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Spek, Prof. Theo

Theo Spek
Theo Spek


History of landscape, geography

Curriculum Vitae

Theo Spek (1963) is professor of History of Landscape at the Faculty of Arts. His work is characterized by an interdisciplinary approach to the history of the cultural landscape – historical, geographical, pedological, archaeological, ecological and onomastic research methodologies are combined into a coherent tale about the landscape and its history. This knowledge is applied widely in landscape policy, spatial planning, nature management and heritage preservation.

While still an undergraduate at Wageningen University, Spek started to focus on the interdisciplinary study of agriculture, landscape and soil, with particular emphasis on the long-term history of the Dutch cultural landscape. In 1988 he started working as a researcher in the field of the history of landscape, first at the DLO-Staring Centre, then at Alterra, then the Rijksdienst voor het Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek [National Agency for Archaeological Research] and the Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed [National Agency for Cultural Heritage]. In 2004 Spek gained his PhD at Wageningen University with a thesis entitled Het Drentse esdorpenlandschap. Een historisch-geografische studie [The open-field settlement landscape in Drenthe. A historical-geographical study]. From 2000-2007 he was Secretary General of the largest European network of landscape researchers (PECSRL). In 2010 Spek became head of the Landscape Knowledge Centre at the University of Groningen, an interdisciplinary landscape centre that concentrates on academic training (Master’s and Research Master’s degree programmes), academic research and social knowledge transfer in the field of the Dutch cultural landscape and its history (see kenniscentrumlandschap).

In 2013, the Landscape Knowledge Centre launched a new website, where all the knowledge about North Netherlands landscapes is gathered together. Visitors can find information about the emergence and evolution of their own region and even add data.


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Last modified:20 March 2019 1.51 p.m.
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