Initial project definition

Phase 1 (2021 – 2022): building partnerships and presenting first results, in both countries

The initial partnership: Museum Geelvinck, a national NGO established at Heerde, the Netherlands, and the Ravenshaw University, Department of History, at Cuttack, India. This partnership was based on their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), made and duly signed on the 27th of February 2020, and valid for at least three years.

The MoU is attached to this proposal as Annex I.

Phase 1 of the proposal is planned to be carried out for eight months, in 2021 – 2022. In course of phase 1, partners from both India and the Netherlands will join, to be included formally in Phase 2.


The point of departure for the project is the fact, as jointly underlined by Ravenshaw and Geelvinck, that in course of time, much information, physical as well as immaterial evidence, on our shared history was lost, forgotten, destroyed or otherwise disappeared. Therefore, this bilateral project intends to jointly re-discover, supplete, enrich, and present to the public, a specific period of history which India and the Netherlands shared, along with the material and immaterial heritage related to it. That is to say:

(a) To study, documents, and visualize the diplomatic and trade relations in the region of Odisha along the Indian East-coast in the 16th and 17th centuries, including the material and immaterial remains and the resulting cultural cross-fertilization.

(b) Successively, to ‘anchor’ the found knowledge and facts for the purpose of advancing consciousness on the shared history in a museum-cum-centre for documentation, research, and culture, located in one of the buildings remaining from the VOC-episode. This building should be restored and equipped to this end.

(c) To turn the forgotten past, in all its aspects – good and, in retrospect, deplorable ones – into a shared past, and a point of departure for a common future, to which researchers, students, tourists, artists and artisans have contributed.