Menne C. Kosian
(Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency, Amersfoort, the Netherlands)


The main objective of the paper is to show how, with modern techniques and new  ideas cultural heritage and archaeology can be protected in urban areas under pressure of new development plans.


Few urban landscapes are more threatened than the urban fringes, the areas that functions as a ‘landscape interface’ between town and country, where urban and rural uses mix and often clash. Despite these threats these areas are widely recognised as valuable, though often neglected assets, which can provide a high quality environment on the city doorstep. Not only do they have a diverse landscape with potential for biodiversity, but they often have a hidden richness in cultural history. With population growth and urban economic needs these areas deserve to be protected, or at least recognised in urban development plans.

The landscape biography tool can be used very effectively to integrate cultural history into the town planning by giving an individuality to these areas and connecting local inhabitants with their (unknown) past.

In this lecture I will give an example of such an urban landscape biography for the ‘Brettenzone’, a typical urban fringe area in the west of Amsterdam, between the port of Amsterdam in the north and the western expansions of the city of Amsterdam. A special attention will be given on the use of a historic cartographical GIS developed for this area. This new approach for integrating cultural history into the urban planning in city areas has been developed at the Cultural Heritage Agency in the Netherlands.


multi-disciplined research, landscape archaeology, urban landscapes, cultural heritage in urban environments, applied historic cartography in GIS