22 May 2019

Chief Minister of Kerala (India) visits National Archives of the Netherlands

Visit to the National Archives of the Netherlands to discuss collaboration on preservation and digitisation of Dutch records in Kerala.

Handover of the Letter of Intent by the Chief Secretary of Kerala to the Director of the National Archives. From left to right: Mr. Venu Rajamony (Ambassador of India to the Netherlands), Mr. Vishwas Mehta (Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala), Mr. Tom Jose (Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala), H.E. Mr. Pinarayi Vijayan (Hon'ble Chief Minister of Kerala), Mr. Marens Engelhard (Director General National Archives of the Netherlands), Mr. Arjen Uijterlinde (Ambassador for International Cultural Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs) (photo: Embassy of India, the Hague).

On 10 May, Chief Minister of Kerala, Mr. Pinarayi Vijayan, who is on a European tour, visited the National Archives of the Netherlands (NAN). The Chief Minister held discussions with Mr. Marens Engelhard (Director NAN), about the collaboration between the NAN and the Government of Kerala on the preservation and digitisation of Dutch records in possession of the Kerala State Archives/Regional Archives Ernakulam in Kochi.

A letter of intent for preservation and digitising of the Dutch records was handed over to the Director by Tom Jose, Chief Secretary of the Kerala Government. Furthermore, documents from the collection of NAN pertaining to the Dutch presence in Kerala in the 17th and 18th centuries were shown to the delegates.

Malabar Coast

The Dutch East India Company (VOC) established numerous trading posts along the Southwest coast of India, called the Malabar Coast (roughly modern day Kerala). The headquarters of the VOC in Malabar was in Cochin (present-day Kochi). The collection of the Regional Archives Ernakulam comprises documents written in several South Indian and European languages, and it includes peace treaties, petitions and correspondence between local rulers and the VOC. 

Digitising for accessibility

The archives offer valuable insights into the Dutch presence in Southwest India and interaction between Dutchmen and the local population. The archives in Kochi are complementary to other archives that have already been digitised, like the VOC archives at NAN and the VOC collection of the Tamil Nadu Archives in Chennai.      

The Chief Minister also visited the Dutch Ministry for Infrastructure and Water Management, and held discussions on collaboration in the field of water and flood risk reduction management, coastal protection, transport and mobility.