INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES ICOMOS Netherlands ICOMOS-NL in 2007-2008 2007 has been a difficult year for ICOMOS-NL. The bureau had to stop its operation due to lack of funds. For over 20 years the Ministry of Culture had provided an annual grant to ICOMOS-NL. This enabled our association to employ a part time professional*) (12 hrs/week) who secured the communication, and acts as a structural point of contact, both for the International Secretariat, for the ISC’s and for the members on a national level. Due to a political change in the public finance system it was announced that the annual grant would be stopped by 2008. This means that the staff of ICOMOS-NL could no longer be employed. The membership fee is enough to cover the international membership fee transferred to Paris, with only a small extra for overhead costs. Half of the budget of about 35.000 euro would be cut. The board and bureau protested, without success in keeping the grant. Our main argument was that ICOMOS has an official task in advising on World Heritage matter in which the Netherlands has an obligation, being state party to the World Heritage Convention. For that reason it is arguable that the state supports ICOMOS in its very existence and basic operations. This argument was supported by the advisor on the World Heritage nomination files currently in progress. He treated that the nomination file to be presented in 2009 would mention that the Netherlands has no national ICOMOS committee any more. This had another positive effect. Some of the ICOMOS tasks were appointed to a new national institute, financed by the Ministry of Culture. This institute offered to support ICOMOS-NL in return for a narrow co-operation and access to the ICOMOS-network. The current situation in the heritage sector in The Netherlands The fields in which the Ministry of Culture is active, is covered by 9 sector institutes: film, dance, music, popular music, theatre and heritage. These institutes, fully financed by the state, act as an intermediaries and practical instrument of the ministry. The institute supports the implementation of political goals, starts pilot projects that guide other cultural organisations how to implement new ideas and structural aims. In addition, all institutes have a task in co-ordination the international activities of the cultural organisations in the country. For the heritage sector, including museums, monuments, archaeology and archives, the Netherlands Institute for Heritage – Erfgoed Nederland - was founded in January 2007. Lacking experience in international affairs the Institute sought co-operation with other parties. At the same time ICOMOS- NL was in need for support. Both problems were solved in the way that the Netherlands Institute for Heritage took over the ICOMOS staff member, including his experience and contacts. ICOMOS-NL still exists as an association of expert members. Questions related to World Heritage Sites are still the competence of ICOMOS and its board, but can be handled by the employee of the Institute. The same employee*) supports the ICOMOS-board in its meetings, national assemblies of members and so forth. In this way the Institute supports ICOMOS-NL in natura. The tasks and objectives if the Netherlands Institute for Heritage are wider than, but include those of ICOMOS: support Dutch heritage organisations in international co-operation, be active in the international heritage network on behalf of the heritage sector, stimulate co-operation by starting pilot- projects, including those on education and participation of society. A joint objective is to support the ISC on Shared Built Heritage, on of the priorities of foreign cultural policy in the Netherlands. *) mr Benedict Goes, art-historian and experienced in the fields of management of museums, archaeology organisations and monuments, has been employed by ICOMOS-NL since 1999; he is now employed by Netherlands Institute for Heritage and exucet.-secret. of ICOMOS-NL.