Save me/Bewaar me

What should we save? Participants in the national design, heritage and history conference Save me/Bewaar me in November 2010 attempted to answer that question. The conference, a production of Premsela, the Netherlands Institute for Heritage and the Mondriaan Foundation, took place on the steamship Rotterdam in Rotterdam harbour.

If we continue as we have been with the preservation of objects and archives, the depots will be overflowing in the foreseeable future. We must make choices about what to save and what not to. At the conference, speakers from a range of disciplines proposed criteria for evaluation and selection. They also discussed the question of where the government’s responsibility for maintenance and preservation stops and that of individuals and businesses begins.

Roger Scruton gave a talk about the need to preserve cultural heritage. “Let's save what people love but also ensure that new things are easy to demolish when it is clear that no one loves them,” he said.

Three archive specialists considered the question of what to save. Professor Charles Jeurgens, of the Nationaal Archief and Leiden University; Renate Flagmeier, of the Museum der Dingen/Werkbundarchiv, and Joanna Zielinska, a researcher of private collections, took part in the discussion. Participants then looked at the issue from different angles in two rounds of seven breakout sessions each.

Charles Jeurgens and Professor Timo de Rijk, of the Delft University of Technology and VU University Amsterdam, closed the conference with the respective talks “De noodzaak van selectie” (“The Necessity of Selection”) and “Collect the Impossible”.

Image: Robin Uleman. Photo: Maarten Willemstein.
Save me
See pictures from the event

Save me
The promo film