Shared Underwater Cultural Heritage

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The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Canberra, Australia, welcomes project proposals for initiatives focusing on Dutch-Australian Underwater Cultural Heritage.

Dutch-Australian Underwater Cultural Heritage

Dutch seafarers explored and charted the Australian coastline more than 150 years before James Cook. In 1606, Dutchman Willem Janszoon and his crew on the Duyfken made the first European landing on the Australian continent. Many Dutch explorers, including Dirk Hartog and Abel Tasman, followed. Some of the Dutch journeys to Australia did not end well. In 2029 it will be 400 years ago since the Batavia wrecked off the coast of Western Australia. The discovery of the Batavia and three other Dutch shipwrecks in Australian waters in the 1960s, presented Australian and Dutch scholars with a unique opportunity to jointly explore our shared maritime history and heritage.

The Dutch-Australian underwater cultural heritage programme also focuses on shared military underwater heritage in Australian waters, dating back to World War II, when the Netherlands and Australia were allies in in the Pacific War.


  1. The project commences after 1 March 2020 but before 1 December 2020 and will run for a period not exceeding four years;
  2. The project contributes to collecting and enhancing knowledge on Australian-Dutch maritime heritage;
  3. The project contributes to knowledge exchange;
  4. The project contributes to capacity building of professionals in Shared Cultural Heritage (SCH) partner countries;
  5. The project creates awareness and knowledge about Australian-Dutch maritime heritage, mainly among an Australian audience;
  6. The project will be conducted in accordance with international best practice as outlined in the UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage - Annex Rules concerning activities directed at underwater cultural heritage;
  7. The project has a long-term impact;
  8. The project promotes cooperation between Australian and Dutch counterparts;
  9. The project promotes skill sharing and professional development opportunities, and hands-on marine educational opportunities for learning and participating in maritime archaeology and maritime history;
  10. A strong joint communication strategy is part of the project planning;
  11. If applicable: involvement from key stakeholders and the community to ensure the project can continue after Embassy funding ceases; and
  12. The project has a clear outcome with tangible results.