UNESCO Conference on Access to Underwater Cultural Heritage
Numerous underwater cultural heritage sites can be found in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, ranging from prehistoric submerged landscape sites to more modern sites as for instance the impressive remains of the sea battles of the first and second World Wars. While the sites are of highest scientific interest, a clear difference is still made in their appreciation and the attention given to them when compared to terrestrial sites. The reason lies mainly in the gap in the access to the sites, the possibilities to research them or simply to enjoy them.
Underwater cultural heritage holds however a high potential for sustainable development of coastal regions. Today tourism and recreation is a higher factor for employment in coastal regions than the fishing industry. 37 % of tourism is motivated by cultural heritage. Thus making submerged heritage accessible constitutes immense chances for valorizing it, for using its scientific and educational value and for making the local communities benefit.
A scientific colloquium is thus organized on 9 June 2016 to allow for the exchange of experiences, to motivate new regional initiatives and to inspire new ways to make underwater cultural heritage accessible.