Dr. Albert van der Zeijden thesis prize

Foto Albert van der Zeijden 2

Albert van der Zeijden

In memory of Dr. Albert van der Zeijden, the Dutch Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage, in cooperation with Utrecht University, wants to stimulate research on intangible cultural heritage (ICH) by rewarding excellent theses on this subject.


Focus of the thesis

In the thesis, (a form of) intangible heritage should be the main theme. Intangible heritage touches on many different areas, from tourism to policy, diversity, sustainability and more. An important starting point is always that the communities, groups and individuals who keep intangible heritage alive are central and are involved in the research (or informed about it). The Dutch Centre defines intangible heritage as it is defined in the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003):

Intangible cultural heritage (ICH) involves social customs, traditions, rituals, representations, expressions, particular knowledge of nature and craft skills that communities and groups recognise as a form of cultural heritage (derived from the description in the UNESCO Convention). It is passed on from generation to generation and from person to person.

UNESCO has identified five domains or categories of intangible heritage:

- Social practices, rituals and festive events
- Oral traditions and expressions
- Performing arts
- Traditional craftsmanship
- Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe

Bijschrijvingen juni 2021

See here an overview of all the intangible heritage that has been registered with the Dutch Centre for ICH.


  • The thesis has been assessed with at least an 8 (15 in Belgium) + proof
  • Bachelor and Master theses on Intangible Heritage written at and assessed by a university or college in the Kingdom of the Netherlands or Flanders between September 1, 2021 and August 31, 2023.
  • Dutch or English language
  • Demonstrated voluntary, prior and informed consent of the heritage community(ies) involved.
  • Summary of the thesis in max. two A4

Evaluation criteria

  • Relevance to the practice of (safeguarding) intangible heritage
  • Relevance to science
  • Research methods (preferably participatory research - involvement of heritage practitioners in the research)
  • Clarity/readability
  • Originality
  • Social value/contemporary value

Evaluation Committee

  • Prof. dr. Rose Mary Allen - University of Curaçao
  • Jorijn Neyrinck – Werkplaats Immaterieel Erfgoed Vlaanderen
  • dr. Mark Schep – Dutch Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage- Reinwardt Academie
  • dr. Renée Vulto - Utrecht University 
  • dr. Adrienne Zuiderweg - Stichting Indisch Erfgoed


The winner of the Dr. Albert van der Zeijden thesis prize will receive:

  • 1000,- euro
  • Unique ICH Trophy, made by a craftsman
  • Presentation of research at the ceremony in the first months of 2024, in collaboration with Utrecht University
  • Publication on the website of the Dutch Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage

Practical requirements

  • The thesis should be sent in a digital version to scriptieprijs@immaterieelerfgoed.nl.
  • The final submission date is October 15, 2023
  • The thesis must clearly state the contact details (name, email address and telephone number) of the student and the professor

dr. Albert van der Zeijden

Albert van der Zeijden (1957-2021) worked as a historian within the world of intangible heritage and folk culture for almost 35 years. In recent years Albert van der Zeijden worked as head of team Research and Development at the Dutch Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage, previously known as the Nederlands Centrum voor Volkscultuur (NCV), and from 2012, after the ratification of the 2003 UNESCO Convention, as the Nederlands Centrum voor Volkscultuur en Immaterieel Erfgoed (VIE). Under Albert van der Zeijden's leadership, the Research Agenda 2017-2020 was created, where his focus was on superdiversity and sustainable tourism and intangible heritage.

Albert van der Zeijden was a Research Fellow Heritage Studies at Utrecht University where he supervised students with theses, among other things. He was also internationally active, for example within the ICH-NGO Forum where he was coordinator of the Research Working Group. In addition, Albert van der Zeijden was an editorial board member of the Flemish-Dutch journal Volkskunde.  

In 2002 Albert van der Zeijden received his PhD from the University of Amsterdam on Catholic identity and historical awareness. WJF Nuyens (1823-1894) and his 'national' historiography (Hilversum 2002). Catholicism was one of his great passions, which he loved to write and tell about.

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