On the recommendation of one of the directors, Alana Bailey, the Board approved the MD, Cecilia Kruger, to attend a conference on the management of Monuments in Rotterdam on 10 November. To ensure that the opportunity was optimally used, visits were made to various specialists and acquaintances during the trip.
Rijksdiens for cultural heritage
The government agency is currently running an international project called the “Shared Cultural Heritage Programme”. This programme promotes international collaboration and exchange of knowledge and has become involved in attempts to save Wesfort outside of Pretoria. The Heritage Foundation was approached last month to become involved in this project. The visit to their ultramodern offices in Amersfoort was also a particular highlight of the trip.
The Heritage Foundation and Voortrekker Monument have hosted a number of the research staff of the Rijksmuseum, Holland’s flagship museum, over the past two years. In February 2017 an exhibit about the ties between South Africa and the Netherlands that span the last 400 years will open in the museum. The designs and layout of the exhibition was explained by Maria Holtrop, the head of research at the museum.
The Heritage Foundation and Voortrekker Monument have collaborated a number of times with the Dutch-South African Association and even received exchange groups and visits. A goodwill visit was brought to their offices in Zuid-Afrika-house on the Keizersgragt. A presentation on the Heritage Foundation and Voortrekker monument’s work was presented to the President and the librarian after which a guided tour of the library, offices and archives were undertaken.
Dr Jan Goris, the former state archivist of Heemskerk and member of the South African Society for Cultural History organised an address to the Flemish Parliament Association in Brussels and a visit to the Flemish Commission for Real Heritage in Antwerp. The presentation was very well received and although time was limited, the visit to Antwerp was very fruitful.
National Monuments Congress, Rotterdam
The conference has been hosted annually in the Netherlands for the last six years. The conference focuses on themes that highlight the conservation and utilisation of monuments worldwide. In the Netherlands, ALL historical structures (houses, castles, palaces, forts, mills, etc.) are known as monuments and are indicated as such, this is not necessarily only on memorials as in South Africa.
“Although I have mixed feelings about the sad situation in South Africa and the struggle with the preservation of our heritage, I am also bolstered by the fact that the Voortrekker Monument and the Heritage Foundation is on the right track,” says Ms Kruger. “It was an incredibly enriching experience and I am very grateful for the opportunity.”