‘Monumenten in Nederland’ en de Rijksdienst. Monumentenbeschrijving nu en straks
The preservation of the built architectural heritage is inextricably bound up with an accurate description of that heritage. This insight is universal and internationally undisputed and has been the foundation of the description of monuments and historic buildings in the Netherlands since the second half of the nineteenth century.
In this article the description of such historic buildings by the government is under discussion because of various current social changes, four of which are further clarified. Firstly, under political pressure the national government is shrinking, while from the ministries the guiding relation of the executive government departments, such as the RACM (RCE), is directed at privatisation.
Secondly, under the influence of ICT developments the patterns of information consumption within the discipline of preservation of architectural heritage and within society in general are changing, which affects processes of exchange of knowledge as well as the nature of the description of monuments and historic buildings.
Thirdly, the discipline of the built architectural heritage is characterized by increasing professionalization and specialization, whereas in the execution integration of the various aspects (preservation of monuments and historic buildings, archaeology, historical geography, historical urban planning, landscape history etc.) is aimed at.
And finally, these past years interest in the historical environment and the historical narrative has increased tremendously, with the result that not just the heritage industry (cultural tourism, events in a heritage setting) is flourishing, but web pages with historical information and descriptions of historic buildings are also visited on a massive scale. Together these developments demand a fundamental discussion on a renewed interpretation of the above-mentioned descriptive task of the government.