Interreg IVA 2 Seas logo European
              Commission logo
"Investing in your future"
Crossborder cooperation programme
2007-2013 Part-financed by the European union
(European Regional Development Fund)

Heritage and Maritime memories in the 2 Seas region


HMS wants to establish a solid crossborder partnership, to jointly improve, develop and promote the common maritime heritage and shared history in the 2 Seas area. Together, these maritime heritage organisations from all four countries of the area wish to contribute to the growth and competitiveness of the 2 Seas area.

The 30 partners form a tight, diverse and complementary network of maritime heritage actors with a common crossborder identity, and range from local authorities, museums and attractions to small-sized organisations working with voluntary groups.

Partners will focus on ensuring physical access to maritime heritage, via conservation activities, but also providing accessibility and up-to-date visitor facilities. The interpretation of maritime heritage by diverse audiences will be addressed via attractive and multi-lingual information and guides. Partners will also raise awareness of maritime heritage by organising events such as crossborder maritime exhibitions or sea shanty festivals.


The HMS partnership

United Kingdom

Medway Council (Lead partner), Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, Gravesham Borough Council, Thanet District Council, LV21 – The Lightship Project, Canterbury City Council, Norfolk County Council


Provincie West-Vlaanderen, Stad Oostende, Stad Blankenberge, Gemeentebestuur Knokke-Heist, Gemeentebestuur Koksijde, Vzw Zeilschip Mercator, Openbare Vervoersmaatschappij De Lijn, Agentschap voor Maritieme Dienstverlening en Kust


Syndicat Mixte de la Côte d’Opale, Fédération Régionale pour la Culture et le Patrimoine Maritimes, Ville de Cayeux-sur-Mer, Association du Souvenir des Marins, Ville de Gravelines, SIVOM de l’Aa, Communauté urbaine de Dunkerque, Ville du Touquet Paris Plage, Mairie d’Etaples sur mer, Ville de Boulogne-sur-Mer, Musée Portuaire

The Netherlands

Zeeuws maritiem muZEEum, Gemeente Vlissingen, Gemeente Sluis


Our partnership has grown stronger through the project and lasting links have been established. Our common maritime heritage has been improved and developed and our common tourism product has been promoted.

1. Sustainable contacts have been established between partners:

Partners have had 4 main opportunities to meet and share expertise through presentations, sites visits and open thematical discussions during the 4 cross-border 2-day-long educational tours organised in each member state. An additional cross-border one-day meeting was organised for the whole partnership in France to receive training on the project website and other thematical cross-border events involved a selection of partners. Partners also learnt about each other via the project website and through the distribution of regular newsletters. A concrete sustainable partnership has started between the National Fishery Museum in Koksijde and the MuZEEum in Holland. The FRCPM in Calais will continue to put the 2 touring exhibitions at the disposal of the HMS partners in the same way that Boulogne will continue offering theirs. Musée Portuaire has strengthened their links with other museums in the 2 Seas area. Chatham Historic Dockyard will advise Blankenberge on a future lifeboat heritage project. LV21 is looking at Musée Portuaire s work on their exhibited lightship. Some partners have joined similar new partnerships within other Interreg programmes. More opportunities may flourish in the near future with partners interested in further developments.

2. The importance of the tourism offer within our cross-border region has been promoted:

This was done through multi-partner involvement at events such as maritime festivals including the use of the 2 Seas festival podium, and multi-site promotion like in Breskens, but also through the promotion of the HMS brand in all activities, with a direct link to the project website. The involvement of political representatives at some events has also strengthened the importance of tourism development in the economic agenda.

3. Innovative ways of interpreting heritage were successfully delivered:

Many sites developed virtual tours, systems using phone technology, interactive displays, and modern educational activities. Smaller associations like Association des Marins and LV21 were able to make a better judgement on the advantages and disadvantages of participating in a European project.

4. The project highlighted the positive effects of including an element of oral history to the interpretation of local heritage:

Our Coastal Lives initiative puts people to the fore, allows the heritage to come back to life, and makes people proud, both the participants and the descendants. Oral history provides a perfect balance to the usage of innovative technologies in that it adds a heart to the mind.

5. The 2 Seas area has become a more comprehensive and interesting heritage destination:

This was made possible through the cross-border delivery of the HMS project activities, The results as to whether it has become more thriving may come at a later stage beyond the project lifetime.

6. The 2 Seas area has become more attractive to investors:

Although we can confidently say that the delivery of the HMS project activities improved the attractiveness and interest of the sites developed and of the area in general, a concrete study of its effect on investment and visitor expenditure would require more time. The sites that completed developments earlier on have generally reported a rise in visitor number and/or satisfaction.

Activities Implemented

Activity 1:

Activity 2:

Activity 3:


Final Seminar presentations
Gianluca Ferreri - Towards Interreg V
Ernst Van Keulen - An audience orientated museum
Mariet Schoenmakers - Vlissingen back to the future
Thedo Fruithof - Maritime Festivals