Gepubliceerd op 04-08-2021

Wageningen University PhD position on assessing the sustainable management and design of the landscape and heritage of the colonies of benevolence

Are you passionate about cultural history in landscapes and working together with local people in the Netherlands? Are you a landscape architect, urban designer, historical geographer or landscape historian with an interest in analysing the sustainable management and design of the colonies of benevolence, assessing aspects of agricultural transitions, social wellbeing and conducting landscape design? Then this could be your perfect PhD position!

We offer a PhD position on assessing the sustainable management and design of the landscape and heritage of the colonies of benevolence. You will conduct a PhD research that revolves around the rethinking and redesigning of historical landscapes and built environments in the Dutch colonies of benevolence Wilhelminaoord, Frederiksoord and Willemsoord to examine the past and future of the Society of Benevolence as landowner, designer, care-taker, agricultural pioneer and entrepreneur. The colonies were founded in the early 19th century by the Society of Benevolence, that still has an active and important role in the spatial and social transitions of these villages and landscapes.

You will research the past, present and future of the society and the colonies through a landscape-based approach. You will conduct participatory research through design, with the local community in different Living Labs in the Dutch province of Drenthe. You will not only generate designs but you also test them with experts and the local community and you organize the meetings, sketching sessions and communication with them, together with the programme office for this project.

Participation, design and spatiality

At the base of this PhD lies a landscape-based approach to heritage, acknowledging the dynamic relationship between historic objects and their surrounding environment. Furthermore, it is increasingly recognized that heritage encompasses the past and continuing cultural practices that are closely related to these material remains. Heritage values thus pertain to built and non-built spaces in a landscape, and to their formal function and informal use, by residing communities and visitors alike. The planning and design context in which heritage professionals work is therefore increasingly multi-actor and multi-level in character.


  • successfully completed an MSc or MA degree in landscape architecture, urban design, historical geography, human geography or landscape history
  • proven knowledge and skills in architectural history and/ or heritage studies
  • excellent Dutch language proficiency
  • excellent English language proficiency (a minimum of CEFR C2 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page
  • met all the entry requirements of the WUR PhD programme.

Conditions of employment

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • study leave, and paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team. The gross salary for the first year is € 2.395,- per month rising to € 3.061,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

Apply now!

For more information about this function you can contact Elyze Storms-Smeets, special associate professor, Elyze.storms-smeets@wur.nl

For more information about the procedure you can contact Edgar Tijhuis, corporate recruiter, edgar.tijhuis@wur.nl

Het KNHG is de grootste organisatie van professionele historici in Nederland. Het biedt een platform aan de ruim 1100 leden en aan de historische gemeenschap als geheel. Word lid van het KNHG.
Het Huygens Instituut beoogt de Nederlandse geschiedenis en cultuur inclusiever maken. Het ontsluit historische bronnen en literaire teksten en ontwikkelt innovatieve methoden, tools en duurzame digitale infrastructuur.