National Archives of the Netherlands (Ministry of Education, Culture and Science)

Cooperation with Guyana in progress

Recently the National Archivist of Guyana, Mrs. Nadia Gamel-Carter visited the Netherlands on invitation of the MCH-team at the Nationaal Archief in The Hague. The main goal of the visit was creating a Working Program on cooperation between the National Archives of Guyana (NAG) and the Nationaal Archief.

Even though Guyana shares a mutual history with the Netherlands, it has not been assigned as Priority Country within the MCH program. This has not stopped the Nationaal Archief to look for means of cooperation. The Dutch records held by the NAG are unique resources into the mutual history of both countries, of value because of the insights it can provide in government and genealogical research for example. Unfortunately the documents are in a very bad condition.

Working Program with Guyana

Therefore one of the activities as outlined in the Working Program will be to search for (financial) possibilities to organize a training for the Guyanese colleagues at the NAG on the Universal Procedure for Archival Assessment (UPAA). The aim is to assess the physical state of the series with Dutch records at the NAG. Subsequently a proposal to optimize the storage conditions will be made.

Another project described in the Working Program is the transcription and translation (into English) of two manuscripts concerning the Guyanese history from the archives of the Dutch West India Company (West-Indische Compagnie, WIC) in the collection of the Nationaal Archief in The Hague. Possibly these documents can be used for the 250th commemoration of the abolition of slavery in 2013.

The Working Program will be signed by the NAG and the Nationaal Archief in April 2012.

NAG as keeper of WIC-records

Apart from discussing the outlines of the Working Program the visit of Mrs. Gamel-Carter made it possible that she attended the Atlantic Days held in November 2011 in Amsterdam and Middelburg. Since the NAG is keeper of records of the Dutch West India Company (WIC) and has actively supported the nomination of the WIC-records as UNESCO Memory of the World, it was vital that the National Archivist of Guyana was present at this international meeting.

The visit was paid for by the International Visitor Program as executed by the Dutch Centre for International Cultural Activities (SICA).