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Seminar 1 Sanne Toonen

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     Firstly I will introduce the concept of Unesco(United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) . Unesco has been established since 1945 when the second world war was over(UNESCO). Unesco is also part of the United Nations. Supporting world peace, Unesco has a mission of achieving overall sustainability. One of the ways to do that is protect and universal heritage sites(UNESCO). Heritage sites are not only of importance regarding natural and cultural preservation for example, but heritage has the ability to unite groups of people! Heritage can contributes to the global intellect and therefore complementing the vision of striving for a sustainable and peaceful future for everyone(UNESCO).

    Regarding heritage, Unesco believes that culture and whereas heritage is part of, will lead to mutual understanding among people(UNESCO). However, their view goes beyond this. Global cooperation and, cultural and human value based systems are put in place, in order to create dynamic and innovative societies. Heritage, such as museums, ancient sites, underwater heritage and multiple other forms of heritage. Why? Because ever since the start of human civilization has played a role in human development and prospering societies. It is even believed that the first drawings in caves which is considered as art and expressions of culture, has contributed to where we are today(Guimareas, 2013; UNESCO).


    An example of a cultural clash in a positive way is the Historic “Area of Willemstad.” This is a Dutch historical settlement from the times the Netherlands used to colonize Curacao. This was in 1634 century. Some say: ’the most glorious times of the Dutch empire!”  You might wonder what is the value today of such a site. Well, if you consider that this settlement kept its distinctive Dutch features such as architecture, however strongly influenced by the many trading activities taking place, nowhere else in the world exist such a settlement. Also if one considers that WH property meaning, “World Heritage” is a of an extreme cultural significance for present and future generations regarding humanity(Speckens, Veldpaus, Colenbrander, & Roders).

    The settlement merges into the local culture of these days in Curacao(UNESCO). A local expression of the Queen Emma Bridge, illustrates this clearly. They call the bridge, the ‘’Swinging Old Lady”. The settlement was officially Dutch territory until 1955! A long time after the glory of the Dutch empire disappeared. Tree centuries merged together in a vivid colorful setting in the middle of the Caribbean region and at the same time marking an important era of the Dutch trading empire, makes this place worth for preservation(UNESCO).

    Narratives of travels blogging about this side show this clearly. The city compared to “Old Amsterdam’’,(Yes, located in the Netherlands), but than in pastel tints on the Caribbean coast describe a little, the sense of history and interconnectedness one might feel with the Dutch history(John, 2014).  

    To round of this impressive story I state this appropriate quote:

    "'The great accomplishments of man have resulted from the transmission of ideas and enthusiasm".

    (Thomas, 1874)



    The defense line of Amsterdam stretches out for a 135 km long on the coast of the Netherlands. The name says it all. However, this defense line was firstly build for war purposes, however later used to defense the Netherlands from water and keep reclaimed land. Ever since the 16th century the Dutch were becoming more and more skilled to hold the rough waters back of the North-Sea and Amsterdam playing a main role in this regard. With genius engineered canals and locks which were interacting with each other like a music concert (UNESCO).

    The Defense line is subscribed as World Heritage (WH), based on the highly cultural value. Even more impressive is that this ingenious system has remained very well preserved through the centuries. Surprisingly, the defense/water system was partly finalized during the First World War. Despite the fact that the Netherlands were not involved.  The use of water management as a defense mechanism is a unique concept of the Netherlands. Water could be released and the surrounding areas were flooded within 3 days. This was preventing at that time a German invasion(UNESCO).



    Amsterdam’s defense line is part of a bigger plan, namely Unesco’s exploration on the importance of the Silk road, included it’s heritage. Therefore the management of this particular heritage side is prioritized. Unesco wishes to establish a worldwide route including heritage along the Silk road, this includes also the Great Wall of China and the Hadrian Wall, England. These are the so called’, linear monuments’(Feng, 2005).

    Considering that the management of heritage is commonly done by local authorities the management can become a complex task(Speckens et al.). There are universal guidelines in place authorized by Unesco, however, not all the levels of management are addressed.

    Willemstad is such an example. The zoning regulations form problems due to not updated information about the developments regarding the side. This has consequences for the overall quality of the side and also for planning activities(Speckens et al.).  

    Although Willemstad has a long history just in 1996 the Dutch Kingdom filed in a nomination for the side(Speckens et al.). Since recently the side is revised again and peer-reviewed, concluding that this side is connecting, historical, cultural and ecological values, which are distinctive for that time and therefore irreversible. This makes the side of outstanding valued for humanity. These value have to be included regarding the zoning regulations, in order to maintain this assigned value(Speckens et al.). Besides, the other zones of the historic area, such as Pietermaai, Pundra, Scharloo, and Otropanda are excluded from the regulations. However, these areas are of a high cultural value in different aspects compared to the main area. In addition, among others Unesco is investigating how these areas can be transformed in to an so called ‘creative’zone ,meaning through certain planning practices the area becomes more specified on the tourist product(Goede & Louisa, 2012)Therefore, provides another reason for the application of zoning. Nowadays, there is no indication of strict zoning regulations which will guarantee to prevent architectural pollution in the area. A shared and strong vision on the whole area will help to reach this objective(Goede & Louisa, 2012).



    Feng, J. (2005). UNESCO's efforts in identifying the World Heritage significance of the Silk Road.

    Goede, M., & Louisa, G. (2012). A case study of the creative zone Scharloo and Pietermaai in Curaçao. International Journal of Social Economics, 39(11), 844-858.

    Guimareas. (2013). Introduction to the History of Art. from

    John, G. (2014). Daily Travel Flashback: Willemstad, Curacao. from

    Speckens, A., Veldpaus, L., Colenbrander, B., & Roders, A. P. Outstanding Universal Value vs zonig regulations: Willemstad as case-study.

    Thomas, J., Watson. (1874). from

    UNESCO. Defence Line of Amsterdam. from

    UNESCO. Historic Area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour, Curacao. from

    UNESCO. Introducing UNESCO. from

    UNESCO. Protecting our Heritage and Fostering Creativity. from


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    Comments (3)

    Viewing 3 of 3 comments: view all
    Hey Sanne,

    I like your texts but I would have hoped to see them separate from each other, makes it easier to understand and was hoping for a map or a picture to make it attractive. :) Also for the managerial problems I was lacking the connection to the lecture material provided for this assignment, but perhaps there were none similar to those. :)

    Marianne edited 14:03, 16 Nov 2014
    Posted 14:00, 16 Nov 2014
    I agree on Marianne. Also an introduction into UNESCO is not really needed when it is an UNESCO course. Also a little more information about the defence line would be nice. Maybe there is more on the UNESCO page.
    Posted 15:25, 18 Nov 2014
    Yes, Sanne, I think your articles would only win from being separated, you have made it easy for yourself of course. I liked the short introduction to UNESCO though, I think it is relevant and nobody have thought about it before you. I think the discussion on the managerial issues would be even more catching our attention if the actual interests groups were mentioned. How are those people standing behind the conservation issues in both case, I think they would win from being separated and if you think if them separately and try to identify the stakeholders and than see what is actually possible to do in reality and what is a long-term goal for the both sites. Best, Albina
    Posted 22:48, 21 Nov 2014
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