Heritage brings people together and ensures that our rapidly-changing surroundings retain their familiarity. The European Faro Convention emphasizes this social and connecting value of heritage and the importance of participation by society. This is why, in the years ahead, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands will be working in close collaboration with heritage organizations to explore how citizens’ initiatives and participation can best be encouraged and facilitated.

Focus on the heritage community

The Faro Convention highlights a growing movement within the heritage sector: cultural heritage as a means of achieving societal goals. Examples of this include people who would otherwise struggle to find employment joining forces in the upkeep of a fort. Or the celebration of St Martin’s Day in Utrecht that promotes social cohesion by bringing different groups into contact with each other.

For the many heritage institutions that already put people first, the Faro Convention provides further incentive to continue on their well-trodden path. For government bodies and heritage institutions that are relatively unfamiliar with participation projects, it can often mean a new way of working. To provide inspiration, the video shows three practical examples from the Netherlands.

Role of the Cultural Heritage Agency

The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE) has launched a Faro programme that aims to make citizens’ initiatives and participation a natural and self-evident part of heritage practice. The programme is being run in close collaboration with heritage organizations in accordance with the motto ‘learning by doing’. We will start by establishing a network of experts and communities. In pilot projects, we will then develop joint methods and instruments that government bodies, heritage organizations and heritage communities can put to work in practice.

The results of the programme will provide a recommendation for the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science on the ratification of the Faro Convention. This will be accompanied by an implementation plan for policy relating to citizens’ initiatives in the heritage sector.