Crucial to the argument in this contribution is the idea that the history of the governance (including the administration) of national historical and cultural heritage in the Netherlands is very much dependent on the formation and (re)conceptualisation of a Dutch national identity. The notion of recasting or reformulating national identity through defining the appropriate historical and cultural artefacts has been essential for understanding the turns that administrative history has taken. The authors point out that this observation is as relevant for the 19th and early 20th centuries as it is today. Cultural heritage is constantly in flux as new minorities each bring different culture and heritage to an increasingly multicultural society; each trying to find a place in Dutch society. The new multiculturalism is not unlike what separated Catholics and Protestants in the 19th century. The authors conclude that the current uneasiness about what “identity” is in a multicultural society will in time be overcome. There is a need to understand that national identity and cultural heritage are policy concerns with great continuity, while its substance is and should always be subject to change.
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