What do we do?

A worldwide heritage community, in which professionals connect, learn from each other and develop knowledge together. That is the mission of the International Heritage Cooperation Programme of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE). We like to share what we do.

Our focus

We are building further on the experience gained in previous years within the Shared Cultural Heritage programme. Between 2021 and 2024, we focus on fostering connections and exchange that can enrichen heritage conservation in the Netherlands and the partner countries. And on the contributions that the Cultural Heritage Agency can make to the joint development of knowledge, expertise and instruments, and sharing the results thereof. To make that possible, we create space for experimentation in shaping heritage conservation in cooperation with the international field.

In our work with other countries, we focus on challenges where international cooperation offers greater added value than national cooperation alone, based on issues identified with the partner countries. A demand-driven approach is essential in ensuring the sustainability of international cooperation. The Cultural Heritage Agency plays a proactive role in identifying challenges, and seeking out partners with shared interests. In assessing potential challenges, the following criteria are applied: relevance, urgency and added value.

Our partners

In recent years, the Cultural Heritage Agency has worked together with Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Suriname, the United States and South Africa and will continue to build on this work. The Cultural Heritage Agency is also open to cooperation with the other 13 countries mentioned in the International Cultural Policy of the Netherlands: Belgium/Flanders, Germany, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain, the UK, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, China and South Korea. Cooperation with these countries depends on the issues raised and the opportunities that cooperation with them offers, in relation to the challenges identified and available resources and capacity.

In the framework of International Heritage Cooperation, the Cultural Heritage Agency works together with the National Archives of the Netherlands, DutchCulture, the Dutch Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage (KIEN) and the Dutch embassies in the partner countries, each organisation operating on the basis of its own expertise. We also work with and continue to seek partners in and outside the Netherlands, ranging from international networks, administrations and heritage experts to universities, local companies and residents.

Our themes

The Cultural Heritage Agency has opted for three main themes under the umbrella of International Heritage Cooperation:

We are also exploring the possibility of developing projects and activities about topics and challenges that transcend one specific domain, to be relevant to all of them.

Our activities

Our work can take many forms, depending on the goals of a specific project or activity. 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. To share information about the work developed within the framework of International Heritage Cooperation, we organise events and frequently communicate about our projects, activities, network and knowledge products. One common feature of all our work is close cooperation with our Dutch and international partners.