Professur for Cultural Heritage and the Protection of Cultural Property


Professor for Cultural Heritage and the Protection of Cultural Property

Prof. Dr. Thomas Schmitt
Marstallstraße 6
69117 Heidelberg

phone +49-6221-54-7869

Professor Thomas Schmitt


Thomas Schmitt has held the professorship for Cultural Heritage and Cultural Property Protection at the Heidelberg Center for Cultural Heritage (HCCH) since 2020. His disciplinary background is in geography. Since his post-doctoral research, he has worked on the governance of UNESCO World Heritage in the interplay between local, national and global actors, as well as on the protection of World Heritage sites in North Arica. He also works on the UNESCO category of intangible heritage. Beyond the field of heritage, the habilitated geographer has also conducted research on other topics, in particular urban conflicts, energy and sustainability transition, as well as geographical research on religion. With the team of the professorship, he also works and teaches in Heidelberg on EU cultural policies, restitution and provenance of cultural assets as well as practices of remembrance and commemoration. In his teaching, he covers the entire spectrum of cultural heritage and cultural property protection. 

Research and Projects

Thomas Schmitt's research to date has focused on the UNESCO World Heritage system. Based on qualitative social science research, he has reconstructed the governance of the UNESCO World Heritage regime, fundamental structures and negotiation mechanisms in the interplay between global, national and local actors.

Other members of the professorship team work on questions of restitution and provenance as well as on the topic of remembrance and commemoration. In his academic teaching, Thomas Schmitt covers the entire range of topics relating to cultural heritage and the protection of cultural property.

You can find more detailed information about the research on UNESCO heritage categories and corresponding outreach in the form of lecture series and conferences under "Learn more".

Learn more


Current Projects

In a research project funded by the German Research Foundation from 2017 to 2023, Thomas Schmitt is working together with Jonas Lendl M.A. on EU cultural policies. 

In another project (funded by the BMBF), he explores, together with Dr. Ertufrul Sahin, interactions around Islam-related radicalisations.

Memberships (Selection

  • Arbeitskreis Theorie und Lehre in der Denkmalpflege (AKTLD)
  • Association of Crictial Heritage Studies (ACHS)
  • Fachkomitee Immaterielles Kulturerbe der Deutschen UNESCO-Kommission
  • Fränkisch-Geographische Gesellschaft (FGG), Heidelberger Geographische Gesellschaft (HGG)
  • Verband für Geographie an deutschsprachigen Hochschulen und Forschungseinrichtungen (VGDH)