European Heritage Label for the Colonies of Benevolence

European Heritage Label for the Colonies of Benevolence

The Colonies of Benevolence in the Netherlands and Belgium have received the European Heritage Label.

The Colonies of Benevolence – of which Museum de Proefkolonie in Frederiksoord (NL), the future visitor center in Ommerschans (NL), the visitor center Kolonie 5-7 in Merksplas (BE) and the National Prison Museum in Veenhuizen (NL) are part of – have received the European Heritage Label from the European Commission, along with nine other heritage sites which have played in important role in the history and culture of Europe, or in the creation of the European Union. The Netherlands and Belgium receive this shared label because of the transnational proposal by the countries.

The Colonies of Benevolence were founded in the beginning of the 19th century to battle poverty through labour in agricultural colonies specially equipped for this purpose. More than 1 million Dutch and Belgians have ancestors who have lived and worked in the Colonies of Benevolence. The awarded locations especially focus on educational activities aimed at young people.

Currently a total of 48 heritage sites have an European Heritage Label. For Belgium this is the first designation. In the Netherlands, the Peace Palace in The Hague, Memorial Centre Kamp Westerbork and the Maastricht Treaty have received the Label previously.


For more information about the European Heritage Label, please contact Jacomine Hendrikse, Advisor Europe + Heritage.

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