The OVN Foundation has written a pressing letter (in Dutch: 'brandbrief', literally: 'burning letter') to representatives of the government and heritage sector in The Hague, alerting readers to the planned move of a world famous heritage collection from the city. This letter informs local officals about the plans of the Order of Freemasons under the Grand East of the Netherlands to move it's historical collections, currently housed in the Cultural Masonic Centre, to another city in the Netherlands.
The Order's internal committee advising the on the move, has most recently stated that Amsterdam and Utrecht are the only suitable locations for a new National Masonic Centre, in which the collection is to be housed along with administrative offices and lodge facilities. This would mean ripping the important historical collection from its cultural and historical context: the city of The Hague, where the collection has organically grown for 300 years. The collection is historically and physically totally intertwined with the city and functions as an integral part of its excellent academic and heritage infrastructure. A move would diminish the collection's cultural value as a whole, sever ties with related collections and research infrastructure, and would also spell a cultural distaster for the region itself.
The masonic lodges in The Hague, organized in the 'Regioconvent Groot-Den Haag', have indicated they wish to keep the collection in The Hague, but have so far failed to take decisive action. There are many excellent alternatives to house a new National Masonic Centre in The Hague, which have not been explored or considered by the Order's decision makers in this process. No advice has been sought from independent heritage experts in this matter. Lodge members from across the country (who are largely unfamiliar with the contents and history of the collection, unaware of it's context and ties with the Hague, and unfamiliar with the physical needs of a collection of national importance) will be asked to vote about the collection's future at the next yearly meeting.
The 'brandbrief' calls upon the local government and heritage sector to join efforts with the local lodges and come up with an alternative plan, which will convince the Order and its members at the upcomming yearly meeting that the collection should be allowed to remain in The Hague.