Saba: still “Unspoiled Queen”
This month an article titled “Saba: still Unspoiled Queen” by dr. ir. Frans H. Brugman was published in the magazine of the Cultural Heritage organisation “Heemschut”.
Dr. Ir. Frans H. Brugman
Frans Brugman was a lecturer at the University of the Netherlands Antilles (1984-995) and CEO of NV Stadsherstel Willemstad (1995-2012). Mr. Robert (Bobby) Zagers of Public Works on Saba was one of his students.
For his promotion as Ph.D Frans Brugman made around the year 1990 a study on Saban cultural heritage.
He is currently a consultant at Bridge Consulting and member of the Committee of North Holland Heemschut. Frans Brugman pubiished in 1995 a book about the history of the cottages Saba, “The monuments of Saba. The Island of Saba, a Caribbean example “ was issued by The Walburg press and can be
ordered second-hand using various websites. He also wrote a chapter about the traditional architecture on Saba in the book “Saban Cottages, Watercolours by Heleen Cornet”.
In this article Frans Brugmans expresses – again – his concerns about the preservation of cultural heritage on Saba.
Heemschut is an NGO which has worked continuously since 1911 to preserve the Dutch cultural heritage. Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix is patronizing the organisation. ‘Heemschut’ derives from the words ‘schutten’ meaning to ‘enclose’ (i.e. protect) and ‘heem’, ‘one’s premises’. As a heritage organization their work involves protecting historically interesting structures and sites – everything from an endangered tea house to carved up land, for example alongside the motorways.
They carry out this work with the drive and dedication of volunteers. Each of the Dutch provinces and the city of Amsterdam has its own independent Heemschut committee. Its members follow environmental developments and make their voice heard when objects of historical and/or cultural importance are at stake. They prefer to do this in advance by making municipalities and provinces aware of the historio-cultural importance of our built and man-made heritage. On the basis of reports, they act to save worthwhile buildings and sites. This is vital because our country is still losing far too many.
The 5,500 members receive a copy of the magazine four times a year. Heemschut organizes public events on a regular basis. They also raise awareness by visiting some of the country’s monumental sites, many of which would not have survived without the intervention of private initiative. Though the management of our heritage is relatively well organized in the Netherlands, there are still many threats. The demands on our limited space are huge. Increasingly national policy is left to the municipalities. If we are not careful, laws and regulations are scrapped. Political arbitrariness poses a further risk. While some members of society are well able to preserve our heritage, others cannot wait to be rid of it…
Heemschut brings these concerns to the attention of ministers and members of parliament. They organize campaigns, lobby and consult. From the national office they keep abreast of government discussions. This is how they set about caring for all our monuments, listed and unlisted, all over the Netherlands. This is how we set about making a difference.
A translation in English can be downloaded at: www.sabaweb.nl/2014-06-EN-HEEMSCHUT.pdf
The original article (in Dutch) can be found at: 2014-06-HEEMSCHUT-ocr.pdf