (2013) with RAAP Consult, which initiated a European program in Holocaust Archaeology, and the NWO-KNAW project Terrorscapes in Postwar Europe (2010 /2012).

From 2010-2014 I was also sworn member of the Selection Committee of the Dutch government's program Erfgoed van de Oorlog (Heritage of War), which granted 22 million euros for innovative digital preservation projects to Dutch museums, memorials and heritage institutes as to guarantee a sustainable and inclusive future to the material and intangible heritage of the Holocaust and the Second World War. 

From 2016-2020 I was both leading the EU collaborative HERA-JRP project Accessing Campscapes. Inclusive Strategies for European Conflicted Pasts (iC-ACCESS), with VU Spinlab participation, and the 'Curating the City' workpackage as PI in the H2020 MSCA-Innovative Training Network Critical Heritage Studies and the Future of Europe (CHEurope). 


As holder of the VU/UvA chair in War and Conflict Heritage I presented a yearly MA course Terrorscapes in Postwar Europe as a VU elective in narrative and site analyses, and participated as co-lecturer in other courses, such as the MA courses Biography of Landscape (key course Heritage Studies) and Archaeology of Conflict (ACASA). 

I was also teaching in the MA Heritage and Memory Studies program at the UvA of which I was founding director 2002-2010, and participate as a co-organiser and keynote speaker in many European workshops and summer schools on critical heritage and memory studies.

Finally, I am supervising around 25 PhD students (of which around 15 delivered) at the UvA and VU, and other universities, with topics related to my research fields, and am a regular examinar in PhD committees at Dutch and foreign universities.

Ancillary activities

  • Virtus Tijdschrift van Adelsgeschiedenis | Zwolle | Onbekend | 2010-09-01 - present
  • Stichting Paradox | Edam | Raad van Bestuur | 2010-09-01 - present
  • Amsterdam University Press | Amsterdam | Co-editor Heritage and Memory Studies (book series) | 2010-09-01 - present
  • Stichting HCK Westerbork | Hooghalen | Bijzonder Hoogleraar Westerbork leerstoel | 2010-09-01 - present
  • Palgrave Macmillan publisher | New York | co-editor in chief | 2015-01-01 - present
  • ERC | Brussel | panel evaluator 2019 and 2021 | 2018-09-01 - present
  • Amsterdam University Press | Amsterdam | co-editor in chief international journal HMC | 2020-01-01 - present
  • Cultural Heritage Consult (CHC) | Edam | Directeur | 2023-06-11 - present

Ancillary activities are updated daily

User created Keywords

  • Holocaust and genocide
  • cultural heritage
  • critical heritage studies
  • campscapes
  • memory studies
  • competing memories
  • terrorscapes
  • conflict heritage
  • landscape and power
  • nobility and country houses
  • European (early) modern culture
  • purity and modernity
  • culture, race and identity


Dive into the research topics where Rob van der Laarse is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or