Historical knowledge

The Serampore Initiative

The Serampore Initiative was founded by the National Museum of Denmark in 2008 with the purpose of documenting and preserving the physical cultural heritage from the Danish period in Serampore from 1755 to 1845. Furthermore, the Initiative aims at creating new knowledge and awareness of Serampore through research in, and communication of, the joint Indo-Danish history.

Vision

The Serampore Initiative wishes to contribute to the preservation of significant buildings and elements from the Danish period, and to create a positive development in the town, benefitting both the local population and visitors. We want to make it possible also in the future to experience the physical relics from Serampore’s history.
Through its research projects, the initiative intends to generate new knowledge of life in Serampore, both from historical and contemporary perspectives. The projects and results will raise awareness of Denmark’s colonial past in India. In a broader perspective, the Initiative will contribute to strengthening the cross-cultural collaboration between Denmark and India.

Purpose

The Serampore Initiative of the National Museum of Denmark has the following objectives:

  • Through research and documentation to create new knowledge about the history, development and cultural heritage of Serampore, and to make the content of existing Danish sources internationally available for researchers as well as for the government bodies responsible for preservation and urban development in Serampore.
  • Through construction and restoration work to secure a part of the world heritage for future generations and produce an improved living environment with historical and recreational spaces, beneficial for both the population of Serampore and its visitors.
  • To introduce the history, development and cultural heritage of Serampore to a historically interested audience in Denmark and India, including tourists.

Background

The physical cultural heritage in Serampore has previously not attracted much attention from neither Danish nor Indian side. Thus there is a fundamental need for registering, surveying and documenting the town’s history and remaining relics. This work was initiated with a pre-study in 2009, financed by Realdania and executed by historian Simon Rastén and architect Flemming Aalund from the Serampore Initiative of the National Museum of Denmark. The pre-study led to the report “Indo-Danish Heritage Buildings of Serampore”, which gives an introductory description of the most significant historical buildings in the town.

In 2012 the National Museum of Denmark entered into a larger partnership with Realdania to take up research and preservation and provide information in relation to Serampore. Additionally, the Initiative is supported by the Danish Ministry of Culture.

The Serampore Initiative is coordinated from the Ethnographic Collections at the National Museum of Denmark, Department of Research and Exhibitions. The activities and different stages of the projects can be followed on this page.

Contact

Project head

Bente Wolff

T. +45 4120 6202

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