The Future of World Heritage

The Netherlands and the UNESCO World Heritage Convention

In 2012, the World Heritage Convention celebrated its 40th anniversary. The Netherlands, a State Party since 1992, actively supports the Convention’s aim, both in the national and international arenas. Carol Westrik wrote a policy research report about the future of the World Heritage Convention for the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands. It contains observations about the strengths and weaknesses of the organizational structure that guides the Convention. These are elaborated with respect to, for instance, the meaning of the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), Sustainability of the decision-making process, Politicization and Credibility of the List, Maintenance and conservation of the sites, Tourism, or the List of World heritage in Danger. Furthermore, the report contains recommendations on how the Netherlands as a State Party can work with the Convention, both within the Netherlands, and internationally. The Future of World Heritage argues for sustained Dutch commitment to the Convention.

Carol Westrik has over fifteen years of experience with the World Heritage Convention, both in the context of the Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO, as the secretary of the Dutch delegation to the World Heritage Committee, attending the General Assemblies (GA) of States Parties to the World Heritage Convention, numerous experts meetings, and recently as the secretary and coordinator of the Dutch Stichting

Funding for this policy research was granted by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (2010-2012) and it was written in the context of the Research Institute for the heritage and history of the Cultural Landscape and Urban Environment (CLUE), Vrije Universiteit (VU), Amsterdam.

The full report can be downloaded here

Westrik, Carol, The Future of World Heritage: The Netherlands and the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, (VU Amsterdam, 2012). [PDF]

Selected publications

Engels, B. and C. Westrik, ‘Sustainable development in the Wadden Sea, A Dutch-German World Heritage site’, in: Galla, A. (ed.) (2012). World Heritage. Benefits Beyond Borders, UNESCO Publishing, Paris and Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Westrik, C. and S. Neuerburg, 'The Role of Culture in Post-conflict and Post-disaster Situations', Forum Archaeologiae 55/VI/2010 (

Westrik, C., ‘The Challenges and Opportunities of World Heritage in Times of Armed Conflict’, paper presented at the Conference on World Heritage and Sustainable Development, Portugal, 7-9 May 2007.