In April 2010, during the MCH Conference in Paramaribo (Suriname), the MCH partners supported the idea of providing online access to our shared history through an MCH Archives Website. The principles of such a website were defined in November 2010, during the MCH Portal Conference in Albany.
Martin Berendse, National Archivist of the Netherlands, is reelected for a further two years term as President of the International Council on Archives (ICA).
This month a start is made with conserving and digitizing part of the archive of the Second or New West India Company (NWIC). The project is financed by the Metamorfoze program. The collection will be available on www.gahetna.nl as soon as digitization is finalized. The archive of the Old West India Company (1621-1674) is already on line.
The archives of the Dutch West India Company (WIC) and the archives of the Middelburgsche Commercie Compagnie (MCC) offer insight in the history of the European expansion into West-Africa and North- and South-America. They tell us about conquest, trade, slavery and more. On 3 and 4 November the Nationaal Archief and the Zeeuws Archief organized the Atlantic Days to celebrate the new status of the WIC archives and the MCC archives as UNESCO Memory of the World.
As part of the aspiration to offer full access to the sources on mutual history, the Nationaal Archief has digitized the archives of the First or Old West India Company (OWIC, 1621-1674). The launch of the ‘OWIC online’ took place on the first of the Atlantic Days in Amsterdam 3 November.
The Directors of Arquivo Nacional and the Nationaal Archief, Jaime Antunes da Silva and Martin Berendse have signed an agreement during the International Council on Archives (ICA) in Toledo,
The proclamation of the WIC archives as UNESCO Memory of the World acknowledges its universal historical value. The Nationaal Archief wants to make the WIC era more visible, also to a wider audience. Therefore the Nationaal Archief has created a WIC webexpo, an online exhibition displaying a number of interesting documents from this archive.
In one of the most significant developments for archives at the international level for many years, the General Conference of UNESCO has unanimously endorsed in plenary session on 10 November the Universal Declaration on Archives proposed by the International Council on Archives (ICA). This landmark decision is an important step in improving public understanding of archives. It provides a splendid opportunity to raise still further awareness of archives among the general public and key decision-makers.
The Centre for International Heritage Activities (CIE) has launched a website which benefits the international heritage field: Cultural Heritage Connections. Experts and organisations can find and share information, and connect with other experts and organisations all over the world.
In June 2011 the MCH team visited Brazil to establish a Working Program with Arquivo Nacional (Rio de Janeiro). This Working Program is part of a series, organized by the Nationaal Archief together with each of the priority countries. In Brazil, the MCH team visited the Ministry of Culture, UNESCO, the Brazilian Institute of Museums (IBRAM) and other authorities to discuss possible cooperation.