Letter N° 5 - November 2012-March 2013

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2013 – Faster, higher, stronger!


There is nothing more inspiring than De Coubertin’s Olympic motto for our cultural routes programme, as we launch with energy into a second year of intense activity since the entry into force of the Council of Europe’s Enlarged Partial Agreement. 2012 ended with information meetings and visits to Lithuania and Sicily amongst others, and with the signature of the 3rd Council of Europe/European Commission Joint Programme in December. 2013 began with the accessions of Germany and Monaco to the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes (EPA) and with new prospects for co-operation with other international organisations (UNWTO, OECD). Between January and March Switzerland and Hungary joined the EPA and the first meeting of the routes chaired by their new representative was held in Brussels. On the agenda in the coming months are the European Commission’s 2nd “Crossroads of Europe” event (Toulouse, May 15-17), the 2nd Cultural Routes Summer Seminar (Sicily, 24-28 June), participation in Marseilles Cultural Capital events in October and many other initiatives organized by the Institute and the routes themselves.

2012 - Celebrating 25 years of Council of Europe cultural routes


Exhibition on the cultural routes in Strasbourg 21 November 2012

After attending the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Declaration of Santiago of Compostela on 23 October, the Council of Europe Secretary General opened the exhibition on cultural routes at the Palais de l’Europe. The exhibition attracted visits and positive feedback from representatives of the member states of the Enlarged Partial Agreement, routes representatives and staff of the Council of Europe alike. Berit Lanke of the Way of St Olav Route and Antonio Barone of the Phoenicians’ Route made speeches at the opening on behalf of the routes.


The Colmar Forum, 22-23 November 2012

The 25th anniversary edition of the Cultural Routes Advisory Forum was hosted by France. The Agence de Développement Touristique de Haute Alsace ensured the practical organisation of the event alongside the Institute. The 130 participants represented the 24 certified routes and new projects, member states of the Enlarged Partial Agreement, other international organisations (EU, UNESCO, UNWTO, OECD), NGOs, local and regional authorities, academics and professionals in the cultural tourism sector. (more...)


Information seminar in Vilnius, 5 December 2012

On 5 December the Institute was invited by the Ministry for Culture of Lithuania to present the routes programme, which we did in the company of several routes (Jewish Heritage, Iter Vitis, Thermal Towns). We hope to multiply this type of seminar in 2013, to promote the programme in member countries and raise awareness of the potential for development of networks in Europe’s regions. Later in December I travelled to Sicily for the opening of the “Iter Vitis Domus” wine culture unique appartment experience in Sambuca, and visited significant sites of the Phoenicians’ Route.

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. The Governing Board of EPA awards the certification "Council of Europe Cultural Route" and carries out regular evaluation of certified routes.

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2013 – Solid partnerships and new ventures

fiturMeetings with UNWTO and the Fitur tourism fair, 29 January-1 February, Madrid

At the UNWTO headquarters I met with Talib Rifai, Secretary General of UNWTO and with the directors of the organisation’s programmes on sustainable development, ethical tourism policies, tourism development and international relations. The Council of Europe will pursue this co-operation through joint work in the areas of sustainable tourism, training for cultural routes and development of indicators, and the programme will henceforth be round the table at several global meetings on cultural tourism during the year. At the Fitur tourism fair I spoke at presentations of the new website of the Spanish partners in the Jewish Heritage Route, developed with the help of Google, and of a “Tourbox” created by the Via Francigena, the St Olav Way and the Saint James Ways offering visits and stays along the three pilgrimage routes. In January and March I participated in the Annual general meetings of the Jewish Heritage route and the Mozart Ways.



First meeting of representatives of Council of Europe cultural routes, 28 March, Brussels

Ambassador Thorbjorn Froysnes, Director of the Council of Europe’s Brussels Office, welcomed representatives of 20 of the 24 certified routes on 28 March, for the first time under the chairmanship of their representative, Antonio Barone (Phoenicians’ route), elected at the Colmar Forum. The first half-day session was devoted to presentations of new activities – cooperation with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), proposals for mapping and web development by Google and planned work on indicators for sustainable tourism with the European Commission and the NECSTouR network. During the afternoon session the routes discussed the organisation of their work together and new procedures for representation.


Conclusions of the 2012-2013 evaluation cycle


7 certified routes and 3 new projects were evaluated between October 2012 and February 2013, when the Bureau of the EPA met to examine reports by independent experts and conclusions of the Institute with a view to making recommendations to the Governing Board at its 12 April meeting. New projects will present their routes before the Governing Board, which will also be the occasion for an exchange of views with the representative of the routes, decisions on the 2013 and 2014 advisory forums and a presentation of a new guide to cultural routes in Austria. The representatives of member states specialized ministries will discuss action to be taken in view of the end of the pilot phase of the EPA in December 2013.


The Institute’s involvement in European projects

In the framework of the CERTESS – Cultural European Routes: Transfer Experiences Share Solutions, a Workshop on “Innovations for European Cultural Routes” was held on 3 and 4 December 2012 at Leopoldskron Castle, Salzburg, organized by the Salzburg Research Institute. It dealt with current trends and innovative methods to convey European heritage. The 3rd project Steering Committee meeting took place on 7 February in the Council of Europe’s offices in Brussels: a good opportunity for all participants to get to know its activities better.  (more...)


Penelope Denu

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

Director, European Institute of Cultural Routes

2nd Cultural routes summer seminar

24-28 June, Selinunte, Sicily


Again in the framework of cooperation with the European Commission, as part of the Third Joint Programme on Cultural Routes, the Council of Europe’s Cultural Routes Summer Seminar will take place during the last week in June. (more...)


2nd European Commission "Crossroads of Europe" event

15-17 May, Toulouse, France

After Pavia Italy, in June 2012, the Commission is organizing this year’s meeting in Toulouse, on the theme of “Cultural routes between local development and European identity”. The 11 cultural routes present in the region will be participating directly in the event, and as last year the Institute will contribute with a seminar and different presentations.


Meeting of cultural routes in the Greater Region

12-13 September, Luxembourg

The European Institute of Cultural Routes will be organizing a workshop bringing together the certified routes and projects present in the Region, aiming to create synergies and launch new ideas for regional and transnational initiatives among the various local stakeholders. The Saint James Way, the Route of Saint Martin of Tours, the Wenzel and Vauban (fortified citadels) route and others will be invited to participate in the meeting.


Cultural routes and Roma culture

30-31 October, Marseille, France

As part of the Marseille Cultural Capital activities, the Council of Europe will be co-organising a public conference and a seminar on the influence of Roma heritage and culture in European history and identity. Cultural routes with a Roma culture dimension will be invited to participate, and the partners of the Roma Route project which ended in 2012 will come together to explore possibilities for future cooperation.

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