Expert meeting: Protecting Cultural Heritage, Protecting People?

De oude stad van Lviv, Oekraïne ©
The old town of Lviv, Ukraine ©

On 30 April, an expert meeting on heritage and conflict in Ukraine and beyond takes place at Utrecht University. The session aims to draw light to the relationship between communities’ well-being and the protection of cultural heritage. It is organised in light of the 70th anniversary of the landmark 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

Protecting heritage to protect civilians

Cultural heritage, whether tangible or intangible, is connected to people’s identities, norms, and values. Heritage has always been an instrument of identity in nation-state-building and politics. In recent examples of armed conflict, heritage has increasingly become a weapon. Even though the protection of cultural heritage in wartime has been enshrined in international law for almost a century, the operational arguments for protecting heritage to protect civilians and their communities deserve greater attention.


This expert meeting aims to draw light to the relationship between communities’ well-being and the protection and reconstruction of cultural heritage during and after conflict, drawing upon case studies from the Middle East, the Western Balkans, and Ukraine. It aims to tie together perspectives of international security and conflict mitigation to heritage protection and the protection of civilians.

We reflect on the role academics and researchers have played in safeguarding or weaponising heritage in the face of conflict. Importantly we reflect on the important role the Netherlands has played in protecting and rebuilding heritage in the time of conflict and the role it can play today. How can we make these linkages more apparent? What are ways to better enshrine cultural heritage protection policy and practice within the protection of civilians?

Start date and time
End date and time
Drift 25, room 0.02

Please register here