Research and Development

Research and development are an important part of the activities of the Dutch Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage, the aim of which is to deepen knowledge in order to support the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage in practice. The Centre has developed five research lines in order to come up with answers to the main challenges of a globalising society.

In a globalising society, intangible cultural heritage communities are confronted by the most diverse challenges. There is public debate about fireworks and Zwarte Piet (Black Pete), about uniqueness and diversity, about the link between tangible and intangible cultural heritage, about tourist marketing and over-commercialisation, as well as discussions about how to pay attention to what matters for young people. Each of these discussions touches on how an intangible cultural heritage community can respond to a changing society while searching for a future for heritage that you find important.

Goal of research lines: practical tool kits

What is specific to the Centre's approach is that it strives for a form of research in which the 'communities, groups and individuals' that create intangible cultural heritage are closely involved. On an international plane, the term ‘participatory’ or ‘collaborative research’ is used for this. This means that the Centre always involves heritage communities in mapping the challenges and looks for practical outcomes development that can be made suitable for use by these heritage communities.


Five research lines

The focus of the Centre's research in 2017-2020 is on five research lines:

  1. Controversial intangible cultural heritage
  2. Intangible cultural heritage & Superdiversity
  3. Intangible cultural heritage & Youth Cultures
  4. Intangible cultural heritage & Tangible cultural heritage
  5. Intangible cultural heritage & Tourism

These five research lines have been described in the 2017-2020 Research Agenda. You can download the English summary of this Research Agenda here. The results of this research will be delivered during a final conference in late 2020. In the meantime, we will keep you up to date on the activities and results via this website and via social media.

Network partners 

The Centre works together with network partners for the purpose of the five research lines. It is involved in international collaboration within the ICH NGO Forum, the platform with the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Overarching network partners in the Netherlands include Utrecht University, the Meertens Instituut and the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau). See the individual chapters for the other network partners.

Research and Development Team

The Research and  Development Team consists of Albert van der Zeijden (team leader), Susanne Verburg, Sophie Elpers, Jet Bakels, and Mark Schep. You can reach the Research and  Development Team on:

Themadossiers Kennisontwikkeling