Roeland Paardekooper was born in 1970 as youngest of a family of four. Already at young age, he became active for the Dutch Youth Association for History (NJBG), both in the board of the local branch as at national level in the Workgroup Experimental Archaeology (WEA). In 1982, the Eindhoven Museum was founded at short distance of the secondary school of Roeland Paardekooper. Every spare moment which he didn’t need to spend on his homework, every hour of classes when the teacher didn’t show up, he was either at the ‘prehistoric village’ or at an archaeological dig near Eindhoven.
Roeland Paardekooper received his MA in archaeology (prehistory of Europe) from Universiteit Leiden, with a lot of minors in Amsterdam. By the end of his secondary school and into his first years of study, the first international contacts came about: excavations in Germany and Denmark, helping with constructing Viking houses and other reconstructions in the same countries, experiences with living history. The attention for international contacts remained undiminished. The knowledge of languages as acquired in secondary school was expanded with Danish and basic knowledge of several other languages.
During his student years, Roeland Paardekooper has acquired ample experience in the running of Oxfam Shop Leiden, together with a large number of volunteer employees. Purchase and running the IT and staff policy were his main responsibilities.
From 1982, the Eindhoven Museum has actually never let go of Roeland Paardekooper. For that reason, in 2004 he moved back to Eindhoven to accept a job there. With that, he was the first archaeologist serving the museum as employee. In 2006 this contract ended to change jobs to the coordination of the European project liveARCH which ran until 2009.
Simultaneously with the start of liveARCH in 2006, Paardekooper executed a part time long distance PhD project at the University of Exeter which he concluded in 2012. He then published his first book, on the use of archaeological open-air museums. In this book Paardekooper shows to be both a diplomatic scientist and a realistic manager.
After the success of the EU project liveARCH, Paardekooper (co-)authored several other EU cooperation projects for EXARC members. One of those projects was OpenArch, running 2011 - 2015, where Paardekooper helped with starting up the project management and continued to be involved as community manager.
EXARC remains a source of inspiration and welcome international experience besides Paardekooper's other activities. In the years 2013 - 2016 Paardekooper successfully implemented his thoughts on how to run an archaeological open-air museum in Oerlinghausen, Germany.
Following his PhD in archaeological open-air museums at the University of Exeter in 2012 and their active role in the EU project OpenArch (2012-2015), Paardekooper was appointed honorary research fellow in 2018.