Research institutes

Maastricht Centre for Arts and Culture, Conservation and Heritage

The Maastricht Centre for Arts and Culture, Conservation and Heritage (MACCH) is an interdisciplinary research centre that brings together economic, legal, (art) historic, philosophical, sociological and practical expertise to the context of arts and heritage. In response to the demands of the increasingly complex challenges facing the fields of arts and heritage today, MACCH initiates collaborative research projects with researchers, professionals, and students from diverse backgrounds. MACCH is a joint effort of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Law, the School of Business and Economics, the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences, and the Sociaal Historisch Centrum voor Limburg (SHCL) and the Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg (SRAL).



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  • Pownall

    Prof. Rachel Pownall in NY Times interview

    Monday, March 12, 2018
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  • Looted art in a moral twilight zone

    Wednesday, March 7, 2018

    When it comes to the restitution of looted art, things are never black and white. The procedures are often lengthy and complex, and the dividing line between law and morals is paper-thin. Moreover, emotions and national sensitivities quickly come into play. Peter van den Brink knows the game like no other. In recent years, he has gained a reputation as the director who was able to trace nine lost canvases and bring them back to his Suermondt-Ludwig Museum, where they had hung before the war. Van den Brink will be a keynote speaker at the annual MACCH conference at the TEFAF on 18 March.

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  • Omslag dissertatie Bart Zwegers

    Public defence by Bart Zwegers, 7 February

    Tuesday, January 30, 2018

    Bart Zwegers defended his PhD dissertation Heritage in Transition: Global and Local Challenges in Germany and the United Kingdom, 1970-2010 on Wednesday 7 February 2018. His supervisors are Prof. dr. Ernst Homburg and Dr. Jo Wachelder.

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  • Hybrid histories

    Public defence by Tim van der Heijden

    Thursday, January 18, 2018

    Public defence by Tim van der Heijden: 'Hybrid Histories: Technologies of Memory and the Cultural Dynamics of Home Movies, 1895–2005' on 18 January 2018. 

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  • Kunstrestauratie

    Laboratories at Chemelot participate in art research

    Thursday, September 14, 2017 Read more
  • IJHS

    Maisons Tropicales/Maisons Coloniales

    Wednesday, September 13, 2017

    Maisons Tropicales/Maisons Coloniales: contesting technologies of authenticity and value in Niamey, Brazzaville, Paris, New York and Venice - Article publication by Christoph Rausch in the International Journal of Heritage Studies

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  • Report of the successful MACCH Conference 2017 Participatory Practices in Arts and Heritage

    Monday, May 1, 2017

    On 17 and 18 March 2017, the MACCH annual conference ‘Participatory Practices in Arts and Heritage’ took place in Maastricht. The event was attended by an international group of researchers and professionals from a diverse set of backgrounds, including academics, policy makers, legal and museum professionals.

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  • Annual TEFAF Art Market Report by Rachel Pownall

    Thursday, March 9, 2017

    This year for the first time, the TEFAF Art Market Report has been prepared by Prof. dr. Rachel Pownall, member of the MACCH Steering Committee, who holds the TEFAF Chair in Art Markets at the School of Business Economics at Maastricht University. The report is written in partnership with the Maastricht Centre of Arts and Culture, Conservation and Heritage (MACCH) and is the only report to be able to use the aggregated artnet auction data. 

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MACCH addresses the need for an interdisciplinary approach to the academic nexus of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. We strive to make this expertise available in the EUregion and in a larger international context through publications and by organising workshops, events, and conferences, such as the annual MACCH conference during The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF). MACCH's collaborative research projects:

  1. examine the processes that turn cultural objects and practices into heritage
  2. critically assess how and for whom its values come about
  3. enhance novel ways of user engagement and participatory presentations
  4. investigate legal, economical and policy frameworks

Research lines

  • Arts & Heritage in the Making
  • Valorising Arts & Heritage
  • Participation & Presentation
  • Art Market, Law & Policy


Teaching in the areas of art, culture, conservation, and heritage is important to several faculties at Maastricht University, and interfaculty cooperation takes place in various forms and levels (bachelor’s, master’s and PhD). An example is the successful joint Minor “Art, Law and Policy Making” between the faculties of Arts & Social Sciences and Law. Another example is the course and skills training ‘Science and the Visual Arts: Conservation and its Histories’, a collaboration between the Maastricht Science Programme, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg. At the regional level MACCH collaborates with Hogeschool Zuyd and the Hubert van Eyck Academy. Our international network of partners includes the University of Amsterdam, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, KU Leuven, the University of Hasselt, and Maastricht University Campus Brussels.

Research valorisation & services

MACCH conducts research consultancy, contract research and other service activities directed towards the larger society and in collaboration with private and public partners. MACCH’s combination of legal, (art) historical, philosophical, sociological, economic, and practical expertise makes it an ideal partner for tackling the increasingly complex challenges facing arts and heritage today.

    For more information, contact Dr. Joop de Jong

    Research areas wherein we can offer services include:

    • cultural policy evaluation
    • cultural education
    • project monitoring
    • intellectual property law
    • art market research
    • re-use of industrial heritage
    • public participation
    • conservation and documentation of art


      • In the build-up to the annual conference on 18-19 March, we will be sharing the abstracts of the various contributions.

        Today: Lars van Vliet, Maastricht University
        The Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act: the first practical applications (Panel III: Restitution)
        Panel V: Art & Technology ǀ Moderator: Rachel Pownall

        Lars van Vliet: In December 2016 the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act (the HEAR act) took effect in the US. It is a federal statute that imposes a limitation period for restitution claims of artworks taken during the Holocaust from victims of Nazi persecution. This new limitation period supersedes the limitation periods in US State law. In many US States this new statute takes away one major hurdle in bringing a restitution claim for artworks taken by the Nazis. At the same time, the new statute raises lots of questions which will have to be answered by the courts. The presentation will address the first judgments in which the HEAR act has been applied and explained. The most notable example is the 2017 judgment in Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection.

        Panel V: The sheer volume of data on global art and antique sales has risen dramatically over recent decades, and the speed with which this information transcends global art markets is phenomenal as the digital age has revolutionised the way information is transmitted and accessed globally. E-commerce is providing an additional platform for artists, galleries, dealers and auction houses to reach collectors and new buyers. In this panel session we discuss the variety of structural developments across the art e-commerce industry and how this is changing the art market landscape. We discuss the trends, and how market players are confronting the opportunities and challenges this upheaval presents.

        1 week 4 hours ago
      • Photo by MACCH

        In the build-up to the annual conference on 18-19 March, we will be sharing the abstracts of the various contributions.

        Today: Bart Zwegers, Maastricht University
        Collaboration and collision. On (the lack of) collaboration in the
        heritage field

        This paper draws the attention to the changing perceptions of UNESCO World Heritage. In the early years of the World Heritage Convention, local actors met UNESCO’s involvement
        with either indifference or with considerable enthusiasm. In recent years, the enthusiasm for UNESCO’s involvement has somewhat been tempered. While many local authorities still
        pursue the World Heritage title for the perceived economic benefits, in cases where the title became a break on economic growth, local authorities expressed serious doubts about the
        desirability of UNESCO’s intervention. In several instances UNESCO experts objected to allegedly intrusive urban and infrastructural works, which gave them in some contexts the
        unenviable reputation of being old-fashioned. UNESCO was initially a token of internationalization and cosmopolitanism, but in recent years it is increasingly perceived by local actors as a sturdy institution with a traditional governance structure. Several local actors complain that they are excluded from the World Heritage process as all communications with UNESCO must go via national channels. Rather than a truly global institution, UNESCO is by some actors perceived as a faraway watchdog with little sense of the needs and questions of local actors. This paper will discuss several recent controversies over World Heritage Sites to highlight (the lack of) collaboration between local, national and international heritage actors.

        Crossing Borders in Arts & Heritage - events - Maastricht University
        1 week 1 day ago
      • In the build-up to the annual conference on 18-19 March, we will be sharing the abstracts of the various contributions.

        James Ratcliffe, Art Loss Register (Panel III Restitution)
        What drives restitution, law or reputation?
        Vanessa Tünsmeyer, Maastricht University (Panel IV: Returning Cultural Objects)
        Repatriation as a human rights concern – a familiar refrain of a much-needed song

        (Ratcliffe) In this paper I will use the experience gained at the Art Loss Register in working on numerous restitution cases regarding both antiquities and looted art to explore the role of the law in restitution. Laws, both national and international, will be contrasted with the role that reputation can play in securing the return of items subject to a claim.

        (Tünsmeyer) (Sacred) objects of indigenous peoples continue to remain in museum collections all over the world as a result of both European and settler colonialism. In the continuing process of decolonization, the language of human rights is a familiar tool for framing the debate. In the writings on repatriation debate it also is a very familiar one, and can be traced i.e. to one of the earliest legal frameworks mandating repatriation, the United States Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act from the 1990s. This paper explores in how far there is a continuing legal need for understanding the repatriation of sacred objects from museum collections as a human rights issue. It starts by classifying different legal understandings of the relationship between human rights and repatriation. It then maps the reasons advanced in the different approaches and examines these in light of contemporary human rights challenges indigenous peoples face. Finally, these discussions will be used to discuss the importance of continuing to use a human rights language in framing the debate in comparison to other angles.

        1 week 2 days ago
      • Photo by MACCH

        In the build-up to the annual conference on 18-19 March, we will be sharing the abstracts of the various contributions.

        Today: Kristin Hausler, British Institute of Int. and Comparative Law: Cultural Heritage after Brexit: Measure for Measure?

        Following the European Union (EU) referendum of June 2016 and the triggering of Article 50 of the Treaty on EU by the United Kingdom, a number of issues have continued to headline the political debate, including immigration, security, and future trade arrangements, but cultural heritage has so far been left outside this debate. This presentation will provide an assessment of the risks posed to cultural heritage in the UK once it is no longer part of the EU, and the factors that the UK needs to consider as it negotiates its exit from the EU. In particular, it considers the EU legislation currently applicable to cultural objects in the UK, which Brexit puts in jeopardy, including the instrument providing for the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a Member State or the one regulating the export of cultural goods.

        Crossing Borders in Arts & Heritage - events - Maastricht University
        1 week 3 days ago
      • Photo by MACCH

        In the build-up to the annual conference on 18-19 March, we will be sharing the abstracts of the various contributions.

        Today: Dinner Speech “Made2Measure - the economic impact of the creative industries in Maastricht” by Rachel Pownall (Maastricht University) & Response by Yelena Kharitonova (Founder/Creative Director Caravan Cultura).
        Results Survey Cultural Participation by Joop de Jong (Maastricht University)

        * Made2Measure *
        In 2013 the municipality of Maastricht started a policy to support and stimulate Maastricht’s creative industry - to generate a culturally vibrant and flourishing city. Maastricht wants to create opportunities for young and emerging creative companies and employees; to retain them in the city. First and foremost, just how large is the creative scene in Maastricht, and in the peripheral areas? The value and impact of the creative industries in the city and the local region, compared to the national situation will be presented in this new report. Further to measuring the size of the industry, the scope of the policy will be discussed. How to retain and support talent in Maastricht, and build on the municipality's policy to develop entrepreneurship within the creative sector, such as the 'studio policy', to provide incubation and housing for emerging companies in this artisan industry, as well as the importance of stimulating creative networks, will be highlighted.

        * Survey Cultural Participation *
        Cultural policy in Maastricht is much debated, also because it touches upon the identity of this diverse university city and its inhabitants. Who is participating, in which cultural activities, and for what reasons? What is the influence of gender, age, income, education, language and neighbourhood on cultural participation? Is there a difference between the audiences of subsidized and non-subsidized cultural organisations and events? Who is visiting TEFAF?
        In order to answer these fundamental questions the city government commissioned Joop de Jong and his research team to conduct a survey on cultural participation. In November and December 2017, 12,000 residents of Maastricht, age 6 years and older, Dutch and nonDutch, received a questionnaire (in Dutch and English). For this survey, Maastricht was divided into seven districts in order to get more specific information on differences between neighbourhoods. The first results were presented during a press conference on February 27th and will be discussed by the city council on March 13th, one week before the upcoming local elections on March 21st.
        The short presentation will highlight the main results of the survey.

        Crossing Borders in Arts & Heritage - events - Maastricht University
        1 week 4 days ago
      • Photo by MACCH

        In the build-up to the annual conference on 18-19 March, we will be sharing the abstracts of the various contributions.

        Today: Marja van Heese, Cultural Heritage Inspectorate
        The role of the enforcement bodies in preventing illicit trade

        In the protection of cultural goods law enforcement agencies have a role, dependent on their tasks and competences, laid down in a.o. (inter)national legislation. In general police has an investigating role, customs a controlling function at the outside borders and heritage institutions like the Cultural Heritage Inspectorate in the Netherlands have a supervisory role. Together they could form a close circle to prevent unlawful removal of cultural goods from the territory of a country.

        In the fight against trafficking of cultural goods the 1970 UNESCO Convention is a pioneering instrument in the legal protection of movable cultural heritage, broadly ratified in the EU and in most Western art market countries. Also other legal instruments as the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention and EU cultural legislation provide an important legal framework in the protection of cultural goods. As legislation is essential in the protection of cultural heritage, it is not the only aspect. Also other measures are necessary, like preventive measures as inventories of cultural goods, registration of stolen works of art and safety and security measures.

        As the world changes fast, for example in the selling and buying of goods via the internet, and with an increase in incidents, calamities and conflicts law enforcement agencies are challenged as to respond to these changes. Be it on the basis of new legislative measures, changing insights in concepts as ‘provenance’ and ‘due diligence’ or in defining risk indicators and risk analysis. Close cooperation between the different actors, both on a national and an international level is necessary.

        Crossing Borders in Arts & Heritage - events - Maastricht University
        2 weeks 1 hour ago
      • Photo by MACCH

        In the build-up to the annual conference on 18-19 March, we will be sharing the abstracts of the various contributions.

        Today: Olivier Nieuwenhuijse, LDE Center for Global Heritage and Development (Leiden, Leiden University); Institut für Vorderasiatische Archäologie (Berlin, Freie Universität)
        At the Source of Illicit Trade in Iraq and Syria

        As we are all aware, the ongoing crisis in the Middle East has severe repercussions on the preservation of archaeological and historical heritage. However, the much-publicised violence from DAESH is far from the only threat. Various factors affect the destruction, loss and theft of cultural goods in source countries, as well as the organisation of illicit art trade in the west. A proper understanding of what lies at the source of illicit trade is essential for the development of effective counter measures.

        Crossing Borders in Arts & Heritage - events - Maastricht University
        2 weeks 1 day ago
      • Photo by MACCH

        In the build-up to the annual conference on 18-19 March, we will be sharing the abstracts of the various contributions.

        Today: Andrzej Jakubowski - Keynote
        Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw
        Global Governance of Cultural Heritage: the Role of the UN Security Council

        The UNSC resolution 2347 of 24 March 2017 has been widely lauded as ‘a historic milestone’ in the international struggle to safeguard endangered heritage, reflecting a growing awareness of the importance of heritage protection for global security. Yet the core twopronged question is how and to what extent this legislative action by the UNSC may substantively contribute to the better protection of cultural heritage in armed conflicts? What is the paramount objective and true significance of this instrument? This contribution attempts to respond to these questions by critically evaluating the scope and content of Resolution 2347 in light of current international practice, comprising the developments in global heritage policy. It seeks to contextualize the role of the legislative activity of the UNSC in the process of enhancing and reinforcing cooperative and participatory concerns driving political cooperation among distinct actors for the protection of cultural heritage in armed conflict. To this end, it deals first with the current challenges and pitfalls of the international protection of cultural heritage in armed conflict. Second, it discusses how Resolution 2347 addresses international obligations in the realm of cultural heritage. Next it analyses whether and how Resolution 2347 can be seen as a platform for more effective multilevel cooperation for the protection of cultural heritage in armed conflicts, enabling more effective operational measures. Hence the key objective of this contribution is to explore the place of the UNSC within the present-day global cultural heritage governance regime, in which the collective interest in the maintenance of international peace and security and the protection of human dignity are increasingly articulated.

        Crossing Borders in Arts & Heritage - events - Maastricht University
        2 weeks 2 days ago
      • Photo by MACCH

        In the build-up to the annual conference on 18-19 March, we will be sharing the abstracts of the various contributions.

        Today: Peter van den Brink - Keynote
        Director of the Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum, Aachen
        Looted Art and the edges of morality

        Most people think that the topic of looted art, especially since the focus is on Nazi horror and Jewish victims, is very clear-cut and simple. Nothing could be further from the truth. This oversimplification has to do with the fact that only the most heroic stories – usually involving the most expensive works of art, e.g. Klimt’s Portrait of Adèle Bloch-Bauer, are made into
        film and reach a large audience and although I regard Helen Mirren as a superb actress, this was not one of her better roles. Or the topic is played out loud in the Newspapers or Talk
        Shows, especially when lawyers pump money in marketing their story to stir up moral guilt with the viewer and reader, like was the case with the Goudstikker collection. However, there are many more cases of looted art where law and moral are not always best friends and sometimes law does not even play a role at all. To get works of art back where they belong, common sense, instinct and personal contacts are sometimes more important than the letter of the law or moral drama; it really does depend on the status of the various parties involved.

        Crossing Borders in Arts & Heritage - events - Maastricht University
        2 weeks 3 days ago

    Maastricht Centre for Arts and Culture, Conservation and Heritage (MACCH)