UNESCO & World War I | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research

UNESCO & World War I

UNESCO is organizing a scientific conference and a commemorative event for the 100 years  World War I remembrance in order to better protect the underwater cultural heritage of WWI and to commemorate the victims at sea. Starting form the beginning of 2014 all WWI underwater heritage will, progressively over the next 4 years, fall under the protection of the UNESCO 2001 Convention on the protection of the Underwater Heritage. UNESCO would like to draw the attention of the general public on the significance of this little-known WWI (underwater) heritage, given the importance of the conflict and the global political implications. UNESCO organizes - funded by the Flemish Government and in collaboration with the Association for the United Nations, the UNESCO platform, the province of West Flanders, the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) and the Flanders Heritage Agency – a scientific conference, an educational project and a remembrance day in Bruges, West-Flanders in Belgium. Worldwide on Saturday 28 June there will be organised a Dive for Peace Day and at 7 pm that day a memorial signal can be heard at many locations at sea.


The scientific conference on 26 and 27 June 2014 will bring together scientists, academics and relevant NGOs worldwide to discuss the threats to the marine/maritime history of WWI and WWI-underwater heritage. The conference will be held in English.

The memorial event on 28 June 2014 wants to supply to reconciliation and peace building through the launch of a number of initiatives on global memorial remembrance education, a 'Dive for Peace Day’ and an international sound signal by ships at sea.


Provinciaal Hof
Markt 3, 8000 Brugge, Belgium

Provisional agenda

Thursday, 26 June
10 am- Opening
11 am- Session I - World War I on Sea and the Historic Impact of the Naval War
1 pm- Sandwich lunch
2 pm- Session II - World War I Underwater Cultural Heritage
• The Vastness of the Heritage
• The Threats
• The Gap Research
• Improving Research & Inventorisation
6.30 pm- Cultural Visit

Friday, 27 June
9 am- Presentations of research initiatives and programmes
12 am- Session III - Towards a Research and Action Plan
• How to achieve Preservation and Understanding
• Underwater Heritage and Peace Education
• Making the Heritage and its History visible
1 pm- Sandwich lunch
2 pm- Working Groups and Debates
5.30 pm- Adoption of Declaration, Research and Action Plan
7 pm – Reception in Townhouse of Bruges

Saturday, 28 June
11 am– Cultural Visits in Bruges
Worldwide: Start of Dive for Peace Day
2 pm– Excursion to Significant coastal WWI Sites
7 pm- Bruges- Festive Reception
Worldwide: Remembrance Signaling at Sea
9.40 pm– Official Commemoration Event

More information

Take a look on the website of UNESCO Underwater Cultural Heritage for more information on how to participate in the conference and the public event. You will also find a lot of accessible information for young and old about underwater heritage and its protection.

Contact: Ulrike Guérin, 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (e-mail: u.guerin@unesco.org / tel.: +33-1-