Non-governmental organisation, European Maritime Heritage (EMH), brings together representatives from countries across Europe who are working to protect maritime heritage – encouraging cooperation and knowledge sharing between regions and nations. The Maritime Heritage Trust (MHT) is the UK national representative and has played a key role in EMH for over 25 years. Thanks to restructuring and the involvement of MHT, European Maritime Heritage have recently announced a new charitable foundation, through which they will be able to give grants to maritime heritage projects.
At the recent EMH meeting in Hamburg, President David Morgan, confirmed that the charitable foundation had received the promise of a major sponsorship donation from an international cosmetics company. It is hoped that this donation will enable grants to begin later in 2020. In particular, the Foundation will support projects which tackle social disadvantage while preserving maritime heritage.
Thanks to these reforms and lower subscriptions, new members have joined EMH - Greece and Lithuania as national members, and Croatia as an advisory member. This is a real success - supporting countries where maritime heritage struggles to attract official support, many of which are in south and east Europe, is a core part of EMH's mission. These changes will benefit both potential and current members as a bigger network of organisations is invaluable in providing advice and assistance as well as financially; supporting EMH is where most of the Maritime Heritage Trust's annual income goes. National Historic Ships and the Dutch Barge Association have also joined as new UK Associate members
At the Hamburg meeting, EMH committed to support and more clearly define the concept of Heritage Harbours – originally pioneered in the Netherlands and Germany and now being looked at in the UK. This concept recognises the value of ageing or once-commercial harbours and in sensitively re-using and developing these facilities to benefit the local community and historic vessels. Also discussed was better recognition for intangible maritime heritage – the practices, skills and knowledge of a community for example, which require different approaches to preservation compared to tangible objects and places.
Other EMH work includes the all-important Safety Council – which watches and lobbies international bodies to ensure that rule changes do not stop our historic vessels from operating – and a revived Inland Waterways Council, important for any UK vessel seeking to use continental waterways.
Cooperation and working in partnership are important in approaching how maritime heritage is preserved throughout Europe and this is ever true in uncertain times.
EMH is vital to our future and we are there to speak for you!
More information on grant eligibility and how to apply will be shared as soon as it is available.