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Activities with the Russian Federation

Counterpart Day Russia 'Our Common Heritage'

Status: Complete

Duration: 2010

Partners: Peter the Great Historical Society, Netherlands Institute in St. Petersburg, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Wilhelmina E. Jansen Fund. 


CIE organised a conference on mutual cultural heritage between the Netherlands and Russia in cooperation with the Peter the Great Historical Society. The conference took place in the St. Petersberg branch of the National Library, which contains a large number of Dutch manuscripts and books. The aim was to create more coherence between various cultural heritage projects and to discuss the coordination between the various partners. The event gave the Russian heritage field the opportunity to come together and discuss, evaluate and propose various activities to do with heritage cooperation. It was arranged as a follow-up meeting to the Heritage Day which was organised in the Netherlands earlier that year. 


Many Russian heritage experts contributed towards the diverse programme, and over 60 participants attended from various locations in Russia, including; Arkhangelsk, Astrakhan, Moscow, Kaluga, Kemerovo, Saratov and Yaroslvl. The consul-general of the Netherlands in St. Petersburg together with the director of the Russian National Library opened the conference. The lectures were centered around the three themes of built heritage and landscape architecture, academic research, scientific collections and museums, as well as archaeology, maritime archaeology and naval history. 


The conference demonstrated through its success that there is a great interest in cooperation with the Netherlands and that experts and researchers have many ideas for projects in the future. During the event there was also a book presentation. The Russian edition of Nicoraas Witsen's 'Noord en Oost Tartarye', a travel account dating to the 17th century. Witsen was then the Major of Amsterdam  who was also an active diplomat and scientist and wrote about his travels in Russia. 



Official report

Call for papers (In Russian)



Above- photographs taken at the Counterpart day in St. Petersburg, Russia. Including a shot of the audience and discussion panel, and one of the presentors. 

Heritage Day Russia
Status: Complete

Duration: 2010

Partners: University of Amsterdam (UvA), Netherlands Institute for Heritage


The first part of the process was an identification visit by CIE to meet with different members of the Russian heritage field cooperating with the Netherlands. During this trip the CIE representatives explained the concept and aims of the proposed heritage days and set to investigate support for a heritage conference in Russia. The team met with a number of heritage practitioners in St. Petersburg and Moscow. 


The first heritage day was arranged in Amsterdam, at the UvA library, bringing together heritage experts working with and in Russia on the subject of mutual cultural heritage. The key questions we aimed to address were: How does knowledge exchange between the Netherlands and Russia occur in the cultural heritage field? How can the Netherlands contribute towards understanding and management of heritage in Russia? How can the Netherlands learn from the Russian heritage field?


The event was attended by a diverse international audience and the day was introduced by Sjend Schijen, a Russian arts specialist and author. His presentation was followed by keynote speeches and discussions on three different topics: Collections management and capacity building, management of built heritage, and research and public awareness. These three topics became discussion area for the afternoon workshops, with the additional session which aimed to question the mutuality of mutual heritage. 


Heritage practitioners were also given the opportunity to present their work through a series of posters which were exhibited at the Heritage Day. This not only helps to raise awareness about each others' projects, but also helps encourage cooperation and clarity, allowing for guests to discuss work together during the breaks. Conlusions of the day highlighted demand-driven work, the maintenance of networks, personal contact between counterparts and bottom-up approaches to be important features in stimulating and maintaining positive heritage cooperation relations between the two countries. 


The bilateral year in 2013 between Russia and the Netherlands was also considered to be a great opportunity for cooperation.  



The Invitation

Preannouncement Material

Day Programme


Siebold Collection 


Status: Complete

Duration: 2009

Partners: Herbarium Sieboldianum, Peter the Great's Historical Society, Komarov Botanical Institute. 



Philip Franz van Siebold (1796-1666), was a military doctor in the service of the Dutch East-Indian Army. He was first assigned to Batavia (Jakarta), then had two long stays at Deshima in Japan. He was a very important figure within the isolated Dutch community at Deshima, but was also highly regarded in Japan at that time. He was granted permission to leave Deshima on several occasions for research, and he introduced many western scientific and medical techniques and methods into the country. 


During his time in Japan he collected many ethnographical, zoological and botanical objects, with more than 12,000 dried plant specimens of over 2,000 species. His collection can now be found in various European and Russian museums and institutions such as the Komarov Botanical Institute, the State Botanical Collection in Munich, the Dutch National Herbarium, Museum Volkenkunde, Naturalis Museum, Russian Academy of Sciences. He returned to Europe in 1859 and settled near Leiden, where he concentrated on extending his collection of flora and fauna from Japan. His is the oldest botanical collection from this country, a large part of it was purchased by the Dutch government for the National Herbarium, but his widow also sold a portion of it to the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg during the 1860s. 


The Herbarium Sieboldianum in St. Petersburg consists of more than 800 sheets containing leaves and collected material along with handwritten original notes by Siebold and his Japanese co-workers, sometimes still upon the original Japanese paper. His scientific drawings and the correspondance relating to the purchase of the collection can also be found within the Academy of Sciences' Archive. 


The Project

Over the years this collection had decayed somewhat and was in dire need of restoration, as well as new labelling and cataloguing according to international botanical standards. Measures also needed to be taken to ensure the future preservation of the sheets. The Russian Academy of Sciences called upon Dutch experts for assistance, as there were very few experts who possessed such knowledge and experience in Russia for restoration and conservation of botanical collections. This project also intended to help establish contacts with Dutch scientists and experts in order to stimulate and encourage research into the Herbarium Sieboldiarum in both Russia and the Netherlands. 


CIE was requested to prepare an outline for a capacity building programme in order to assist Russian institutions in developing collection management and international networks in the field of historical botanical collections. This would also allow for the training of Russian restorers to help preserve Russian botanical collections in the future. This projects links Japan, Russia and the Netherlands as well as relating the common history and shared cultural heritage between the Netherlands and Russia, which tied into the Dutch Mutual Cultural Heritage Policy as Russia was at that time a Priority Country for the Netherlands. 


CIE's Role

CIE organised a full visitor programme for Natalia Kopaneva of the Peter the Great's Historical Society. This included visits to the Siebold House, National Herbarium, Museum Volkenkunde, National Archives and the Artis Zoological Museum. This enabled her to meet many Dutch experts who were interested in the Russian Siebold objects and in establishing working partnerships. 


Another visit was arranged for Dr. Grabovskaya to become acquainted with the current methods in restoring and preserving botanical collections in the Netherlands. She visited stores and restoration labs within a number of museums and institutions 

Dr. Grabovskaya and Eva Koppen (CIE) at the Komarov Botanical Institute, St. Petersburg. 

Examples of some Botanical specimens within the Siebold Collection at the Botanical Institute in St. Petersburg. 

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.

Learn more about in our presentation about Cultural Heritage Connections


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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