11 potential World Heritage sites in the Netherlands

Eleven historic sites in the Netherlands have such outstanding universal value that they deserve to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, according to an independent advisory committee.

State Secretary Halbe Zijlstra (Education, Culture and Science) and Minister for Agriculture and Foreign Trade Henk Bleker are adopting the committee’s recommendation to put these sites on the Netherlands’ Tentative List.

The eleven candidate sites are: the Bonaire Marine Park; the Eise Eisinga Planetarium in Franeker; the agricultural pauper colonies in Veenhuizen, Frederiksoord and Wilhelminaoord established by a charitable institution in Drenthe; the New Dutch Inundation Line; the North East Polder; the Plantations of West Curaçao; the Zonnestraal Sanatorium in Hilversum; the Teylers Museum in Haarlem; the Van Nelle Factory in Rotterdam; the former Roman imperial border (Limes Romanus) and the island of Saba.

Once the historic sites are placed on the Tentative List, the relevant authorities, administrators and owners can go ahead with preparations to nominate them for the World Heritage List over the next fifteen years. To meet UNESCO’s criteria the sites must possess outstanding universal value, integrity and authenticity, and be appropriately protected and managed. This may mean that not all the properties on the Tentative List will actually be nominated. In the end, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee decides which sites will be included in the World Heritage List.

The first three sites to be nominated will be the Van Nelle Factory, the Teylers Museum and the Plantations of West Curaçao. The current World Heritage List includes nine heritage sites in the Netherlands and Curaçao. The most recent additions are the 17th-century canal ring area of Amsterdam and the Wadden Sea.

‘Inclusion in the World Heritage List means worldwide recognition that a building, site or location is of unique value to the cultural and natural heritage. Besides illustrating Dutch history, it would be a reward for many years of careful conservation and would also make the sites more attractive to visitors,’ said Mr Zijlstra.

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