Press Release: First Aid for Cultural Heritage International training in the Netherlands to prepare for disaster

2014 Egyptian Heritage Rescue Team Bomb Blast Cairo Museum Of Islamic Art January

In a crisis situation, when there is a natural disaster or violent conflict, the Red Cross is on the scene to rescue and protect people. 

The Prince Claus Fund together with its partners, ICCROM (Rome, Italy), the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, USA) and the Netherlands Commission for Unesco, can also quickly respond, helping people rescue and protect their cultural heritage.

In this European Year for Cultural Heritage, an international course ‘First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis’ (FAC) will be organised to train professionals from all over the world in the protection of cultural heritage. The course, which will take place in Brabant, the Netherlands, from 6 to 24 August 2018, includes modules on prevention, safe evacuation, stabilisation and protection of cultural heritage at risk.

Twenty-four conservators, archaeologists and archivists will take part, as well as people involved in humanitarian assistance including aid coordinators and military officials. At the end of the course, trainees will apply their skills in a large-scale disaster simulation exercise on 22 August.

A multiplier effect

Since 2010, international FAC training courses have been given in Rome, Amsterdam and Washington DC. Trainees are urged to pass on their knowledge by organising local courses. So far more than 100 ‘cultural first aiders’ have been trained and officially certified in Serbia, Iraq, Egypt and Georgia. They form the core of a growing international network of professionals who are equipped to respond when a natural or manmade disaster threatens to destroy irreplaceable cultural heritage.


The 2018 FAC training has been organised by the Prince Claus Fund together with its partners, ICCROM, the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative, and the Netherlands Commission for Unesco, as well as local partners: the Province of North Brabant, Brabant Heritage, and the municipalities of Breda and ’s Hertogenbosch.

About the Prince Claus Fund

The Prince Claus Fund supports, connects and celebrates artists and cultural practitioners where cultural expression is under pressure, primarily in Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe. Through its Cultural Emergency Response programme, the Prince Claus Fund provides quick help to evacuate, stabilise or rescue cultural heritage that is under threat due to conflict situations or natural disasters.

Photo: Egyptian Heritage Rescue Team responds after bomb blast damaged Cairo’s Museum of Islamic Art, January 2014 © Egyptian Heritage Rescue Team


For more information, please contact

Martine Willekens, Prince Claus Fund PR Manager

[email protected] +31(0)653600431