Cultural heritage, cornerstone of European construction

How can Europeans be brought to realise that their cultural heritage both unites and differentiates them, and that this heritage is a vehicle for mutual discovery and understanding?

To take up this triple challenge, the Council of Europe in 1991 launched the European Heritage Days [EHD], an initiative which in 1999 became a joint Council of Europe-European Commission action.

Throughout Europe during the weekends of September, the European Heritage Days opens up numerous sites and monuments, some normally closed to the public.

The 50 States party to the Council of Europe Cultural Convention will be actively involved in this initiative, and it is forecast that more than 30 000 sites and monuments participating in the event will have some 20 million visitors.

2016 Edition 2016 Edition

As custodians of local traditions, histories and values, Heritage Communities are the main pillar of local heritage conservation and revitalisation in the world of everyday living. Under the pan-European theme “Heritage and Communities,” the EHD events will bring together 50 European countries in shared celebration of citizens’ role in promoting and sharing common European heritage. Throughout Europe, more than 30 000 national and local events, many of them free, will celebrate Europe’s true treasure – its communities and the people behind places.

Specific theme Specific theme

Each year, national and regional events are organised around a special theme.

  • specific forms of heritage - musical instruments, culinary traditions, garden architecture,
  • specific periods in history - Medieval heritage, Baroque heritage
  • society's approaches to heritage - heritage and citizenship, heritage and youth

Aims of the Days Aims of the Days
  • raise the awareness of European citizens to the richness and cultural diversity of Europe;
  • create a climate in which the appreciation of the rich mosaic of European cultures is stimulated;
  • strengthen the feeling among Europeans of sharing the same identity;
  • counter racism and xenophobia and encourage greater tolerance in Europe and beyond the national borders.
Reference sites Reference sites
Did you know Did you know
The permanent slogan of the EHD is: "Europe, a common heritage"
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