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Agriculture's Role as an Upholder of Cultural Heritage

Report from a Workshop

image of Agriculture's Role as an Upholder of Cultural Heritage

A substantial part of the cultural landscape and cultural heritage for many European countries is related to agriculture. Agricultural activity in some form is of vital importance in order to maintain and uphold the cultural heritage related to agriculture, however, intensive farming methods is also a major destroyer of cultural heritage. The role of agriculture as an upholder of cultural heritage was the focus of attention for a European workshop in Norway in February 2005 which brought together representatives from the public agricultural and cultural heritage sectors and researchers from The Netherlands, Austria, Estonia, England, and the Nordic countries of Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland and Norway. This report presents the status for the link agriculture - cultural heritage in these nine countries and points out some differences as well as mutual characteristics between the national contexts.

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Landscapes of transformation: Reflections on agriculture and cultural heritage in a man-made country

In the whole range of contributions about ‘agriculture’s role as an upholder of cultural heritage’, the case of The Netherlands is a rather extreme one. This because the Dutch landscapes have a strongly man-made character and have been subject to rather radical changes and processes of ‘remaking’ through the ages. What does cultural heritage mean in such a context? In what sense could agriculture possibly be seen as an upholder of cultural heritage? And what about policies and measures in this field? Before discussing these questions, the idea of The Netherlands as a manmade country will be elaborated on somewhat further. Against this background three alternative interpretations of cultural heritage and agriculture’s role towards it will be presented. All three interpretations are reflected in today’s policies and measures.

English

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