Maritime Cultural Heritage (MCH)

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Maritime Cultural Heritage (MCH) are cultural heritage formed by material and immaterial remains of seafaring and the use(s) of sea located on dry land and under water.

Definition by BalticRIM Project

Maritime cultural heritage is both tangible and intangible, and is associated with the connections people have with the sea and the resources originating from the different maritime communities in the past.

Maritime cultural heritage refers to the traces of people and the elements in the natural environment; the remains of the everyday lives of human beings living in interaction with nature constrained to maritime areas such as the coast, archipelago and open sea, and the elements, objects and places that are either terrestrial or partly or fully under water.

Maritime cultural heritage refers to both concrete traces of maritime cultural heritage in the landscape as well as skills and beliefs, habits and practices related to maritime issues passed from generation to generation and extended to different communities in order to present, construct and maintain their identities.

Maritime cultural heritage is associated with the settlement of coastal areas and archipelagos, seafaring and navigation, fishing and other hunting cultures by the sea, diving, and habits and beliefs related to maritime issues that connect humans to marine features and landscape, among others.[1]

Definition by Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands

The maritime heritage is all the heritage associated with water – all cultural remains, on and under the water and on land.[2]

Definition by Finnish Heritage Agency

The maritime heritage is widely conceived of all the built and archaeological traces of the environment that show the way people understand and use waterways in the past and now. Maritime cultural heritage is also a collection of materials collected and stored in archives, libraries and collections of museums that can be used to present and explore the past phenomena associated with the use of watercourses. Intangible values are also associated with the maritime cultural heritage.[3]

Definition by Project PERICLES

Cultural heritage (incl maritime and coastal cultural heritage) is a source of sense of place, unity and belonging. It connects people to each other and to the past and helps guide the future. Cultural heritage CH is both part of the landscape that informs a located socio-ecological system and at the same time a product of that socio-ecological system.[4]

The term “marine cultural heritage” (MCH) reflects the linkage between MSP and integrated coastal zone management (ICZM), as well as regional land planning and will be used overall as synonymous with UCH.[5]


Restaurant Knipan at Tammisaari, Finland. Also building are part of maritime cultural heritage. Copyright: S. Tikkanen.

Tankar FinlandMINI.jpg

A lighthouse at the Island of Tankar, Finland. Copyright: S.Tikkanen.

  1. Laura Seesmeri 2018
  2. date 28 May 2018, Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands
  3. Maritime Cultural Heritage Action Plan 2016 – 2020
  5. European MSP Platform