True Bearing: January 2021

Start all over again in 2021

It is common to say that in 2021 we will start again what was unexpectedly put on hold  by the pandemic. This is going to happen in the economy, where governments and international organisations have launched and will reinforce programmes to stimulate investment, recovery and growth, but it will also have to happen in society in general, as we recover the “normal” or create a “new normal“.

What happened and what is still happening to maritime heritage due to the pandemic is far from being rigorously identified and measured. From the shutting down of activities affecting shipowners who use traditional boats and historic vessels in maritime tourism or for training and educational purposes to the closure of museums and the suspension of cultural projects, there are many negative repercussions of the health crisis that call for a broad alliance of all stakeholders for the rebuild in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Aware of those challenges, we wish you a year full of new projects and initiatives mainly focusing on bringing maritime heritage to the place it deserves on the European cultural heritage agenda. The EMH’s Activity Plan for 2021 has been designed with that strategic goal in mind – not because our members feel they deserve special attention in the broader cultural agenda, but because such an agenda needs to cover the material and immaterial assets related to maritime heritage in order to be comprehensive and sustainable.

As we start a new year, we renew our commitment to work on the five strategic routes that I presented to the EMH electoral assembly held on 12 October 2020 as the programme for the current term: (i) modernising and strengthening the organisation, (ii) joining forces with partners to preserve and hand-over the heritage we received, (iii) broadening the concept of maritime heritage, (iv) building a fairer and friendlier regulatory framework for the operation of traditional boats and historic vessels and, last but not least, (v) winning the minds and hearts of the Z generation, in view of “passing the baton on time”.

These are the objectives that will drive us throughout this year… and beyond! In 2021 we will breathe new life into Europe’s maritime heritage and, at EMH, we count on you.

João de Almeida

President of the EMH