Dutch slavery records and film collection added to world's memory

26th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

In Paris, UNESCO has announced that Dutch slavery records and a film collection are to be added to its Memory of the World Register. Among the latest additions is the EYE film institute's Desmet film collection. Film pioneer Jean Desmet was the first large film distributor and cinema owner in the Netherlands. The collection contains around 900 films from between 1907 - 1916. It includes unique early cinema productions, some of which had been thought to have been lost, as well as posters, advertising material and photos.

But it is not just films that have been added to the UNESCO list. The slavery administration of the Middelburg Commercial Company MCC is also considered a valuable piece of world heritage.

The MCC based in the Province of Zeeland was involved in the international slave trade in Europe and Africa and the West Indies. Between 1720 and 1889, MCC ships made 300 voyages, more than a third of them carried slaves.

The archive is unique because it is almost completely intact. It includes records on slave transport, log books, surgeons and doctors' journals.     The original manuscript of the book Multatuli by Dutch author Max Havelaar on the Dutch exploitation of coffee plantations in Indonesia was also nominated, but did not make it onto the heritage list. Today Max Havelaar is a fair trade hallmark in the Netherlands.

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