Our work within the framework of the International Heritage Cooperation Programme can take many forms, depending on the goals of a specific project or activity. Together with partners, we organise network, stakeholder and expert meetings; we create trainings, workshops and co-creation labs; and we develop knowledge outputs, such as handbooks or exhibitions. We also organise and support International Visitors programmes, and provide advise upon request on topics that fall within the scope of our work.
Our activities fall within three main themes under the umbrella of our International Heritage Cooperation Programme:
Heritage sites all over the world face challenges such as sustainable conservation (and Sustainable Development Goals), climate change and water challenges, and governance and stakeholder participation. Together with experts from partner countries, we exchange ideas and create new knowledge together about heritage management.
Within the theme Collections, we aim to exchange perspectives and knowledge on managing and conserving museum collections. Challenges such as creating climate control strategies, heritage safety, research into provenance, multiple and sometimes opposing views on museums’ collections, and accessibility of collections, form the basis for our projects.
The traces of our maritime history can be found around the globe. International cooperation and knowledge exchange in the field of maritime heritage are of great importance, as they are crucial factors in the management and preservation of this unique heritage. Please visit the page Maritime Archaeology for more information.
The following is a selection of projects we are currently working on:
Albany exchange Neerbosch | a x n 2022
In February 2022, the Historic Albany Foundation (HAF), Van ’t Lindenhoutmuseum Neerbosch-Nijmegen, and the RCE jointly initiated this international online expert exchange. The three-part exchange, aimed at professionals in built environment, explores development potentials of the Van Ostrande-Radliff House in Albany, New York and Kinderdorp Neerbosch in Nijmegen. Each part of this exchange examines the cases from different, complementary angles: area development, adaptive re-use and restoration practices. Taking two heritage sites situated in different contexts, the programme discusses similarity of challenges they face and ways to address them.
Heritage and urban development experts will meet again on 21 October 2022 to discuss the results of their final meeting on both sites. The last theme will relate to restoration ethics, interventions and the use of (new) materials.
Urban Heritage Strategies (UHS)
UHS aims to develop a better understanding of the complex relationship between urban development and heritage management. A multilateral training course on the social, economic and environmental potential of heritage in urban development.
In the summer of 2022, the UHS-training on the port cities of Casablanca, Alexandria, Istanbul and Amsterdam took place. Professionals from the participating cities exchanged their perspectives on water challenges faced by these cities. The first part of this course was conducted online and focused on cognitive knowledge. The second part focused on practical skills. Want to learn more about the participants’ experience? See www.ihs.nl for interviews with four of them.
The UHS-training is organized by the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam) in close cooperation wit the Department of Architectural Engineering of Delft University of Technology and the RCE. Read more about UHS in an interview with the coordinators of the course on the website www.ihs.nl.
Sharing Stories on Contested Histories
How do contemporary museums deal with the presence of multiple and sometimes opposing views on their collections? How do they allow communities to share their stories with audiences who may have radically different readings of the same historical events? How can they respond to political and cultural concerns to mobilise social change? During the training Sharing Stories on Contested Histories, 24 young professionals from around the world will come together in 2022 to discuss these questions. The RCE jointly organizes this training with the Reinwardt Academy.
Brochures on Paintings Conservation
In 2022, the Foundation for Cultural Inventory (SCI), SRAL - The Conservation Institute and RCE will publish a series of six brochures on Paintings Conservation. These are created for conservators of canvas and panel paintings wishing to keep up with the rapidly advancing techniques in their field.
Conservation practice has developed at an astounding pace. This knowledge is concentrated within a few large institutions with the capabilities to take major steps in the development and application of new methods. Smaller and medium-sized museums meanwhile do not have the resources to hire a permanent conservator for their collections, and often send paintings to be restored externally. For those not employed at large institutions, accessing such knowledge can be difficult. These brochures are designed to bridge this gap.
The need for this reference material became apparent during a series of masterclasses and conferences, organized in the period 2012-2020 by SCI in India, Russia and Cuba. These gatherings, focusing on mutual exchange and deepening knowledge in relation to the local contexts, were organized in association with SRAL - The Conservation Institute, the RCE, and Dutch embassies in the partner countries of the International Heritage Cooperation programme.
The brochures in this series on conservation are:
- Dirt and Dirt Removal
- Varnish Removal
- Consolidation of Flaking Paint (expected in 2022)
- Filling Losses in Paint (expected in 2022)
- Structural Conservation of Canvas and Panels (expected in 2022)
- Varnishing and Inpainting (expected in 2022)
Modern Oral History: Dutch Wrecks in South Africa
About 100 Dutch historic ship wrecks are located on the bottom of the South African seas. Many of these were vessels of the Dutch East India Company. The RCE has worked together with the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) in 2015 to create the project Modern Oral History: Dutch Wrecks in South Africa. In 2019, this project was started up again. It aims to gather and interpret information about excavations by sports divers and treasure hunters, who dove to Dutch shipwrecks between the 1980s and 1990s. These excavations happened before the ratification of the UNESCO convention of 2001 by South Africa and the implementation of the relevant South African law to protect historic shipwrecks. People have not or have partly worked according to archaeological techniques during these excavations, thereby destroying important heritage. To gather their memories and information about what they have found during their dives, they have been interviewed according to the oral history method. Their stories will be published in 2022. Together with the research of students from the University of Leiden, this project has enhanced our knowledge about our shared past with South Africa, and has given us more insights into the impact of the excavations. SAHRA has updated its database so it has the most recent information about the shipwrecks at hand.