HMS Stands for “Heritage and maritime memories in the 2 seas region”. It is a cross-border cooperation between Nord/Pas-de-Calais in France, Sout-East England in the United Kingdom, West-Flanders in Belgium and Zeeland in the Netherlands. The main aim of the project is to establish a tight, layered and complementary cross-border partnership, in order to jointly improve, develop and promote our common maritime heritage and shared history. In other words, together we want to let the general public become acquainted with the maritime heritage in the 2 seas region. In order to achieve this aim, we have developed three types of activities to be undertaken.
Activity-block 1: Accessing Maritime Heritage
The first step in enjoying and exploring maritime heritage is about being able to physically access sites. Ensuring the conservation of maritime buildings, ships, lighthouses or museum objects via loi monuments historiques as well as providing accessibility and up-to-date visitor facilities are essential to a qualitative offer. This activity-block is coordinated by Medway Council.
Activity-block 2: Interpreting Maritime Heritage
For site owners it is essential to provide visitors with up to date and attractive interpretation: multilingual audio guides, educational activities, visitor guides and trails, the use of modern multimedia technologies; all aiming at improving the understanding of the Maritime Heritage for audiences from diverse backgrounds. The Province of West Flanders is in charge of this activity-block.
Activity-block 3: Highlighting Maritime Heritage
To raise awareness and to entice visitors and residents to go and discover the maritime heritage on offer several events such as cross-border maritime exhibitions, sea shanty festivals, etc. are being organised as part of the project. Syndicat Mixte de la Côte d’Opale supports this activity-block.
The project was approved under 3rd call of the Interreg IVA programme “2 Seas”, overall budget of the project is totalling 10.3 million Euros with a 4.8 million ERDF grant. The partnership consists of 30 partners in the UK, France, Belgium and The Netherlands.
The present project is the result of a former franco-british cooperation in INTERREG IIIA called "Maritime Heritage Trail". The network wanted to extend its geographic scale to include Belgium and the Netherlands. The lead partner of the project is Medway council, but because of the size of the partnership additional regional coordinators have been appointed. For France this is the SMCO, for the Netherlands the maritime museum muZEEum in Vlissingen and for Belgium this role is taken up by the province of West-Flanders.