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Republic of India (Bharat in Hindi)
File:Flag of India.svg
Population 1,189,172,906 (July 2011 est.)
Ethnic Groups information on the demographics of India
Mutual cultural heritage



India is one of the ten priority countries within the policy framework for Mutual Cultural Heritage. There was a heritage days in India in April 2012 and a meeting on Dutch Indian heritage cooperation in the Netherlands in October 2011. The information on projects and the involved experts and organisations can be accessed in this platform. An extended overview of collections related to the mutual heritage of India and the Netherlands is available through the atlas of mutual heritage

A Shared History of India and the Netherlands

Dutch East India Company

Jan Huygen van Linschoten (1563-1611) was the first Dutchman in India. He worked as the secretary to a Portuguese Archbishop of Goa, which gave him access to secret Portuguese maps for spice routes. 

Van Linschoten wrote down his experiences in Itinerario and, thanks to the routes he obtained, India was opened to the Dutch. From the early 17th century onwards, the Dutch traded with India through the Dutch East India Company, whose sailors voyaged to and from the Indonesian archipelago to gather spices for their trade. In India, the Dutch East India Company acquired a number of Portuguese assets, primarily forts, which enabled the Company to operate along the Coromandel Coast, where they traded textiles, raw silk and opium

Dutch Inspector-General Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede tot Drakenstein (1636-1691) controlled the trade in India. Van Rheede wrote the book Hortus Malabaricus about the flora of Kerala. The first Indian who travelled to the Dutch Republic might be Gerrit Mosopatam. He was the interpreter for preacher Phillipus Baldaeus, and the two men are portrayed together in painting kept at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Because most of the trade took place in the coastal areas, many MCH artefacts can be found there.


In 1863, after the abolition of the slave trade, the Dutch needed labour for the plantations in Suriname. The Dutch recruited contract labourers in India, and the first 399 Indians to sail to Suriname arrived on June 5, 1873. A total of 34,000 Indians sailed to Suriname, with many returning to India after their contracts expired. Other labourers stayed in Suriname or migrated to the Netherlands after Suriname gained its independence in 1975. The legacy of these travels still can be seen in India, Suriname and the Netherlands.

Thematic Overview of the Cooperation

Archival cooperation

The so-called ‘paper heritage’ is an important part of the mutual cultural heritage between the Netherlands and India. It is known that archives, which consist mainly of paper, are a very fragile – yet important – source of information about the past. Further reading

Built heritage

Due to the presence of the Dutch in several parts of India during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, the country has been left with a Dutch-Indian built heritage which includes forts, palaces, synagogues, canals, factories and cemeteries. Further reading

Museums and Collections

Museums are guarantors of our civilisations not just today but even more for the future, through developing awareness among its visitors. There have been several projects and exhibitions by museums and institutes relating to the Indian and Dutch heritage. Further reading

Academic Cooperation

Cooperation in the academic field between India and the Netherlands has the potential for increasing awareness on the mutual heritage and further influence the long term project with particular consideration of the local people.The local participation in mutual heritage activities is a crucial element.For these reasons it is important to show and teach the importance of the mutual heritage from the schools.

Maritime Archaeology

Maritime archaeology is a discipline based on the studies of the interactions between the human and the marine world. Extend of the maritime archaeology varies from shipwrecks, maritime landscapes to onshore structures such as ports and costal towns. Since India played key role in trade in the early modern times its underwater cultural heritage is very diverse.

Projects, experts and organisations related to India

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Sites (29) where projects have activities
Click on a marker for the list of projects at the site.

Resident organisations
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Organisation involved with projects in India (as implied by the projects registered on the Organisation pages)
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Resident experts
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Experts involved with projects in India (as implied by the projects registered on the Expert pages)
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Projects related to India

Projects Type Category Discipline Activity Experts involved Organisations involved
2010 Floods Damage Assessment in Ladakh Region Research Built heritage Research Prince Claus Fund, Cultural Emergency Response
A New Dutch Imperial History. Connecting Dutch and Overseas pasts Public awareness & Presentations World heritage History Symposium Gert Oostindie Koninklijk Nederlands Historisch Genootschap
A new life for historic cultural landscapes: examples of creative policy plans Public awareness & Presentations Built heritage Heritage management Event Benedict Goes
Peter van Dun
Michael Doortmond
Hasti Tarekat
Frank Dragtenstein
Michel Newton
Dirk Laporte
Stephen Small
Claus-Peter Echter
Annelien Kappers
Philip Dikland
Stephen Fokké
ICOMOS Shared Built Heritage
Royal Dutch Embassy, Surinam
Advanced Course on GIS Application in the Management of Underwater Archaeology Research Maritime Archaeology Archaeology Knowledge exchange Martijn Manders
Will Brouwers
Wim Dijkman
Manithaphone Mahaxay
The Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Amsterdam Elsewhere Public awareness & Presentations Intangible heritage History Publication Marielle Hageman
Anne Frank - A History for Today Public awareness & Presentations History Exposition Jan Erik Dubbelman
Ksenya Shiryaeva
Gonneke de Ridder
Anne Frank House
Centro de Educação Unificado in Paraisópolis, São Paulo
Brazil Dutch Platform
Erasmus Huis Jakarta, Dutch Cultural Centre
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in India, New Delhi
Rudomino Library for Foreign Literature
Arts Network India in the Netherlands Public awareness & Presentations Kosmopolis
Dutch Royal Theater
Atlas of Mutual Heritage Research Built heritage Cartography Research Martine Gosselink
Tristan Mostert
National Archives Netherlands
The Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
National Library of the Netherlands
Automatic Transcript for Indian Music Care & Management Intangible heritage Musicology Technical assistance Wim van der Meer University of Amsterdam
India National Centre for Performing Arts
Bidesia Project Public awareness & Presentations Intangible heritage Sociology Exposition Maurits Hassankhan
Susan Legêne
GB Pant Social Science Institute in Allahabad
Instituut voor Maatschappelijk Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, Paramaribo
Surinaams Museum - Fort Zeelandia
Royal Tropical Institute, Tropenmuseum
Anton de Kom University of Suriname
Bridging Two Oceans. Slavery in Indian and Atlantic Worlds Public awareness & Presentations History Symposium Filipa Ribeiro da Silva Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation
Calicut Medicinal Plants Herbarium Training and Education Natural heritage Sustainable development K.K.N. Kurup
Philip Mathew
Centre for Heritage Studies
University of Calicut
Chhoti Haldwani Heritage Map
Collection Management Workshop Training and Education Moveable heritage Collection management Capacity building National Archives Netherlands
National Archives South Africa
Arsip Nasional Republik Indonesia
Public Records and Archives Administration Department of Ghana (PRAAD)
National Archives of Suriname (NAS)
Department of National Archives, Sri Lanka
National Archives Brazil
National Archives of India, Delhi
Collection and Ex-situ Conservation of the Medicinal Plants Described in Van Rheede’s Hortus Malabaricus Training and Education Natural heritage Capacity building K.K.N. Kurup Centre for Heritage Studies
Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Education
Panmana Ashram
Colonial Burial Culture in India Research Archaeological heritage Publication Martin Krieger
Alexander Drost
Ernst Moritz Arndt University
Historisches Institut Ernst Moritz Arndt University
British Library
Atlas of Mutual Heritage
Conference and workshop on Hortus Malabaricus and intangible heritage Public awareness & Presentations Intangible heritage Capacity building B. Venugopal National Museum of Natural History, India
Regional Museum of Natural History, Mysore
Kochi Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in India, New Delhi
Conservation of Northern Netherlands artwork in the museums of Mumbai and Baroda Care & Management Moveable heritage Capacity building Anne van Grevenstein Limburg Conservation Institute, Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg (SRAL)
The Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery, Baroda
The Museum Mumbai
Foundation for Cultural Inventory
Corporation Bus Stand Care & Management Built heritage Regional cooperation
Cosmopolis Research Research
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