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Navigating and living on the waterways of Continental Europe and news of canal developments. (Public)
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European Maritime Heritage General Board 2022 report by Scott Pereira 05 Dec 2022 11:33 #133133

  • Andy Soper
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  • Neeltje
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Apologies- my fault - Scott's original properly formatted

EMH meeting Hamburg 21 October 2022

The General Board (which includes all the national members) of EMH meets annually, and this year
in person/face-to-face again at last. There had been a preliminary smaller meeting in Italy in
Cesenatico in June to draft new statutes, including aims and membership changes, but this was an
opportunity to revise and ratify them. Sounds boring, but there was plenty of full and frank
discussion, and the changes may turn out to be quite important. The main meeting was held in the
Hafenmuseum in the docks, right next to the recently arrived (and restored) sailing ship Peking ex
Training Ship Arethusa. Other sessions were held on board in the cavernous cargo spaces.

First, the Aims. Much the same as usual, supporting operation of old (‘traditional’, ‘historic’ and
‘classic’) boats in Europe, but now with added ‘sustainable development’, whatever that means. A
lot of the wording is intentionally serious because they are bidding for grants and need the current
fashionable words. The Dutch have a concept of ‘Sector, Factor, Vector’ for traditional harbour
museum developments – the Sector is the boats themselves, the Factor is their influence on their
surroundings and the Vector is their importance for the future. I think. It’s Dutch.

Second, the Membership. Here, there’s a big change. The old umbrella national organisations (like
Maritime Heritage Trust in the UK) that were responsible for providing a single national member are
no longer so responsible. Members like DBA (or National Historic Ships, or OGA or SBA) can be equal
members if they want. The more the better. The membership model is now based on Europa Nostra,
a heritage organisation mostly involved with buildings, which has hundreds of members and hence a
large budget and lots of clout in Europe. The membership subscription (and five votes each) is the
same for every organisation (individuals who want to join will be designated ‘Friends’ and have one
vote), including what used to be Advisory members (mostly maritime museums, which don’t
necessarily operate boats) and Associate members (that operate boats that aren’t necessarily all
‘heritage’ – like DBA).

The implication is that membership for the national organisations (that used to be 3000 euros) now
costs less and for other members (that used to be 150euros) costs more. The draft suggests 275
euros, slightly less than the Europa Nostra rate of 350euros which they think the market will bear.
Individual ‘Friend’ membership is to be 25 euros.

What do we get for that? EMH has campaigning groups on boat safety, boat culture and inland
waterways, that DBA participate in. They’ve produced a Memorandum of Understanding that means
signatory countries (including UK) accept each others’ national standards for boat safety for boats
crossing borders. There’s their Barcelona Charter, setting principles for boat preservation and
restoration (soon to be revised to include principles for ‘intangible’ heritage such as traditional
boatbuilding and operating skills). The Heritage Harbour idea developed mostly in Holland has been
translated into a successful and expanding movement in the UK, which may help to preserve our
heritage moorings and boatbuilding facilities for barges. Finally, there’s their new charitable trust
which can give grants e.g. for operating old boats – and might eventually have big prizes like Europa
Nostra. Check out the Europa Nostra website to get a feel for what EMH is aiming for. Maybe we
could rename it Classis Nostra – our fleet.

Scott Pereira
Director (Heritage), DBA The Barge Association
UK representative, EMH
Best Wishes
Andy Soper
DBA Director Representation and Treasurer
mv Neeltje
0044 (0) 303 666 0636

You don't need a barge to join - a dream of boating in Europe will do'. See www.barges.org

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