Traveling Caribbean Heritage
Centuries of intense migrations have deeply impacted  the development of the creolized Papiamentu/o-speaking cultures of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. The islands’ asymmetrical relation to the Netherlands begs many questions regarding insular identities. In addition, contemporary migrations have deeply impacted  insular demographics and understandings of what it means to be Aruban, Bonairean, or Curaçaoan. Finally, mass tourism became a central pillar of the insular economies, adding to the changes in the demographic make-up of the islands.

All of this provokes debates about insular identity, and the need to identify and preserve the islands’ literarily traveling cultural heritage – but heritage is as much a contested concept as identity. While scholars emphasize its evasive, constructed and contested character, local workers in the field of culture and education as well as activists search for constructive and practice-oriented approaches, driven by questions pertaining to the fields of nation-building (‘What do we want our citizens, young and old, to know and cherish about our unique insular heritage?’) and to the field of tourism (‘What image of our island do we want to present to tourists, emphasizing our unique heritage without falling into the trap of excessive folklorization and even fossilization, preventing people from seeing all kinds of new cultural expressions?’).

In this project, Caribbean and Dutch scholars and cultural heritage specialists address these questions, identifying and questioning the dynamics of heritage formation, and developing a multi-generational human resource base as well as a digital infrastructure for the preservation of insular cultural heritage, for outreach  activities, and ultimately for stimulating the sustainable development of these non-sovereign SIDS.

Project description
Presentations & reports

Presentation ‘Heritage, History, the Canon, Nation Building & Nation Branding’ 
By Alex van Stipriaan & Gert Oostindie – Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, 18-25 September 2017

Presentation of the TCH project
By Alex van Stipriaan – Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, 18-25 September2017

Presentation ‘Situational analysis, Workshop instrument (SWOT) and TCH the Netherlands’
By Joeri Arion en Valika Smeulders – Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, 18-25 September 2017

Presentation Sustainable Development: Culture, Education & Tourism – Context Bonaire’
By Liliane de Geus – Bonaire, 25 September

Presentation ‘Windows-on-Aruba: Towards An Aruban historical canon Travelling Caribbean heritage’
By Luc Alofs – Aruba, 18-19 September 2017

Presentation ‘Capacity building trajectory’
By Luc Alofs -Aruba, 18-19 September 2017

Presentation ‘What is central to Curaçao’s history and national identity? A cultural heritage canon as a tool for national identity,
nation-building and nation-branding’
By Richenel Ansano – Curaçao, 20-21 September 2017

Presentation ‘The Curacao historical canon: update Challenges for a heritage canon: the case of the Curacao historical canon’
By Rose Mary Allen – Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, 18-25 September 2017

Workshops report | 18 – 25 September, 2017


Click here to go back to the full list of research projects ongoing at the KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies and in collaboration with other departments and institutions.

Related Reseachers
In the media

Wikipedia wil meer Caribische geschiedenis en cultuur‘, Caribisch Netwerk, 20 augustus 2018.

Antilliaans Dagblad, ‘Onderzoek naar levend erfgoed‘, 7 juni 2017

The Daily Herald, ‘Research on islands’ travelling heritage’, 30 May 2017.

Newsletter Leiden University,Travelling Caribbean heritage under the microscope’, 24 May 2017.