Realising the potential of cultural heritage to achieve climate change actions in the Netherlands

J Environ Manage. 2020 Nov 15;274:111107. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.111107. Epub 2020 Aug 10.


Climate change impacts on diverse cultural heritage is gaining scholarly and policy attention, yet little research has been conducted on how can diverse cultural heritage inform decisionmakers and policymakers in achieving climate change actions (i.e., climate change adaptation and mitigation). For this study, we conducted semi-structured interviews with Dutch cultural heritage and environmental or climate change experts (n = 52) and participant observations across the Netherlands to explore the importance of cultural heritage benefits and their relation to climate change actions. We also explored the perceptions of cultural heritage management over time, including the influence of climate policy on heritage practice in the Netherlands. Our findings show that experts perceived a multiplicity of heritage benefits as important in supporting and informing present and future climate change actions. The most salient benefits were informational benefits where diverse cultural heritage is perceived as an important source of knowledge about past societal, economic and environmental developments and changes. Further, heritage management was perceived as constantly changing over time, reflecting the transformative nature of diverse heritage types. Experts agreed that climate policy has already influenced cultural heritage practice in the Netherlands. Lastly, the interrelationships between heritage benefits and management were identified and characterised. This study informs both cultural heritage and climate change research agendas and helps leverage diverse cultural heritage into climate change adaptation and mitigation policies.

Keywords: Climate change adaptation; Climate change mitigation; Cultural heritage management; Heritage benefits; Interrelationships.

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization*
  • Climate Change*
  • Humans
  • Netherlands