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

Cultural heritage management tour Sri Lanka delegation

From 21 to 24 May, a cultural delegation of Sri Lanka visited the Netherlands. The Sri Lanka government wants to increase its know how on management and commercial exploitation of its cultural heritage. The visit was initiated by the Dutch Embassy in Colombo and organized by SICA Dutch Centre for International Cultural Activities.

Visit Nationaal Archief

Part of the tour was a two day excursion at the Nationaal Archief in The Hague. Day one started with a general presentation on the Mutual Heritage Program of the Nationaal Archief, followed by a presentation on historical charts of Sri Lanka. These maps, the oldest dating from the 17th century, are part of the masterpiece collection of the Nationaal Archief. In addition, Professor Jan Kok of Radboud University presented a project on improved accessibility of the Thombos. These registers of landholdings form the most consulted part of the 300 meters VOC archives kept at the National Archives in Sri Lanka.

Repository management

The second part of the Nationaal Archief excursion was on repository management and conservation. Kick off was a presentation on climate control, pests and fungi, followed by a presentation on current conservation projects of the Nationaal Archief.

Follow up

During the two visits to the Nationaal Archief valuable discussions took place on the management of mutual cultural heritage. The government of Sri Lanka clearly has the ambition to preserve and to improve the accessibility of the VOC archives (around 300 meters) in Colombo. At the moment, these records are being microfilmed. For the next phase, possibilities for digitization are being explored.

Nationaal Archief

For an online view of the Sri Lanka maps and other masterpieces of the Nationaal Archief, visit the website