Call for Applications: : Emergency Preparedness for Cultural Heritage under Threat


Deadline: 31 March 2020 at 17:00


When natural or human-induced disaster strikes, the damage to museums, archives, archaeological sites, libraries, and historical buildings is often enormous. When local resources and capacities for rescue are lacking, tangible heritage may even be lost forever. While disasters cannot always be predicted, damage to cultural heritage can be mitigated through emergency preparedness.

The Prince Claus Fund, through its Cultural Emergency Response (CER) programme, and the Gerda Henkel Foundation, through its Funding Initiative Patrimonies, support the protection and preservation of cultural heritage in crisis regions. Both Foundations have a history of preventing and minimizing the loss of cultural heritage. In 2019, they launched a joint Call for Emergency Preparedness for Cultural Heritage under Threat for the first time. Nine projects with a total amount of around 180,000 Euro were approved. Their scopes vary from fire preparedness for museums and buildings in Bhutan, India and Zimbabwe, to sustainable management plans of traditional techniques in case of flooding in Kenya, and the enhancement of disaster preparedness networks and plans for museums and sites in Jamaica and Suriname. For more information about the projects, please have a look at our press release on all initiatives supported in 2019

This second round of our joint Call for Applications aims to support the development and implementation of more preparatory measures for heritage buildings, collections, and sites to protect these in case a disaster occurs. We encourage organisations to enhance their emergency preparedness by implementing lessons learned during previous incidents. Special attention will be given to cross-sectoral collaborations strengthening networks, and the establishment of local structures for disaster preparedness and emergency response. The call also aims to step up both our Foundations’ efforts in the field, raise awareness about its importance and illustrate how preventive concepts can safeguard heritage. Cultural practitioners, institutions and local NGOs are encouraged to submit their ideas and plans for the protection of tangible cultural heritage under threat.


  • The project must aim to prepare for the protection of tangible cultural heritage in emergency situations caused by an acute, current or impending disaster.
  • The country in which the intervention is to take place must be in Africa, Asia, Latin America, or the Caribbean, and the applying organisation or individual must live and work in one of these regions.
  • The heritage involved must be significant for a specific community, whether local, regional, national, or global.
  • Local communities and/or local authorities must be involved in the emergency preparedness, and the legal owner must support the proposed measures.
  • The intervention must be able to be carried out within a time frame of twelve months.
  • Previous grantees of the Prince Claus Fund and of the Gerda Henkel Foundation can only apply for a new grant when the previously funded project is completely finished and closed before the deadline for submitting the current application.
  • The project could fulfil one or several of the following aims:
    • Damage and risk assessment: setting salvage priorities, digitization and inventorying
    • Disaster preparedness and the provision of supplies: storage, packing and evacuation
    • Improvement of security measures for museums, buildings, archives and sites
    • Management of crisis situations: risk evaluation, disaster management and evacuation plans
    • Training of professionals for cultural emergency situations
    • Strengthening of local networks working on heritage protection or advocating for its importance in other disaster preparedness structures (for example with civil protection services, humanitarian actors, etc.)
    • Adoption of best practice methods for cultural emergency response or the exchange of these methods and knowledge
    • Emergency documentation or excavation of cultural heritage sites under direct threat.

The following shall NOT be funded (among others)

  • Cases in which damages are caused by long term neglect.
  • Applications which focus on measures to stabilize heritage after a disaster that already occurred.
  • Projects that concentrate on intangible cultural heritage.
  • Projects that concentrate on natural heritage.

For projects related to the protection of cultural heritage in crisis situations that do not fit the criteria of this call, please see the respective websites of the Prince Claus Fund’s programme for Cultural Emergency Response (CER) and the Gerda Henkel Foundation’s Funding Initiative Patrimonies for endangered cultural heritage:

What expenses are eligible to be covered?

  • Grants will average about € 20,000.
  • Grant funds can only cover project-related expenses, not running (operating) costs for organisations.
  • No support will be provided retroactively (i.e. to projects already implemented).


The deadline for applications is 31 March 2020 at 17:00 CET. Applications received after the deadline cannot be considered. It is strongly recommended not to wait until the final deadline, but to apply as soon as possible to give us proper time to assess your statement of need.

To apply, please fill out the attached form for a statement of need and send it to in English, French, or Spanish. Applications that do not respect the formal preconditions of this form cannot be considered.

Applicants will receive an email confirmation once the statement of need has been received. The most promising applicants will be invited to submit detailed applications at the beginning of May 2020. The deadline for full applications will be set at the end of May 2020. Complete applications will receive final decisions by the end of November 2020, at the latest.

For more information: WEBSITE