What we do

The Cultural Heritage Agency (RCE) implements policy, gives advice and develops knowledge. Together with our partners, we are responsible for the care of Dutch heritage above and below the ground, under water and in museums. We also look at heritage in relation to our living environment.


The RCE implements the laws, regulations and heritage policy that the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science develops in collaboration with us.

The guiding principles behind our work are laid down in the policy letter Heritage Counts - The Meaning of Heritage for Society (Erfgoed telt). In this policy letter, the government sets out its heritage policy from 2018 to 2021. De three pillars of Heritage Counts are:

  • conservation 
  • heritage in our living environment  
  • the unifying power of heritage


The RCE gives practical advice to owners and managers of various types of heritage: from heritage buildings to archaeological sites, and from landscapes to museum collections. We also advise and support national and local governments with policy development. The knowledge and experience of our advisers form the basis for this.

RCE’s advisers work closely together with heritage institutions, such as the provincial support centres and museum consultants. We aim to turn answers to individual questions and practical experiences into relevant knowledge and advice.

Our advisory tasks stem from the statutory tasks and national policy carried out by the RCE.


Caring for cultural heritage involves more than conservation and protection alone. Today, society devotes increasing attention to how cultural-historical values can be developed, exploited and used in a sustainable manner.

Innovations in heritage require new knowledge. The RCE provides this by consolidating existing knowledge, filling the gaps in our knowledge and making sure that knowledge is available to all. The main focus here is that the knowledge is solution-oriented and applicable. Through this approach, the RCE acts as the bridge between science, practice and policy. 

Working area of the RCE

The RCE carries out its tasks within the entire Kingdom of the Netherlands and in various other countries. Cooperation with the Dutch Caribbean has taken on a more systematic character in recent years. This applies to both the autonomous countries within the Kingdom– Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten – and the so-called “special municipalities” of Saba, Sint Eustatius and Bonaire. Here we focus in particular upon sharing knowledge and expertise on themes of mutual interest such as participation, the colonial past and adaptive reuse. Furthermore, we are also working closely with the islands in the run-up to the ratification of a number of treaties. More information about what the RCE does in the Netherlands and abroad can be found on the various topics pages.