Maritime Heritage

Dutch ships have sailed to every corner of the globe. This has left traces of Dutch maritime heritage all over the world. An important part of this heritage includes shipwrecks. Among these are wrecks of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), the West East India Company (WIC), the Royal Netherlands Navy and the Admiralty.


Opening title: 
Cultural Heritage Agency
Ministery of Education, Culture and Science

International Programme for Maritime Heritage

Talking head voice-over (Martijn Manders - Head of Maritime Programme) mixed with images of the museum and him working at sea: 

Dutch shipwrecks sank in all corners of the world.

We started the Maritime Programme because we needed to organise the management of shipwrecks outside of the Netherlands.

This programme is not only about archaeology, about excavating ships or bringing objects up.

There is, for example, also a social relevance if we think about warships from the Second World War.

So we started a project to count all the different sites all over the world and we have now approximately one thousand ships in our database that we own and that we need to manage.

Talking head voice-over (Leon Derksen - Maritime Archaeologist) mixed with images of a Japanese oral history project. 

There are several ways to preserve maritime heritage.

One of these ways is by doing oral history studies.

Oral history is basically history that's in the minds of people. It's not written down and what we want to do with that, is collect these stories that these people have.

The relevance of an oral history component of a project is that it focuses on the human aspect,
the human story of maritime heritage.

Talking head voice-over (Robert de Hoop - Maritime Archaeologist) mixed with images of De Rooswijk and Robert behind a laptop looking at the website MaSS: 

De Rooswijk was a Dutch East India Company ship that sank near the Goodwin Sands in 1740.

Because of underwater conditions we decided to excavate it.

What we did underwater was not only get all the objects but very important is to know where the objects are from.

So we have to know the context of the objects.

We used 3D-photogrammetry, so you film the wreck site and once you're back on land you can put that film into your computer and you get a 3D-reconstruction of how the shipwreck looked on the water.

Another thing we do, is we share the data through a website called MaSS, Maritime Stepping Stones.

And people can also register there, so they can add information, they can add photo's or even shipwrecks that they think are important to share with the public.

Talking head voice-over (Martijn Manders - Head of Maritime Programme) mixed with images of Martijn at work and underwater recordings of shipwrecks. 

The international maritime programme is part of the Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency.

We work together with avocational divers, sports divers and we work with our international partners within the Unesco community.

The cultural resources that we have underwater can be seen by people can be enjoyed by people,
and we can use it as a resource for research.

End title: 

Cultural Heritage Agency
Ministery of Education, Culture and Science

International Programme for Maritime Heritage

Project Team #Rooswijk1740 - Kai Dieho Camera - Keramiek Museum Princessehof

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Management of shipwrecks abroad

In order to preserve this maritime heritage for future generations, the Cultural Heritage Agency (RCE) researches what is valuable and what needs to be protected. 

Through the International Programme for Maritime Heritage (2017-2021), the RCE has increased its efforts to achieve this. This is for example reflected in projects such as #Rooswijk1740 and Dutch presence in Cuban waters but also by developing knowledge in the field of policy and management and by focusing on international collaborations. In our final report you can read what the programme included.

In caring for maritime heritage, we work together with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Central Government Real Estate Agency.

International Heritage Cooperation

Within the International Heritage Cooperation Programme (part of the International Cultural Policy 2021-2024), we focus on the maritime heritage that connects the Netherlands with partner countries such as Australia, Brazil and South Africa.

Maritime heritage in the Netherlands

As owner and manager of many large waters in the Netherlands and initiator of important projects for the rivers and at sea, the national government has an important role in caring for maritime heritage. Regarding maritime heritage in Dutch waters, the RCE's role includes granting permits, advising other governments and developing knowledge products. Local municipalities have an important role by taking care of maritime archaeology as well and by taking it into account in zoning plans. See our Dutch website for more information on our activities in the Netherlands.