What is of high value to a cultural or natural heritage may seem to another worthless old mess. People judge according to their own taste and preference and they simply differ from person to person. Choices can also depend very much on their own culture and the appreciation for heritage is not always the same as that of the residents who belong to a certain heritage. But luckily there is an organization that protects cultural and natural heritage worldwide and maintains the right standards, namely a special UNESCO commission.
UNESCO and cultural and natural heritage
The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is responsible for the so-called World Heritage List. This list contains all cultural and natural heritage that deserves special protection according to UNESCO. Cultural and natural heritage is understood to mean irreplaceable and unique heritage that is in principle the property of the whole world.
Better mutual understanding of cultures
Not all heritage on the World Heritage List excels in beauty, but all are special in a certain way. Many therefore consider it very important to preserve those heritage sites for future generations that UNESCO guarantees. In addition to the protection of heritage, this can also lead to a better mutual understanding between cultures.
Responsible for countries themselves
The nearly a thousand World Heritage Sites are spread over a large number of countries. Every year the list is expanded again by the special commission of UNESCO, which consists of representatives from a number of countries. However, the countries remain responsible for the preservation and protection of their own heritage.
Netherlands and World Heritage Agreement
In 1992, the Netherlands undertook to cooperate in the preservation of Dutch heritage through the signing of the World Heritage Agreement. All countries that have ratified the Convention are committed to preserving, protecting and identifying and transferring cultural and natural heritage within their land borders to future generations.
Number of organizations involved
A number of organizations are involved in everything that has to do with World Heritage. In part, these are government bodies with in addition the Stichting Platform World Heritage Netherlands and the NUC (Dutch National UNESCO Commission). The ultimate policy for this is determined by the Ministry, with an important role for the Cultural Heritage Agency (new name since 2009).
Procedure for nominations for World Heritage List
Nominations for heritage can be submitted by all countries that have signed the World Heritage Agreement. The steps that need to be taken are:
Preparation of a provisional list
This consists of an inventory of all important monuments that the country is planning to nominate in the coming years.
Compile nomination file
This file must contain as much information as possible, such as a detailed description of the special value of the monument. The file must also contain plans showing how the monument can be preserved in the future. Such a file can contain dozens of pages, including map material and photos. In addition, the history is added and the nomination is provided with information about the legal status, protective measures, the state of the heritage and possible threats.
Submission of file
The file must be sent to the support office of the World Heritage Commission. Among other things, that committee assesses whether the file is sufficiently complete.
Assessment by advisory bodies
If the file meets the requirements, it is submitted to either the ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) advisory body for the cultural heritage sites or to IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) for the natural heritage sites.
Whether or not to include a monument on the World Heritage List is ultimately decided by the World Heritage Commission. They judge the new nominations once a year based on the advice reports.
Information, education and visit
Within the awareness of the heritage sites, the Platform World Heritage Netherlands has an important task. Its goal is to become aware of a number of cultural-historical objects that have been placed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO. It pursues this goal through information and education and by encouraging visitors to the heritage sites. The foundation is also a discussion partner of the central government with regard to the policy regarding heritage.
Dutch World Heritage
The Netherlands currently has (2016) ten heritage items that have been placed on the World Heritage List. These heritage sites tell a story of the Netherlands and the Dutch in the areas of water management, civil society and (land) design.
1995 Schokland and surroundings
1996 Waterline Amsterdam (Theorem of Amsterdam)
1997 Mills at Kinderdijk / Elshout
1997 Historic area of Willemstad, city center and port, Netherlands Antilles
1998 Ir. D.F. Woudagemaal
1999 Droogmakerij de Beemster
2000 Rietveld Schröder House
2009 Wadden Sea (partly in Germany)
2010 Amsterdam canals
2014 Van Nelle factory
Proud of Amsterdam's canal belt
One of the most recently added heritage items is the 17th century Amsterdam canals that were built as an architectural work of art at the time. According to the committee that assesses the proposed heritage, the canal belt is a cultural location that is of exceptional value from an international perspective. The municipality of Amsterdam is very happy with this recognition and finds it a compliment for all the effort that the city has made in the past to preserve the belt as a symbol for Amsterdam.
Video: The Netherlands. Heritage Sites of Netherlands. World Of Heritage (February 2020).
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