Cooperation Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Netherlands

WILLEMSTAD - During a four-country meeting on February 8 in Willemstad, Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Netherlands signed a declaration of intent for more cooperation with an important UNESCO Convention. It is something that sounds a bit abstract for many people but can mean a lot. Not only now but also in the future.

For this purpose ministers from the different countries in the Kingdom, traveled to Curaçao where they consulted in Willemstad and signed a declaration to work together on the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The signatures of Ministers Xiomara Ruiz-Maduro and Armando Lampe of Aruba, Marilyn Alcalá-Wallé of Curaçao, Wycliffe Smith of Sint Maarten and Ingrid van Engelshoven of the Netherlands are later co-signed by the public authorities of Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. They will cooperate in the field of culture, education and science. Their conference ended with the signing of the UNESCO Convention that dates from 2003 and was ratified in 2012 by the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Since then, work has already been carried out in all four countries on the implementation of the treaty, including the creation of inventories. In all four countries, many hundreds of communities are committed to transmitting intangible heritage to the future.

You can be of good will and make all sorts of plans, but that includes an effective organizational form. In 2018, Richenel Ansano commissioned the Knowledge Center for Immaterial Heritage Netherlands to investigate the state of affairs in the implementation of the 2003 UNESCO Convention on the six islands in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.

The report reveals three major challenges:

1. Lack of coordination in coordination between governments and NGOs;

2. Stagnations in continuity;

3. Too little financial resources.

With the letter of intent, there is more line in the elaboration of the many planned good intentions. In this way the countries aim for more cooperation in including intangible heritage in cultural policy.

This means creating and (digitally) opening the inventories, promoting awareness and education, and also including the safeguarding of intangible heritage in disaster relief.


This deliberate collaboration is probably based on a very long-term process. But the treaty will undoubtedly contribute to a positive atmosphere and awareness about the historical experience of the rich cultures in all these rapidly developing countries.

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