International Heritage Cooperation

A worldwide heritage community, in which professionals connect, learn from each other and develop knowledge together towards finding solutions to shared challenges. That is the mission of the International Heritage Cooperation Programme 2021-2024 of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed, RCE).

We started this programme because we believe that it is important to ensure that heritage is passed on to future generations, but mainly because we believe heritage is valuable in a changing world. Heritage reveals who we are, where we come from and what we stand for. Without knowledge of the past, understanding ourselves and others is virtually impossible. Furthermore, heritage can contribute to identifying solutions for societal challenges, such as climate change, sustainability, and social inclusion. These are challenges shared by many countries, and they call for continuous development, the ability to respond to changing circumstances and a shared quest for appropriate solutions. It is only by joining forces and learning from and with each other that we can fully benefit from the potential of heritage. Through international cooperation we are therefore able to enhance countries’ abilities to shape a more sustainable future.

The International Cultural Policy of the Netherlands 2021-2024 will be implemented through this programme and what has been built up between 2009 and 2020 within the Shared Cultural Heritage programme will be continued. Although shared heritage remains relevant for the Netherlands, shared challenges are central in the new policy period.

Role of the Cultural Heritage Agency

The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands is just one of many players in this global heritage community. Nevertheless, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands can play an important role by stimulating international connections, learning from and with (international) partners, developing new expertise and knowledge together and making the results visible and accessible. Central to this are the social challenges in which international cooperation has added value over national cooperation. This enriches heritage care in the Netherlands as well as in the partner countries. In addition, in this way the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands supports relations with other countries and contributes to Sustainable Development Goals.

Programme goals

  1. Fostering connections, exchange and cooperation in order to enhance heritage conservation in the Netherlands  and in the partner countries
  2. Developing new knowledge and expertise together for the purpose of societal challenges where international cooperation offers greater added value than national cooperation alone
  3. Ensuring that knowledge and expertise developed within the programme are visible and accessible

For more information about our programme, please check the "International Heritage Cooperation Policy Note 2021-2024".