Accessing Campscapes: Digital platform for inclusive strategies for accessing contested heritage sites in Europe

Research output: Web publication or Non-textual formWeb publication or WebsiteAcademic


iC-ACCESS (HERA.15.092) main platform for project output.

This EU collaborative and interdisciplinary research project aims to develop inclusive strategies to provide access to Nazi and Stalinist ‘campscapes’ as sites of remembrance, education, and research. In most post-war European countries former Nazi concentration and extermination camps have become icons of antifascist resistance and the Holocaust. They were followed after 1989 by former communist and Gulag punishment and forced labour camps considered as new icons of Soviet terror and occupation. Together the camps have come to play a consistent role in Europe’s rethinking of totalitarianism and genocide. Therefore iC-ACCESS addresses their future role as vital, though contested monuments of the 20th century ‘era of camps'. This is far from a straight-forward process in the current, dynamic context of Europeanization, on the one hand, and Euroscepticism on the other. Most of the camps have long been demolished without physical remnants, others are either monumentalized as national symbols or suddenly face the misuse of their conflicted past for populist politics of identity. Hence the challenge of a sustainable, truthful and reliable (re-)use of these often-contested ‘heritagescapes’ demands a transnational, interdisciplinary and integrated approach.

Research questions include: How do we best valorize their dissonant heritage, given the multiplicity of users, memorial practices and visitor expectation, incorporate and display testimonial material of their problematic history, and preserve, use and add value to them? This project examines campscapes: Westerbork, Bergen-Belsen, Treblinka, Falstad, Jasenovac, Lety, and Jáchymov. The objectives are three-fold: to evaluate the cultural dynamics and narratives that have shaped the safeguarding and significance of these selected campscapes; to identify and analyze the ethics and practices of their preservation and presentation; and finally to develop state-of-the-art strategies and implement innovative tools which provide sustainable in-situ and virtual forms of investigation, presentation and representation.

This digital platform brings together a collection of deliverables which were produced in the project and is by no means complete. It contains information on the mapping (camps), meaning (icons) and use (themes) of several camps operational both during and after the Second Word War in Europe:
The future goal is to create a larger dynamic, European-wide interactive framework for digitized collections by continuously feeding the platform with data according to the project's mission of developing of inclusive strategies for contested heritage in Europe.

Consortium members
University of Amsterdam, Coordinator (Netherlands)
NTNU Norwegian University, Trondheim (Norway)
Staffordshire University (United Kingdom)
West Bohemia University, Pilsen (Czech Republic)
Freie Universität Berlin (Germany)
Universitat Pompeu Fabra /IBEC, Barcelona (Spain)
Post Bellum, Prague (Czech Republic)
Herinneringscentrum Kamp Westerbork (Netherlands)
Jasenovac Memorial Site (Croatia)
Falstad Centre (Norway)
Lidice Memorial /Museum of Romani Culture (Czech Republic)
Muzeum Walki i Męczeństwa w Treblince (Poland)
Bergen Belsen Memorial (Germany)
Asociación Memorial Campo de Concentración de Castuera (Spain)
Wiener Wiesenthal Institut (Austria)

Accessing Campscapes website and E-Journal:
Digital platform:
Duration: 01/04/2016 – 31/12/2019
Project Topic: REFLECTIVE-1-2014 (H2020-EU.3.6.)
Acronym: iC-ACCESS (2016-Uses of the Past /HERA.15.092)
Project leader: Prof. Rob van der Laarse, Westerbork professor in the Heritage of War and Conflict at VU University and the University of Amsterdam.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 649307
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherHERA iC-ACCESS -
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


  • Holocaust
  • Campscapes
  • HERA Uses of the Past
  • Terrorscapes


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