SteenhuisMeurs writes heritage reports, compiles monument lists and secures the cultural history component in zoning plans with accompanying planning maps. In brief: we are happy to help you define the expanding heritage policy in times of deflation. State policy in the field of space, building and heritage has changed. Right now we are working with comprehensive environmental permits and a new Spatial Planning Act, while the Dutch heritage policy is being modernised (the so-called MoMo). In the 2011 document ‘Kiezen voor karakter, Visie erfgoed en ruimte’ (Character in focus, Vision for heritage and spatial planning) the cabinet outlines its vision on the inclusion of immovable cultural heritage in spatial planning. In the zoning plan, a paragraph on cultural history is mandatory, to be accompanied by a planning map stipulating valuable cultural heritage sites and objects. For municipalities, these recent changes entail a reassessment of their heritage policy.
SteenhuisMeurs is closely following the developments in the changing heritage policy and is also a party in shaping this policy. Integrated heritage policies were developed for a number of municipalities. We emphatically look beyond policy areas. Which opportunities can be seized to optimise efficiency and complementarity of policy, so that those who compose the guidelines as well as citizens can get by with fewer and better harmonised rules? The rules for spatial quality obviously affect the heritage and monument policy, while the municipal structural vision can also follow the pattern of its own dna.
SteenhuisMeurs has ample experience in establishing such policy guidelines and is a reliable and stimulating partner in the accompanying consultation processes. Whereas previously there was a variety of different coexisting papers to deal with, our analysis and merging of documents will result in clarity and above all in enthusiasm to define spatial policy on the basis of the characteristics and assets of the particular municipality. This latter aspect is of great importance, especially now that reinforcement of the competitive position of (inner) cities is high on the agenda. Hence, heritage and spatial policy can link multiple municipal policy areas and give tangible shape to spatial quality. Furthermore, SteenhuisMeurs is experienced in the field of specific heritage policy, such as for example the development of instruments for protected cityscapes and townscapes, or the selection of iconic buildings and municipal monuments.
An extraordinary assignment in the field of heritage policy concerns the World Heritage Nomination file for the Koloniën van Weldadigheid (Colonies of Benevolence): Frederiksoord, Wilhelminaoord, Willemsoord, Ommerschans, Veenhuizen, Wortel (Belgium) and Merksplas (Belgium). This assignment was awarded to us in 2012 by the province of Drenthe. Together with Geertje Bernaerts of Karvansera bureau in Malines (Belgium) we are exploring the outstanding universal value of these pauper colonies and will translate the results in a so-called Nomination file, which the Netherlands and Belgium are hoping to submit to UNESCO’s Wold Heritage Bureau in Paris in 2017.