A Broad View of Heritage

The interactions between heritage and transitions in the physical environment

Background and request for advice

Transitions and other developments are going to alter the physical fabric of much of the Netherlands. The consequences of developments like the energy transition, climate adaptation, urban development, upscaling in agriculture, technological innovations and demographic changes will be considerable, but are also subject to uncertainties and will work out differently in each region. The Council for Culture and the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure have investigated what this means for the immovable cultural heritage of the Netherlands. The conclusion is that it will not be necessary to overhaul policy, but that what is needed most is a change in culture within the heritage sector itself.

A Broad View of Heritage
© Bert Spiertz / Hollandse Hoogte


  • Attend to the quality of area
    The transitions will require more attention to the quality of both rural and urban areas.
  • Make good use of the new environmental strategies (under the forthcoming Environment and Planning Act)
    Stories about heritage can be a source of inspiration, help generate support for change and be an integrative force for a shared vision for the future.
  • Put the user centre stage
    The heritage sector must shift its focus from ‘selection and designation’ to ‘brokerage and conversion’. Encourage temporary and new uses by looking at heritage assets through the eyes of the user and adapt policy instruments to match this perspective.
  • Keep the target groups in mind
    The councils observe that greater effort should be made to gain support and active involvement from young people and Dutch citizens with a migration background. Make use of their stories about heritage to engage them in discussions about the future of an area.


The Council for Culture and the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure submitted their advice ‘A Broad View of Heritage’ to the minister of education, culture and science, Ingrid van Engelshoven, on 18 December 2017.

More information

For further information on the advice, please contact Tim Zwanikken: +31 (0)6 52874404, tim.zwanikken@rli.nl