Within the framework of the Multual Cultural Heritage Policy 2009-2012, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs has released substantial funds for the project ‘The Ankobra Gold Route: Common Ghanaian-Dutch Historic and Cultural Heritage in Western Ghana ’.
Dr. Michel Doortmont, associate professor in International Relations and Africa Studies in the Faculty of Arts is co-applicant for the University of Groningen and the Atlantic World and the Dutch programme (AWAD). Partners in the project are the Italian development NGO Ricerca & Cooperazione (R&C), the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB), the Ghanaian Nationaal Archives (PRAAD), the University of Pavia (Italy) and the University of Ghana at Legon.
The project builds upon earlier cooperation between the partners in the field of mutual cultural heritage and heritage management in Ghana, going back to 1998. The project size is 344,000 euro, of which about 150,000 euro is funded by the Ministry. The length of the project is eighteen months. In the current political climate, in which the budget for culture is heavily cut back, the fact that this project was eventually funded may be called a pleasant surprise.
The project focusses on the identification and revitalization of several outstanding objects of multual cultural heritage of Ghana and the Netherlands in the Western Region of Ghana, more specifically the seventeenth-century forts of Elize Carthago and Ruychaver, bot on the Ankobra River, and the importance of these Dutch establishments for local Ghanaian history. The project has a scientific component, in which the history is charted through archaeological, historical, and anthropological research. A second component focusses on development issues, more specifically the social-economic and cultural development of the area, inter alia through sustainable tourism.
The project has three concrete goals: (1) The enhancement of our knowledge of the early Dutch-Ghanaian interaction in the hinterland of Ghana and the conservation of monumental and archaeological remains from that period. (2) The creation of a sustainable historical and cultural touristic route along the Ankobra River into the hinterland, which will link into the already existing ‘Ghanaian – Dutch Historical Path’ along the coast. (3) The promotion of an integrated development plan for the region, based on sustainable management of natural and cultural resources, in close cooperation with local communities.
The project does not have its own website yet, but the site www.ghanawestcoast.com gives a good impression of the region and the work to be done.
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