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Mutual Cultural Heritage India


Seminar 'What is the Value of Your Heritage?'

Status: Complete

Duration: 2013

Partners: Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Netherlands Embassy Delhi



This event was organised at Fort Cochin, India. The purpose of the seminar was to explore and encourage possibilities for cooperation between the public and private sector in the region. The event aimed to explore perspectives on heritage as a tool for economic development, through bringing together stakeholders to discuss their perspectives and experiences. The Kochi-Muziris Biennale project provided good examples of projects which involved the local communities in the various stages of the development and implementation process. In fact within this project, it was the communities themselves who actively sought the funds from the private sector for the activities. This became the central case study of the seminar. 


Central Questions: 

How to improve sustainability for heritage projects in India?

What is the current willingness of communities to cooperate with heritage projects, how can this be improved upon?

How can communities access and apply for financial support for heritage projects?



There were various recommendations which resulted from the lively and dynamic discussions: India needs to access to more know-how and expertise in relation to restoration and maintenance of its heritage. It was recommended that more attention should be given to the proceedures for ongoing maintenance work, follow-up and clarification of patronage. 


In relation to India's rapid urbanisation, it was suggested that heritage projects should try to get involved as early as possible with urban development plans, in order to be relevant for economic and social developments. This has the ability to restore and strengthen local identity and can further create an overall sense of pride and local commitment. Positive spin-off effects such as the revitalisation of traditional jobs and craftsmanship can uplift the economy of a town as a whole, and its vicinity. Heritage preservation can be used to boost the tourism industry and create employment. Before this can happen knowledge of the cultural tourism industry is needed and the rejuvination of facilities such as hotels, transport and restaurants. 


Good communication is essential, updates about ongoing activities are needed for the social relevance , funds and commitment to the project to continue. Heritage workers need to think more commercially and promotionally about keeping target groups and investors active and interested. Heritage cannot sustain itself. It needs cooperation from govenments, communities, private sectors and the tourism industry. To keep stakeholders involved, we must keep them updated and remind them why heritage is important to today's society. 


Background to PPP (Public-Private Partnerships). 

The support of built heritage through conservation, restoration and long-term rehabilitation comes with the prospect of creating employment and positive spin-off effects, improvement of facilities and attracting tourism. Over the last few years, investment into heritage by both public and private sectors has become more popular. 


Public sectors usually adapt and develop policies and measures as well as ensuring investments are economically justified by the private sector, through helping out with subsidies and financial incentives. Public-Private Partnerships can be defined as long-term contractual arrangements between a public sector and private sector party. The goal should be the provision of public assets, skills or related services for public benefit, stimulated through investment or management undertaken by the private sector. 



The inclusion of the private sector can increase heritage management standards and bring new methods of cooperation. Through combining both sector's expertise, it creates an environment where innovative approaches will sprout. The bringing together of different knowledge can strengthen projects, and also creates equal partners out of both parties. Such partnerships can improve quality and output investments. Increasingly global brands are now using heritage to contribute towards their own image. By taking care of a country's cultural heritage they likewise increase the public attention and thereby enrich the company's own heritage. 



Report (here)



Counterpart Heritage Day

Status: Complete

Duration: 2012

Partners: David Hall Gallery, Leiden University, National Archives of the Netherlands, Muziris Heritage Project. 



This event was organised to provide a platform for heritage professionals working in and with India to gather and exchange experiences and knowledge on projects and activities relating to Indian-Dutch shared heritage. Experts who could not attend were able to present their research and projects through poster exhibitions in one of the seminar rooms. In the afternoon a field visit was arranged to the Muziris Heritage Project zone in the Kerala region, providing the attendees with an opportunity to experience the rich multi-layered cultural heritage of the region. The group visited the Paravur synagogue, Paliam palace, as well as the excavations at Pattanam and Kottappuram. 



The event Invitation 

Preannouncement information

Final Report

Selection of Heritage Day Posters
Preparatory Visit 

Status: Complete

Duration: 2011

Partners: Dutch Embassy to India



Representatives from CIE visited India in order to identify local partners for the counterpart heritage day in India, to be organised in 2012. It was also the aim to meet with a variety of stakeholders within the two regions of India, where more projects relating to mutual heritage have been executed- Kochi in Kerala and Chennai in Tamil Nadu. 


The CIE members were accompanied by represenatives from the Netherlands Embassy in Delhi, together they visited the Muziris Heritage Project, Fort Cochin, the VOC site at Pulicat, Tamil Nadu Archives in Chennai and the Central Archives in Thiruvanathapuram. The group also met with the Minister of Tourism in Kerala. The trip aimed to provide CIE with insight into the various ongoing heritage projects. They engaged in many discussions with the intitators of the projects as well as the local stakeholders about the aspects of heritage which they felt were important. 



Whilst CIE was in the area, a workshop on underwater archaeology was organised in Thiruvananthapuram, where Indian experts on archaeology and historical studies gave insight into the current developments in underwater archaeology within India. CIE Director Dr. Robert Parthesius gave a presentation on underwater archaeology and CIE's activities in this field. 


Heritage Day

Status: Complete

Duration: 2011

Partners: National Archives



The India heritage day was organised at the National Archives in the Hague. It brought together heritage professionals working with and in India, to exchange experiences and knowledge about projects relating to the Indian-Dutch heritage field. 



A number of experts gave presentations on their experiences and work, such as collaboration with the Tamil Nadu  archives in Chennai, experiences in India collecting material for an exhibition at the Museum Volkenkunde and methods of working with Indian intangible heritage. Additional topics which were addressed included the proposed heritage studies programme at Leiden University, recent research on mutual heritage in Kochi, theoretical approaches to the question 'Who Owns Heritage?', as well as the Muziris heritage project. 


The audience were then divided into groups for the afternoon discussions which focused upon; bilateral cooperation, comercialisation, approaches to heritage, multilateral and interdisciplinary cooperation. Recommendations were made to increase awareness about heritage amongst local communities as well as building up capacity. These aspects should be integrated into wider development projects in order to become more sustainable. 


Book Presentation:

The heritage day was rounded off with a book presentation 'De VOC in India, een Reis Langs Nederlands Erfgoed in Gujarat, Malabar, Coromandel en Bengalen', by Bauke van der Pol. The Director General for Culture and Media at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science officially presented the book to the Indian Ambassador to the Netherlands. 



Event invitation

Peannouncement information

Final report

Cultural Heritage Connections

Status: Complete

Duration: 2007-2013

Partners: Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science



This project was developed within the framework of shared cultural heritage. It was decided to establish an interactive online database regarding shared heritage cooperation with the priority countries. This would benefit current and future heritage cooperation through the provision of one central platform where information could be found detailing all past, current and proposed projects could be found, along with information about the experts and organisations involved. The users can share information and interact with the cultural heritage connections community, thereby creating a common resource tool.  The platform aimed to unite expertise and knowledge of projects in one central location and was set up in close contact with experts and organisations who participate actively in determining the contents of the platform. It was designed by CIE to be a tool for the heritage field, for governments and researchers, allowing them to add information and search for heritage projects and potential partners. 


CIE made an inventory of the international heritage activities carried out abroad and within the Netherlands, which fell under the Dutch Mutual Cultural Heritage Policy. All the heritage projects within a specific country were inventoried and placed into a database, to be integrated into the platform. For each of the priority countries CIE organised two heritage days, one in the Netherlands and a counterpart day in the respective country, these were effective ways to not only raise the profile of the database and gather data but also to discuss the current state of heritage cooperation between the two countries and explore possibilities for the future. 



The Cultural Heritage Connections platform was developed and built by CIE and is now managed by Dutch Culture.


To visit the database please click here. 


In 2013 CIE finalised our research report as a summary of all our work surrounding the Cultural Heritage Connections programme. The report concentrates on defining the positive and the 'bottlenecks' in current cultural heritage cooperation, formulating conclusions and recommendations for the priority countries. The report was the final step in the completion of the information for the database, with conclusions highlighting the successes and areas for improvement, as well as an overview of the involved experts, organisations and projects within the Netherlands and the Priority Countries. 


Through this Cultural Heritage Connections Database CIE has had the opportunity to actively expand its network of contacts and partners for future cooperation. As a network organisation it was our mission to make this network available to an international field. CIE hopes that through this database we have further stimulated professionalism and international collaboration in the field of mutual heritage. 


Cultural Heritage Connections Launch

Status: Complete

Duration: June 2011


In 2011 CIE organised an International Heritage Cooperation Event, which was attended by over 100 international and national heritage experts. The hightlight of the day was the launch of the Cultural Heritage Connections platform. It was officially launched by the Director of Cultural Heritage at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Coordinator of Culture, Sport and Development at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 


Representatives of international heritage organisations, museums, universities and national agencies discussed strategies and inspirational methods for international cooperation on cultural heritage. A panel of international and national heritage experts then discussed and debated if, or why, colonial heritage can become common ground for international cooperation. 


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