Director at Archäologisches Freilichtmuseum Oerlinghausen (DE). Following on Paardekoopers 2012 PhD dissertation at the University of Exeter and with his long standing international experience with archaeological open-air museums Paardekooper was asked to manage the museum in Oerlinghausen, Germany. He was first interim director then director, from 2013 to 2016.
The museum in Oerlinghausen first opened in 1936 and is about 100 km south-west of Hannover, Germany. It consists of a walk through time on 1.5 hectares, starting with the Middle Stone Age running to the Early Middle Ages. The Iron Age type houses are relicts from the previous ‘Germanengehöft’.
Starting with the simple task to keep the museum going, Paardekooper raised the visitor numbers from 18,000 to 22,000, increasing the number of happenings and their coverage with all available marketing instruments including a new website and Facebook presence. He made structural improvements in the museum where for a long time priority had been to save money. Paardekooper spent much time on making the museum more inclusive, including better roads and an audio guide. He also made new signboards throughout the museum and had these translated into five languages.