The Republic of Namibia is a country in Southern Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. The name of the country stems from the Namib desert, which it adopted upon its independance from South Africa in 1990. Previously it had been called German Southwest Africa whilst colonised by the Germans, and then as Southwest Africa when controlled by South Africa.
The people of Namibia probably came into contact with the Dutch when the Dutch East India Company (VOC) established a permanent trading base and settlement at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, and began expanding into the surrounding country. The Dutch settlers and VOC did not maintain a presence in Namibia itself, however there were a number of Dutch missionaries who did venture to the country in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The first contact with Europeans came in the late 15th century by the Portuguese, however Namibia did not have extensive relations, nor was it occupied or explored by Europeans until the 19th century.
In 1884 Namibia became a German colony, and shortly after the British Governor of South Africa annexed the harbour of Walvis to become part of the South African territory.
South Africa occupied Namibia in 1915 after defeating Germany in World War One, and following the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, South Africa began administering the country and implementing its laws there until Namibia's independance in 1990.
The Netherlands and Namibia have a number of 'twin towns' linked to one another; Drachten and Gobabis, Nieuwegein and Rundu as well as Heusden and Otijiwarongo.
In 2008 a Portuguese shipwreck was discovered and excavated in Namibia. This helped to raise awareness within the Namibian government and local communities about the archaeological and historical value of maritime and underwater cultural heritage sites.
There is no current maritime and underwater cultural heritage (MUCH) programme with Namibia and CIE at the moment. However representatives from Namibia have taken part in a number of CIE MUCH activities such as the Robben Island workshops and Namibia also endorsed the Africa World Heritage Fund (AWHF) proposal. CIE would like to explore possibilities for the development of a MUCH capacity building programme similar to those undertaken in Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa in the future.