Mapping Russia: Heritage

An introduction to the shared past of Russia and the Netherlands.

Introduction
The historical ties between the Netherlands and the Russian Federation date back to the 16th century. Peter the Great is considered one of the key figures related to the Russian-Dutch heritage, however, the shared cultural heritage of both countries includes much more than his late 17th century legacy.

Over time the Russian Federation and the Netherlands have developed a strong and long-standing relationship, which is still maintained. The shared cultural heritage that resulted from the interaction between the Russians and the Dutch affected the social, cultural, religious, economic and political spheres. The interaction influenced both the tangible and intangible heritage of the Russian Federation and therefore is an integral part of the current relations between the two countries.

A bilateral year of friendship between the Netherlands and the Russian Federation took place in 2013. The coordination for the cultural programme was done by DutchCulture.

A Shared History of Russia and the Netherlands
Most people think that the first connection between the Russian Federation and the Netherlands stemmed from contact with Tsar Peter the Great at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries.

Peter the Great’s search for knowledge and expertise extended beyond his own borders into Europe, including the Dutch Republic, as the Netherlands was called at that time. However, the relations between the two countries go back even further. The countries engaged in trade on the Baltic; this trade, known as the Baltic Sea Connection, involved trading between the countries around the Baltic Sea, including Russia.

A more contemporary shared heritage connection at the beginning of the 20th century was with the city of Kemorovo, Russia. Part of this mining city was planned by a Dutch architect, Han van Loghem. Another important connection resulted from a marriage between the two royal families. Anna Pavlovna, one of the sisters of Tsar Alexander I, married Dutch crown prince Willem II on 21 February 1816. They reigned as King and Queen of the Netherlands from 1840 until Willem II’s death in 1849.