Netherlands and Cuba sign Memorandum of Understanding on maritime heritage

The National Council of Cultural Heritage of Cuba (CNPC), agency of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Cuba, and the international Maritime Programme of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE) will work closely together on research, management and protection of maritime heritage in Cuban waters.

In 2017, the Dutch minister of Education, Culture and Science already agreed on this with her Cuban colleague. These agreements are now being worked out in detail in the Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed by the heritage agencies of both countries on 11 July 2018.

The agreements concern the mapping of Dutch shipwrecks and focus on the maritime heritage that both countries share. This involves exchanging and sharing data, conducting maritime archaeological research, protection, underwater cultural heritage management training, increasing awareness and public support.

There are at least 21 Dutch shipwrecks in the Cuban waters, mostly from the 17th century. These are ships of the Dutch West India Company (WIC) and of privateers, such as that of Cornelis 'Houtebeen' Jol, who lost his fleet to Cuba. The most recent wreck is from 1942. This was the SS Medea, which sank after a direct hit of a torpedo from a German U-boat. Research can provide (new) knowledge of the relationship between the Netherlands and Cuba, the Netherlands and Spain and about the Dutch in the Caribbean.