Creating a Dutch World Heritage Centre in Amsterdam

UNESCO headquarters in Paris

Non-fiction’s co-founder Michiel van Iersel has been appointed as the first guest curator of a new World Heritage Center, which will be established in Amsterdam in 2013. The aim of the center is to present, promote and contextualize the nine existing world heritage sites in The Netherlands, including Amsterdam’s canal ring area and the Rietveld-Schröder House, and possible future Dutch additions to UNESCO’s World Heritage list. The center will offer a mix of exhibitions and public programmes, linking the Dutch sites to global developments.

On december 7 the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE), the City of Amsterdam and Stichting (promoting Dutch World Heritage Sites) signed the official agreement that paves the way for the project. The center will be situated in the in De Bazel, an imposing building in the center of Amsterdam’s canal area, home to the City Archives and the municipality’s Monuments and Archeology Department. Michiel will be working with a team of architects, designers and other (world heritage) experts.

De Bazel in Amsterdam, location of the new Dutch World Heritage Center

UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Throughout the world there are historic sites that are not only important to the country in which they are located. Such sites are recognised internationally as unique and many are now on the World Heritage List, established by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1972.

The World Heritage List includes 962 properties (December 2012) forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value. These include 745 cultural , 188 natural and 29 mixed properties in 157 States Parties. As of September 2012, 190 States Parties have ratified the World Heritage Convention.

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee designates these sites of global importance. Every country that has an agreement with the organisation can nominate sites for the list. The Dutch World Heritage Platform represents the Netherlands’ world heritage. Individual countries remain responsible for the maintenance of their heritage.

Dutch World Heritage Sites

The nine world heritage sites in The Netherlands and Teylers Museum (nominated)

There are currently nine world heritage sites in the Netherlands. These are irreplaceable and unique, not just to the Netherlands but also to the rest of the world. They are:

The Teylers Museum was nominated 12 December 2011 by the Dutch Cabinet for world heritage status. The final decision will be taken by UNESCO in 2013.

Designed country of water

The Dutch World Heritage Sites have something to say about the Netherlands and its place in the world. The Netherlands is above all a country of water, which lives and continually battles against water. Thecountry also has a very strong trading tradition and civil society. Finally, the Netherlands is a country that believes in its ability to shape society: everything has been designed, from the layout of the polders and urban expansion to the Modernist architecture of the Rietveld-Schröder House. As such, three overlapping themes caracterize the Netherlands:

  • The Netherlands as a country of water
  • The Netherlands as a civil society
  • The Netherlands as a designed country
More information (in Dutch) on the website of

No comments yet,

be the first to respond

You must log in to post a comment.