Water, Culture and Heritage

Amsterdam International Water Week8 November, 2023 
Register by mail: info@waternetwerk.nl

Maybe the significance of water related culture and heritage for today’s water management challenges is a ‘no brainer’ for you…. but, why is water related culture and heritage hardly at all mentioned in water management policies in the Netherlands and abroad? There is an apparent disconnection between water management on the one hand and heritage on the other. A disconnect apparently due to a mandatory divide; water management is to provide water services, water safety and water security for livelihoods, and cultural heritage organisations are primarily to protect and conserve the uniqueness and historic values of tangible and intangible icons of the past. These differences in mandate have resulted in disciplinary and institutional divides.  Divides that prohibit making use of past experiences and assets for today’s water management challenges.

Increasingly water professionals and heritage experts are looking for ways to bridge these undesirable divides. Over the last 10 years, dialogues between water managers and heritage experts have been organised on the significance of material, governance and spiritual water related heritage for today’s water management challenges with the intention to:

  • Enhance the interest to ‘learn from the past’ and add value to future water management interventions;
  • Encourage national activities on water and heritage between water management and heritage institutions;
  • Develop a thematic agenda for research on the significance of water related heritage for water management challenges.

These dialogues were complemented by publications such as the Blue Papers, a serious Game and a Compendium on water related heritage in The Netherlands as part of a partnership between TUDelft, WaterNet, ICOMOS and Witteveen+Bos. These products will be available at the side event.  

All the activities have resulted in the recommendation to the Mid-Term Review of the UN Water Action Decade, last March, to initiate an international Water, Culture and Heritage Platform.

Our side event at the AIWW initiates the development of the international Water, Culture and Heritage Platform. The event will set out with the Dutch Heritage Deal as an example that bridges the mandatory, institutional and disciplinary divides, and will be followed by pitches and round table discussions among MSc and PhD students on their research work on the significance of water related heritage for today, followed by thematic Round Table discussions, followed by recommendations for the World Water Forum 10 in Bali in May, 2024, and leading into the session of Wetskills challenges.

 The side event is organised by ICOMOS ISC Water-NL in cooperation with IHE , WaterNet AGV, Wetskills and TUDelft.  

 The side event will be linked up to the Water and Heritage conference ‘Waterscapes – Water Landscapes: uniting the past with the future’ in Ribeira Sacra, Galicia, Spain on 6 - 7 November 2023, organised by ICOMOS Spain and ICOMOS-IFLA ISC Cultural Landscapes (ISCCL) in collaboration with ICOMOS Netherlands Focus Group Water & Heritage and ICOMOS ISC Water Heritage (ISC Water). This will include a first step to create an open Working Group between ISCCL and ISC Water.


Wednesday November 8 from 9.30 to 13.00, RAI Elicium, Amsterdam

09.30 – 9.45 Welcome and Introduction
Björn Stenvers, President ICOMOS Netherlands
Henk van Schaik, Vice-President ICOMOS ISC Water Heritage

9.45 – 11.15 Water and Heritage National programmes
Chair Jeroen Oomkens, WaterNet

9.45 – 10.15 The Heritage Deal of The Netherlands
Jephta Dullaart, Program Leader Heritage Deal

10.15 – 10.35 The Dutch Compendium
Maarten Ouboter, WaterNet Amstel Gooi en Vecht

10.35 – 10.45 The perspective of the Union of Water Boards
on water and heritage
Luzette Kroon, Governor of the Dutch Water Authorities

10.45 – 11.05 Reactions and reflections
Hasti Tarekat Dipowijoyo (tbc), Heritage hands-on, and co-Chair Advisory Board Asian Network for Industrial Heritage
Dinara Ziganshina (tbc), Director Scientific Information Centre of Interstate Commission for Water Coordination, Central Asia

11.05 – 11.15 Discussion between speakers, young professionals and audience

11.15 – 13.00 Water related heritage for today and tomorrow
Chair Mila Avellar Montezuma, Architect and Urban Planner

11.15 – 11.25 The significance of water related heritage for water management today – Perspectives from the Blue Papers
Carola Hein, TU Delft, and UNESCO Chair Water, Ports and Historic Cities

11.25 – 11.35 Water and Heritage, international perspective
Eddy Moors, Rector IHE Delft Institute for Water Education

11.35 Pitches

Pitches on Significance Water related heritage for water management challenges
Moderator: Chris Zevenbergen, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education MSc and PhD students will present their research on the significance of water related heritage for present water management challenges.

12.00 – 12.10. Ribeira Sacra, Galicia (Spain), ensemble of water related heritage and water management today
Mónica Luengo, former Vice-President ICOMOS Spain, Hon. Member and former President ICOMOS-IFLA ISC Cultural Landscapes

12.10 – 12.45 Thematic Round Tables on linking water and heritage with livelihood:

- Traditional irrigation in mountainous areas
- Small Hydropower for green power generation
- Water and Landscapes
- Historic Water governance systems
- Water related rituals, ethics and spirituality
- Valuation methodologies of significance of water related heritage

12.45 – 12.55 Conclusions and next steps
Henk van Schaik, Vice-President ICOMOS ISC Water Heritage

12.55 – 13.00 Closure of event
Björn Stenvers, President ICOM Netherlands

13.00 – 14.00 Lunch

Financially supported by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

AIWW2023 is possible thanks to:

Vewin logo engels

Gold sponsor


Gold sponsor


Gold sponsor

Provincie Noord Holland

Silver sponsor

Royal Haskoning

Silver sponsor

Primary Logo 1 Full Color RGB HighRes

Silver sponsor

Logo Waternet zwart

Silver sponsor


Bronze sponsor

Topsectorwater redesign maritem blauwe letters preview




Logo Wetskills Foundation




Would you like to support AIWW2023? Get in touch and ask for the options (including promotion for your organization).