Debate in The Netherlands about the new museum definition

ICOM is looking for a new museum definition. At the ICOM General Conference in Kyoto in 2019, the decision on this has been postponed. Om of the reasons was to have more 'bottom up' discussions from members about what a museum is and what it wants to be.

Process Museum Define Dec 20

At international level: ICOM Define

Internationally, the Standing Committee ICOM Define leads the discussion (formerly MDPP). In December 2020, this working group presented an eleven-step route to arrive at two or three proposals on which we will vote at the next General Conference in Prague in August 2022. Part of the steps consists of consulting the members and this will be done through all committees within ICOM. ICOM Netherlands will also involve its members and then submit concrete advice.

All information about the museum definition is made accessible to all members. On your ICOM Member Space, under the heading of Take part in the new definition of the museum, you will find all materials from ICOM Define, plus those from international and national committees.

Definition discussion in the Netherlands

ICOM Netherlands will also provide active input into the definition process at several points in time. We would also like to take advantage of this opportunity to enter more deeply into discussions in our own country about what a museum is or should/should be. After all, when do you get the chance to be so fundamentally involved with the basics of your profession? We stimulate this discussion as much as possible in cooperation with other players in the Dutch museum landscape.

Been there:

  • 29 January 2020, Heritage Arena Reinwardt Academy
  • 6 February 2020, Discussion session and networking drinks for ICOM Netherlands members at Catharijneconvent, Utrecht.

With three tantalising columns and quite a bit of discussion, a report in Dutch has been published. In addition, the individual contributions of all those present were incorporated into a compact and interesting analysis, which shows just how multifaceted the view of the Dutch members on this issue is.


In the course of 2021 we will consult the members on several occasions. In addition, we will tie in as much as possible with the activities of others or, for example, to provide further explanations.

Working group Museum definition ICOM Netherlands

See the fact sheet on this subject for background information and the actual time frame.


20190907 133534 klein    Congreszaal 2 groot