CLOSED CALL Emergency Preparedness for Cultural Heritage under Threat

Bhutan The Wangduechhoeling Palace David Taggart

Please note: this call is now closed. The deadline for this Call was 31 March 2020.

For the second time, the Prince Claus Fund and the Gerda Henkel Foundation announce an Open Call for Proposals specifically aimed at Emergency Preparedness for Cultural Heritage under Threat. We invite cultural practitioners, institutions and local NGOs to present their ideas for Emergency Preparedness measures to protect tangible cultural heritage against acute danger and irreversible loss in case of disaster. We welcome applications from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

When natural or human-induced disaster strikes, the damage to museums, archives, archaeological sites, libraries, and historical buildings is often enormous. When local resources and capacities for rescue are lacking, tangible heritage may even be lost forever. While disasters cannot always be predicted, damage to cultural heritage can be mitigated through emergency preparedness.

The Prince Claus Fund, through its Cultural Emergency Response (CER) programme, and the Gerda Henkel Foundation, through its Funding Initiative Patrimonies, support the protection and preservation of cultural heritage in crisis regions. Both Foundations have a history of preventing and minimizing the loss of cultural heritage. In 2019, they launched a joint Call for Emergency Preparedness for Cultural Heritage under Threat for the first time. Nine projects with a total amount of around 180,000 Euro were approved. Their scopes vary from fire preparedness for museums and buildings in Bhutan, India and Zimbabwe, to sustainable management plans of traditional techniques in case of flooding in Kenya, and the enhancement of disaster preparedness networks and plans for museums and sites in Jamaica and Suriname. For more information about the projects, please have a look at our press release on all initiatives supported in 2019.

This second round of our joint Call for Applications aims to support the development and implementation of more preparatory measures for heritage buildings, collections, and sites to protect these in case a disaster occurs. We encourage organisations to enhance their emergency preparedness by implementing lessons learned during previous incidents. Special attention will be given to cross-sectoral collaborations strengthening networks, and the establishment of local structures for disaster preparedness and emergency response.The call also aims to step up both our Foundations’ efforts in the field, raise awareness about its importance and illustrate how preventive concepts can safeguard heritage. Cultural practitioners, institutions and local NGOs are encouraged to submit their ideas and plans for the protection of tangible cultural heritage under threat. 


Please find the criteria for eligibility, information on how to apply, and the application form in the attachments below. 

To apply, please fill out the application form below, and send it to [email protected]. Applications can be submitted in English, French or Spanish. 

The deadline for applications is 31 March 2020 at 17:00 CET

It is strongly recommended not to wait until the final deadline, but to apply as soon as possible to give us proper time to assess your statement of need. Please note that only applications filled out in the official application form, sent to the email address above and received before the deadline will be considered.

Applicants will receive an email confirmation once the statement of need has been received. The most promising applicants will be invited to submit detailed applications at the beginning of May 2020. The deadline for full applications will be set at the end of May 2020. Complete applications will receive final decisions by the end of November 2020, at the latest.

ABOUT THE GERDA HENKEL FOUNDATION: The Gerda Henkel Foundation was established in June 1976 by Lisa Maskell in memory of her mother Gerda Henkel as an incorporated foundation under civil law, headquartered in Düsseldorf. The Gerda Henkel Foundation concentrates its support on the historical humanities. In some of the programmes the Foundation furthermore addresses issues of great relevance to contemporary life and the future, above all as part of its special programme “Security, Society and the State”. As part of the Lisa Maskell Fellowship programme, the Foundation supports young scholars in the humanities in both Africa and Southeast Asia.

With its “Patrimonies” Funding Initiative it promotes the preservation of the cultural heritage, specifically in regions experiencing crisis. Research that places current challenging issues in a greater historical context form the focus of the “Democracy as Utopia, Experience and Threat” and “Lost Cities” funding programmes. In connection with funded projects, the Foundation also provides assistance for social support measures as part of complementary projects. The Gerda Henkel Foundation can by virtue of its statutes pursue its objectives both inside and outside Germany.

ABOUT THE PRINCE CLAUS FUND: Based on the principle that culture is a basic need, the Prince Claus Fund’s mission is to actively support, connect and celebrate artists and cultural practitioners where cultural expression is under pressure and to stand firm with those who create, who believe in the transformative power of culture, who advance new ideas and explore new perspectives.

Through its Cultural Emergency Response (CER) programme, the Fund provides rapid and effective emergency relief for cultural heritage affected by man-made or natural disasters. By taking immediate action, CER aims to prevent further damage and implement basic repairs. Launched in 2003 in reaction to the looting and demolition of artworks from the National Museum of Iraq, CER believes that rescuing cultural heritage provides hope and consolation to affected communities and thereby contributes to restoring human dignity, continuity and a sense of identity. Culture is a basic need and cultural emergency relief should therefore be an integral part of humanitarian aid.

Photo: The Wangduechhhoeling Palace (Bhutan), Northern facade showing the original entrance / Copyright: David Taggart.