Rotterdam, a city known for its rich cultural heritage and architectural marvels, is set to host the 37th edition of Open Monumentendag (Open Monuments Day) on 9 & 10 September 2023. This annual event, celebrated across the Netherlands, opens the doors of thousands of monuments to the public for free, showcasing the nation's cultural traditions and craftsmanship. This year's theme, ‘Levend Erfgoed’ (Living Heritage), emphasizes the cultural practices and artisan skills passed down through generations.
Open Monumentendag: A closer look
More than 700 monuments in the province of Zuid-Holland will open their doors to the public, highlighting the richness of Dutch cultural heritage. This year's theme, ‘Levend Erfgoed’ (Living Heritage), focuses on cultural customs, traditions, and artisan skills inherited from previous generations and passed on to the next.
The year 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and the theme 'Living Heritage' is being celebrated. Intangible heritage consists of cultural traditions, crafts, and skills that are passed down from generation to generation. This heritage is seen as constantly evolving and changing with time and the individual who practices it. Often, the monuments reflect this intangible heritage through their (historical) function, but living heritage will be made extra visible during Open Monumentendag Rotterdam this year.
Examples of intangible heritage associated with Rotterdam include the Summer Carnival, the kapsalon (the dish), São João Baptista, the Military Tattoo, papermaking, and also Action Group The Old West. The question is openly posed to the public whether connections can be made between this living heritage and the Rotterdam monuments. Examples of national intangible heritages are sometimes more easily linked due to the strong bond they already have with material heritage, such as the miller's craft or traditional water living.
Monuments are to be filled with liveliness this year!
Highlights of the event in 2023
Some monuments and activities to be featured during the event include:
- De Citrusveiling: A remarkable building, a fine example of Rotterdam's post-war architecture.
- Verenigingsgebouw Roeivereniging Nautilus: Open for free visits at the Oude Plantage.
- Begraafplaats Crooswijk: Guided tours and free visits to the monument.
- Botanische Tuin Kralingen: Open for free visits.
- St Mary's Anglican Episcopalian Church: Open on Saturday, 9 September.
- Van Nelle Fabriek: Visitable only with a guided tour (paid ticket required).
- ss Rotterdam: Open on Sunday 10 September, with presentations available.
For a more complete list, have a look at the official Open Monuments Day website for Rotterdam.