Cultural Heritage

Caring for cultural heritage in the Netherlands

Archaeologists have studied ruins, manuscripts, coins and archaeological remains since the sixteenth century. In the nineteenth century people started to specialise and this led to the creation of independent specialist fields for the various sources. Caring for heritage also received a significant impulse at this time. Each discipline imposed different accents.  In the case of the built environment archaeologists mainly focussed on protection and restoration, while in the case of soil archive the main focus was scientific research.

The question is how stories, premises, buildings and locations – in conjunction with one another – can contribute to the design of our society and our environment.

The preparations for the new Environmental and Planning Act [Omgevingswet] are hugely important for Cultural Heritage. This is because Cultural Heritage also has to be safeguarded within this framework.

edited February 9th 2018

Attention to preservation

Although the studying of the historical landscape started to be developed in the twentieth century, caring for the historical landscape is a relatively recent phenomenon. From the end of the nineteenth century landscape preservation basically meant preserving nature as a response to urbanisation, industrialisation and pollution. Preserving the historical cultural landscape only really became an issue after the borders between towns and cities and countryside rapidly started to become blurred during recent decades.

Importance of cultural heritage

In the Atlas of the Living Environment, Cultural Heritage can be combined with all kinds of other, often unexpected themes. Consequently, it can contribute to gaining an insight into, and finding solutions for, current and future questions and bottlenecks. Changes are taking place all the time and are rigorous. Cultural Heritage is vulnerable and therefore requires special attention in terms of regulations and policy.

edited February 9th 2018

Government involvement

The Dutch municipalities are primarily responsible for carrying out tasks but, by doing so, they are also playing a greater role in decision-making. The provincial governments are a linchpin in the spatial dynamism of our country and central government is the final piece in the jigsaw.

At state level the emphasis is mainly on the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (agriculture, including agricultural education, fisheries, nature conservation and countryside policy), the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (with the Cultural Heritage Agency) and the Ministry of Defence.

The preparations for the new Environmental and Planning Act [Omgevingswet] are hugely important for Cultural Heritage. The foundation and basis of archaeology and monuments policy is incorporated into spatial legislation. The mission of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science  is to safeguard Cultural Heritage within the framework of the new Environmental and Planning Act.

edited February 9th 2018

The contribution by volunteers and private organisations

The Netherlands is home to large numbers of private individuals and private organisations who are committed to preserving the country's cultural heritage. These organisations are diverse in terms of size, organisation structure, methods of working and field of work, as well as in their objectives, from providing information to performing research, from assessments and descriptions to restoring and managing the country's heritage. In the context of all these activities volunteers play a huge and active role.

edited February 9th 2018