The foundation Cultural Heritage of the Caribbean and the Netherlands (CECN) researches the Dutch-Caribbean history. People with roots in Surinam and the Caribbean share a history with people whose roots are Dutch. CECN introduces the general public to that shared history. Examples of CECN’s research topics are the history of slavery, the Second World War in the West and the historical role of the Brothers of Tilburg. The foundation distributes its research results through publications, study packets, exhibitions, and activities.

The foundation of CECN
CECN emerged from the Commission Second World War (2004-2007). This commission was comprised of delegates from a number of Antillean, Aruban, and Surinam organisations from Tilburg, supported by the municipality of Tilburg, Tilburg University, the ‘Oranjevereniging,’ and CiST (which coordinates educational projects for schools).

By means of interviews and additional research, the commission has propagated the important role that the Caribbean and Surinam played in the war. Also, the accelerated changes that took place because of the war have been outlined. Within the space of a single year, exhibitions were held in seven different locations in Tilburg, study packets were produced, and a book was published on this forgotten history. In 2007, Liberation Day was celebrated in Tilburg in the company of official Surinamese, Antillean, and Aruban delegates.

Shared heritage
The commission’s work has made various of its members aware of the fact that a lot of work still has to be done in the field of our shared heritage. It also brought about the realisation that it could render information that might improve our outlook on society today. This increasingly nuanced view could entail a breakthrough with regard to identity and integration. CECN was founded to encourage this.

A number of projects
From 2008 until 2010 CECN has already brought about various projects:
1.    Workshop on the history of slavery. We have developed a study packet which can be used at all educational levels (primary education, secondary education, senior secondary vocational education, and higher professional education). For each of these school types a different format has been developed. The aim is to make young people acquainted with this material and to raise awareness. 
2.    Project Digitalising of the photographical archives of the Brothers of Tilburg. Until a few years back, the Brothers CMM were active in the Caribbean and in Surinam. They were a major player in the field of education and health care. The photo’s from the private collections of brothers that returned are kept in the congregational archives in Tilburg. These will be made available by us on the internet.
3.    The photographs of the Brothers of Tilburg stir up memories that according to CECN need to be secured on film. As a pilot project, three young people have had interview training and then interviewed ten elderly people from Surinam and the Antilles. Of these, a video was produced in cooperation with the Verhalis Foundation.

More about CECN > (information in Dutch only)