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Dutch maritime heritage abroad

The Netherlands shares its history with many countries around the globe. The traces left by this past, both within and outside the Netherlands, are referred to as shared cultural heritage.

Working together on shared cultural heritage

The Netherlands has a rich history in which connections with other countries have always played an important role. Our heritage consists of remnants of the age in which the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and the Dutch West India Company (WIC) travelled the world as the representatives of a maritime trading nation, and of our colonial history in Asia, Africa and South America. This heritage also includes traces from other periods during which the Netherlands kept close relations with other countries, or the cultural exchange resulting from migrating Dutch citizens. The Netherlands has left its traces all over the world, commemorating the rich and complex history that we share. Think of buildings, archives, shipwrecks, museum collections and intangible heritage. In a similar vein, other nations and cultures have also left their marks in the Netherlands. These traces of a connected past are referred to as shared cultural heritage.

The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands contributes to ensuring a sustainable future for this shared cultural heritage by working together with ten partner countries. We provide training, advice and instruments. The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands is responsible for executing a part of the Dutch government’s policy on shared heritage by means of its Shared Cultural Heritage Programme (in Dutch: Programma Gedeeld Cultureel Erfgoed).