The four visitors centres of the Colonies of Benevolence have received the European Heritage Label from the European Commission, along with nine other heritage sites which have played in important role in the history and culture of Europe, or in the creation of the European Union. The Netherlands and Belgium receive this shared label because of the transnational proposal by the countries.
The Colonies of Benevolence have been founded in the beginning of the 19th century to battle poverty through labour in agricultural colonies specially equipped for this purpose. More than 1 million Dutch and Belgians have ancestors who have lived and worked in the Colonies of Benevolence. The awarded locations especially focus on educational activities aimed at young people.
Currently a total of 48 heritage sites have an European Heritage Label. For Belgium this is the first designation. In the Netherlands, the Peace Palace in The Hague, Memorial Centre Kamp Westerbork and the Treaty of Maastricht have received the Label previously.