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E siman aki Aruba ta anfitron di e Simposio ‘Connecting our Shared Heritage, linking our Dutch Caribbean Heritage Institutions and Collections’ cu ta focus riba e colaboracion digital den e mundo cultural. Presente tabata Su Excelencia Gobernador di Aruba, Sr. Alfonso Boekhoudt, Su Honorabel Presidente di Parlamento di mr. Edgar Vrolijk, Minister di Finansa y Cultura Sra. mr. Xiomara Maduro, Minister di Educacion y Deporte Sr. Endy Croes, Sr. Brewster Kahie, Digital Librarian, Founder Internet Archive, Sr. Eppo van Nispen tot Sevenaer, President, Netwerk Digitaal Erfgoed & Director Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Plataforma Coleccion Aruba, representantenan di Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Saba, Sint Eustatia y Hulanda. 


Minister di Finansa y Cultura a hiba palabra na e apertura di e Simposio. 

Siguientemente e discurso di Minister Maduro na tur e participantenan di e simposio:


It is my utmost pleasure to extend a warm welcome to each and every one of you, with special greetings to our international guests from our sister islands of the Dutch Caribbean, from the Kingdom of the Netherlands and beyond, as we gather today for the opening of the Symposium ‘Connecting our Shared Heritage, linking our Dutch Caribbean Heritage Institutions and Collections’ with a focus on collaboration in the digital cultural heritage field. 


Our aim of this Dutch Caribbean Digital Heritage Week is to convene stakeholders from the cultural heritage sector of the Dutch Caribbean and the Netherlands to discuss collaborative initiatives and to foster cooperation and coordination among heritage sectors across the Dutch Caribbean. 

As we gather here today, we embark on a journey towards a future where intersectional collaboration within the Dutch Kingdom can enable us to achieve our shared objectives through partnership.

In the rapidly evolving digital landscape of today, the preservation and promotion of our cultural heritage have assumed paramount importance. It is through collaborative efforts that we can harness the power of technology and innovation to safeguard our rich history and ensure its accessibility to all.

Partnership lies at the core of progress. By uniting and working together across disciplines, sectors, and borders, we can leverage our combined expertise and resources to effect meaningful change in the digital cultural heritage field. Collaboration, empowers us to dismantle silos, foster creativity, and amplify our collective impact.

In my capacity as the Minister of Finance and Culture of Aruba, I am steadfast in my commitment to supporting initiatives that promote collaboration and partnership in the digital cultural heritage sector.

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, the preservation and promotion of our cultural heritage has never been more important. It is through collaboration that we can harness the power of technology and innovation to safeguard our rich history and ensure that it is accessible to all.

Over the past two years, I have had the privilege of witnessing the development of such an initiative. Under the guidance of a committed team of our local professionals, I have observed how their dedication and resourcefulness led to the remarkable achievement of the intersectoral collaboration model ‘Coleccion Aruba.’

Thus, I am firm in my belief that by coming together and unified efforts, we can unlock new possibilities, inspire new ideas,  and create a more inclusive and sustainable future for our shared cultural heritage.

I urge each of you to seize this opportunity to connect, exchange knowledge, and forge new partnerships that will shape the future of our collective digital cultural heritage. Together, we can build a more resilient and vibrant cultural ecosystem that celebrates diversity, fosters creativity, and enriches the lives of individuals within the Kingdom and around the world.

Today marks an auspicious occasion as we announce the relaunch of our cultural heritage website, with a focus on enhancing usability and a user-centric design.

Our aim is to provide visitors with a seamless and engaging experience as they delve into our rich cultural history. 

The Coleccion Aruba team and the website developer have collaborated to implement new Features, like historical timelines, in-depth articles, and various other improvements, ensuring intuitive navigation and an enjoyable browsing experience for all users. From simplified menus to clear and concise content, every aspect has been tailored with the user in mind. 

By prioritizing online access, we aim to display the beauty and significance of our cultural heritage to a broader audience. Other areas have seen additions as well, like the Online Database for Enslaved People on Aruba. Through the creation of personal and family timelines, and the utilization of linked data to construct family trees, we are pioneering a new standard for inclusivity and innovation. We have made this database not only available in Papiamento (our local language) and in Dutch (the language of the colonial records), but also in English. 

This initiative allows our content to reach a global audience, fostering cross-cultural understanding, respect, and appreciation. The strategic use of linked data not only enhances visitor experiences, but also provides deeper insights and connections to our shared cultural legacy. These insights can also be utilized for educational purposes, enriching learning, and research opportunities. 


The Collection Aruba platform also serves as a source of inspiration and connects us together. The seamless accessibility to information, education, and investigation emphasizes its importance in facilitating learning experiences.

Since the platform started with the Papiamento version, it marks a significant milestone, rendering the platform an invaluable asset to our educational system. This significance is particularly pronounced now, as we have incorporated our maternal language into the curriculum of first-grade elementary schools. Research substantiates that a strong foundation in one’s native language not only enhances language acquisition but also fosters proficiency in other languages. Consequently, children are better equipped to learn other languages.

Moreover, this cultivates a sense of confidence in the learning journey while fostering a deeper connection with cultural heritage. Collection Aruba plays a pivotal role in this regard, offering a platform where learners can engage with content that resonates with their linguistic and cultural identity. In an era dominated by digital literacy, Collection Aruba emerges as an indispensable tool. Its integration into education aligns seamlessly with the technological skills of today’s youth, empowering them to leverage digital resources effectively from an early age.

This marks only the beginning, and I am eagerly looking forward to the future developments of our talented Coleccion Aruba team. 

As a Small Island Developing States (SIDS), we often encounter challenges such as limited funding, access to equipment, and specialized knowledge, which is colloquially referred to as “our Caribbean reality.” 

However, what we do not lack is creativity and resourcefulness, which are limitless in our communities. 

The Aruba Collection serves as a platform for sharing our cultural heritage and fostering cultural cooperation within the Kingdom and beyond.

I invite you to explore our revamped website and discover the stories and treasures that make our cultural heritage unique and valuable. 

I extend my sincere gratitude to the Internet Archive, Netwerk Digitaal Erfgoed and to the Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid, for their collaboration in making this Symposium and this Dutch Caribbean Digital Heritage Week a reality. Additionally, I want to express my sincere thanks to all the individuals worldwide for their invaluable testimonials and contributions to the video recordings. Furthermore, I express my heartfelt appreciation to the Organizing Committee of this Dutch Digital Heritage Week.


In conclusion I commend your dedication to this noble cause and am eagerly anticipating the enlightening discussions and ideas for collaboration that will transpire during this symposium. 

Let us unite in our efforts and work together to preserve our past, celebrate our present, and shape our future. 


Thank you for joining us on this exciting journey of rediscovery and celebration. May your discussions be fruitful, and may your bonds be strengthened as we collectively recognize the importance of our shared history and cultural heritage as a Kingdom. I extend my best wishes to each of you for a fulfilling week and enriching experience.


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