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Shipwreck protection

Robert de Hoop - 7th March 2019 - 0 comments

The Huis te Warmelo wreck has special significance to the Netherlands. Nowhere else in the world have Dutch warships from the early eighteenth century been found in equally good condition and with as many archaeological details. Once the origin of the wreck was determined, the Finnish Heritage Agency shared information and started a cooperation with Dutch authorities.


The International Programme for Maritime Heritage

The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE) as part of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, has set up a programme for the international management of Dutch maritime heritage. The International Programme for Maritime Heritage, in collaboration with government partners, implements the policy framework ‘ship finds and ship’s sites abroad’ on behalf of the minister. The RCE requested an official report on the wreck, which the Finnish Heritage Agency provided on 18th March 2016. A meeting regarding the documentation of the wreck was held at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Helsinki on 23–24 March 2016. During this meeting, a collaboration was set up with the RCE (International Programme for Maritime Heritage), the Finnish Heritage Agency, the Dutch embassy in Helsinki, the archaeological company Subzone, historian Peter Swart and archaeologist Michiel Bartels (Archaeology West-Friesland) to map the wreck (a warship and therefore property of the Dutch State) and to make plans for the future.


Protection zone for the wreck

The Finnish Heritage Agency and the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands held a meeting in Helsinki on 27th March 2017 with regard to the management and protection of the wreck. On April 17th 2018, a meeting took place with all partners and agreements were made about the legal protection, research, cooperation and audience reach. On 6th June 2018 the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment/Uusimaa Region decided, after a request by the Finnish Heritage Agency and the RCE, to make a protection zone around the Huis te Warmelo wreck according to the Finnish Antiquities Act. The diameter of the protection zone for the Huis te Warmelo wreck is 800 metres . In the protection zone it is forbidden without the permission by Finnish Heritage Agency to dive, anchor, fish with gears used near the seabed, do any kind of construction work or do any activity which causes changes to the seabed. With this measure an important step has been taken to protect the wreck of the Huis in Warmelo. However, besides protecting, we would also of course like to tell the story of this ship that is so well preserved on the seabed due to the conditions in the cold water and the depth (64 metres). It promises to generate very interesting research in the coming years as a comsequence of the co-operation between the two governments and the public and private partners.


Figure: Sculpture on the Huis te Warmelo lying on  the bottom of the Gulf of Finland. (SubZone)


This contribution is from Robert de Hoop, maritime archaeologist at the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands.