Europa Nostra Industrial and Engineering Heritage Committee met in The Hague

Europa Nostra’s Industrial and Engineering Heritage Committee (IEHC) held its 13th meeting in The Hague on 19-20 March 2015. The working visits focused on the theme “industrial and maritime heritage related to shipbuilding/repair and shipping in the greater Rotterdam area”. The gatherings were hosted by the IEHC Secretary Rienko Wilton.

By unknown; Holland-Amerika Lijn, via Wikimedia Commons

By unknown; Holland-Amerika Lijn, via Wikimedia Commons

At the formal meeting, the participants were briefed on the industrial heritage excursion to the Kistefos Pulp Mill in Norway on 10 June 2015, organised by the IEHC during Europa Nostra’s Congress in Oslo, among other industrial and engineering heritage matters. The members also discussed the nomination of significant industrial heritage sites under threat for The 7 Most Endangered programme 2016; the submission of industrial heritage achievements for the next edition of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards; and the possible IEHC publication on “Transnational (European) Industrial Heritage”.

Europa Nostra’s Secretary General Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović attended the meeting and was informed about the various activities of the IEHC. On behalf of the Board, she expressed appreciation for the work undertaken by the IEHC.

Working visits took members to several highly-interesting heritage sites in the greater Rotterdam area, the biggest port in Europe. The Rotterdam Maritime Museum is an industrial and maritime heritage treasure trove. Its Depot features hundreds of items, including 14th century ship-models and sea-maps.

Following the presentation “The Fate of the Dutch Titanic” about the famous ocean liner’s smaller sister ships “Statendam II and III” of the Holland America Line (HAL), the participants visited the former Head Office and Boardroom of the Dutch transatlantic shipping company. The next stop was HAL’s flagship “Rotterdam”, the biggest ship ever built in the Netherlands. It has been superbly restored and is today a floating Conference centre and maritime museum.

In Hellevoetsluis, visits were made to the Jan Blanken Dry Dock, a 200-year-old double-brick building and the only still functioning dry dock in Europe. The IEHC members also visited the coastal-defence ironclad De Buffel, the first warship without sails built in the Netherlands. The programme concluded with a visit to Rotterdam’s “Euromast”, a high observation tower offering superb views of the city and its extensive docks, and to the Van Nelle Factory, winner of an EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards in 2008 in the Conservation category. Leonard Kooy, grandson of one of the first directors of Van Nelle, conducted the guided visit to this remarkable site.

As special guests of the Italian Institute in Amsterdam, IEHC members Francesco Calzolaio and Hildebrand de Boer presented the film “Lagunalonga” (on Venice’s Estuary as an overall Cultural Heritage project) and commented on it in the framework of the European Routes of Industrial Heritage, respectively.

The next IEHC meeting is planned to take place in October 2015 in Derby (UK) and will be hosted by David Morgan.

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