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Shared past will help build common future – Dutch State Secretary tells Sri Lankan PM

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Dutch State Secretary for Culture and Media Gunay Uslu said Sri Lanka and the Netherlands have a shared past and it will help to build together a common future with close cooperation in the fields of museums, collection management, research and exchange of knowledge and expertise.

She said this when she called on Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the Temple trees today (Aug 29), the Prime Minister’s Media Division reported.

On august 28, the visiting state secretary and Cultural Minister Vidura Wickremanayake signed a Transfer Acknowledge Agreement to transfer valuable artefacts taken from Sri Lanka during the Dutch rule two and a half centuries ago. The objects include the famous cannon of freedom fighter Lewke Disawe, two gold kastanes (ceremonial sword), Sinhalese knives, silver kastane, and two guns.

The Prime Minister thanked the visiting state secretary Gunay Uslu for the transfer of artefacts and said the two countries should undertake collaboration on research on Dutch architecture, canal system, forts and other monuments for prosperity.

Referring to the cannon of Lewke Disawe, the Prime Minister said that he was happy that Sri Lanka will get back this valuable treasure and told the Dutch delegation that Lewke was a place close to his home town Sithawaka and the entire country pay homage to the National Hero Lewke Disawa.

Visiting state secretary Gunay Uslu said a grant will be extended by the Netherlands to will facilitate the work undertaken by the Ministry of Culture and the Department of National Museums to preserve the artefacts in a newly renovated chamber at the National Museum, it added.

She presented an ancient map of Ceylon by Baltus Jaquaez Van Lier drawn in 1751 to Prime Minister Gunawardena, according to the Prime Minister’s Media Division mentioned.

Ambassador of Netherlands Bonnie Horbach, Director General, Culture and Media in the Netherlands Barbera Wolfensberger, Chairperson, Dutch Colonial Collections Committee Lilian Gonçalves-Ho Kang You and Committee Member Dr. Alicia Schrikker, MP Yadamini Gunawardena and Secretary to the Prime Minister Anura Dissanayake were also present on this occasion.

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