Letter N° 3 - May/June 2012

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Dear Routes managers and teams,


You are already aware that the cultural routes programme has entered a wide-reaching period of renewal and intense activity. The aim is to strengthen the Council of Europe’s cultural routes programme by guaranteeing the quality and relevance of our routes and promoting the Enlarged Partial Agreement (EPA) among Council of Europe member states and beyond. To do this, we are working on new ideas and tools for enhancing routes capacities and increasing synergies between all our stakeholders, from grass roots to governments and from the public to professionals in cultural tourism.


A lot has happened since my last letter, so please forgive the length!

Culture and the Council of Europe


At the end of last year, the Council of Europe’s activities were restructured into two Directorates General, the Directorate General of Human Rights and the Directorate General of Democracy which includes cultural activities. On April 2 a new Director General of Democracy, Snežana Samardžić-Marković, took up office in Strasbourg from her previous position as Minister for Youth and Sport of Serbia. Her very first visit as Director-General was to Luxembourg for the meeting of the Bureau on 11 April, where she expressed her strong support for the cultural routes programme.


The restructuring has also seen the merging of the two previous intergovernmental committees in the cultural field (CDCULT and CDPATEP), with the aim of enhancing cooperation and synergies while providing the greatest focus possible for the Organisation’s resources. Meeting for the first time in Strasbourg on 14-16 May, the representatives of the member states on the new Steering Committee on Culture, Heritage and Landscape (CDCPP) had the task of reviewing and approving the decisions taken by the EPA Governing Board on 12 April on the evaluation of cultural routes.

About the EPA

The Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes seeks to reinforce the potential of Cultural Routes for cultural co-operation, sustainable territorial development and social cohesion, with a particular focus on themes of symbolic importance for European unity, history, culture and values and the discovery of less well-known destinations.

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A programme of twenty-four cultural routes

The CDCPP confirmed the decisions concerning the 2011-2012 cycle as submitted by the Governing Board. Of the 25 evaluations made, 21 concerned existing routes and 4 the assessment of new proposals for routes. The Steering Committee confirmed the certification of 10 of the 21 routes evaluated and decided that 6 routes should be re-assessed in 2012-2013. It also decided that the certification of 7 routes should be withdrawn and agreed to the certification of 2 of the 4 new proposals submitted (decisions and some pictures of the meeting).


The Institute is committed to working closely with those routes which have lost the Council of Europe certification, in order for them to be able to re-apply in 2015 once the problems are solved. It will also work with those which have been given a year to ensure compliance. We look forward to welcoming to the programme the two new routes certified - the European Route of Ceramic Industrial Heritage and the Route of Casa Dei Sites - at our next events.

Thanks for inviting me!

On 14 April I spoke at the Annual General Meeting of the Via Francigena in Martigny, Switzerland, and had the pleasure of walking along a short part of the route, guided by the Swiss partners. On 2 May I attended the opening of a travelling exhibition on the German paths of Santiago de Compostela in Kaiserslautern, where I met many dedicated, enthusiastic and extremely knowledgeable pilgrims.


On 9 May I presented the cultural routes at a "European Infoday" for cultural projects in Santander, Cantabria (Spain), and from there travelled to Zabrze in Poland for an inspiring conference on "Towards innovative management of Industrial heritage sites for tourism", on 11 May. (more...

A firm partnership with the European Union

In addition to the Pavia event much of what we are carrying out now has been made possible by the current Joint Programme, following on from the study on the impact of routes on small and medium-sized industries, published online last year. As well as the project manager, Luca Bruschi, we have designated three experts to build the three main chapters of the programme: Eleonora Berti will coordinate the preparation of the manual for routes management and the network of universities on behalf of the Institute, Kseniya Khovanova-Rubicondo will be dealing with network governance and evaluation, and Nick Hall will create new tools for better communication, as well as guidelines for branding and marketing of our routes. The outcomes will be rolled out progressively over the coming months after the first presentation in Pavia. You can see the presentations on our website*.

* The European Union is pursuing its effective financial support for cultural routes projects, and has just published a new call for proposals, "Support to transnational thematic tourism products as means of enhancing competitiveness and sustainability of European tourism".

Pavia, crossroads of Europe


The Institute has just come back from Pavia, where on 7-9 June the European Commission held the first of a new concept of "Crossroads of Europe" conferences and mini-fairs on cultural routes. Four Council of Europe cultural routes were invited directly by the Commission as they cross Pavia: the Via Francigena, the Route of Saint Martin of Tours, the Cluny sites and the new route of Casa dei Sites. (more...

The first Council of Europe Cultural Routes Summer School

The EPA secretariat and the Institute are organising this extensive week-long training session at the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg on 3-7 September. The training targets all areas of routes management and will follow the chapters of a new "manual-in-progress" now being developed by our experts, which will be published for the start of 2013. Each route will be invited to name one participant, then any remaining places will be opened to new projects and members of networks. (more...

The Annual Advisory Forum in Colmar

Decidedly, Alsace is our favourite destination for the autumn! After the September training the annual forum will take place in Colmar, just half an hour away from Strasbourg. This will be another occasion for encounters with the Council of Europe, as Luxembourg’s Permanent Representation in Strasbourg has proposed to coordinate an exhibition of the cultural route panels in the Palais de l’Europe and a ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of the programme. (more...)

The next newsletter will be published in September in a new format. Until then I wish you all a relaxing and rewarding summer season!


Penelope Denu

Executive Secretary, Council of Europe Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes

Director, European Institute of Cultural Routes

©Council of Europe 2012 | Contact us