The Palmyra arch: Symbol of Peace and Resilience

Palmyra replicaAs a contribution to ongoing international efforts, the Centre for Global Heritage and Development and the Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA, Oxford University) organize an event called Heritage for Future. The core of this event is the majestic triumphal arch of the ancient city of Palmyra, which was destroyed in 2015 in the war in Syria.  The arch has been carefully reconstructed by IDA through a process of exact carving and is now an iconic piece of reconstructed cultural heritage symbolizing cultural resilience.                

Following earlier, highly successful events in London, Florence, Dubai, New York and Arona, the arch will now come to The Hague. The arch will be placed aside the Peace Palace in The Hague  to allow ordinary people – both Dutch citizens and Syrian refugees to touch it and engage with it.

The location, with a photogenic look through to the Peace palace,  has of course been carefully chosen. It strengthens the message the arch has to convey. Setting your eyes on the magnificent six meter tall arch is an emotional experience for anyone,  but for a Syrian person who has grown up visiting the arch during school trips and holidays standing in front of the gate evokes deep pride and nostalgia.

It’s also a story of continuity. Once, in the first centuries of our era, nearby Forum Hadriani (now municipality Leidschendam-Voorburg near The Hague) was part of the same empire as Palmyra: the Roman empire. The Peutinger map shows both locations on both ends of one map. While in some European countries gates are closing for migrants,  the Palmyra arch is an open gate, offering the opportunity to pass through and look to the future. The arch will now function as a meeting point for Syrian migrants/expats and the Dutch community. Matchmaking events in a tent next to the arch will stimulate encounter between Syrian workforce and employers, while a range of cultural events will offer the opportunity for anyone to experience the rich cultural heritage of Syria and the Middle East.

More information about the opening event

This project is part of the Heritage under Threat program from the Centre for Global Heritage and Development.  This research theme focuses on heritage and archaeology in situations of conflict, war and natural disaster and the problems facing the protection of heritage around the world. 


Organizer: Institute of Digital Archaeology, Centre for Global Heritage and Development, the Room of Listening

Sponsors: City The Hague, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Palmyra Old