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.

2022 Edition 2022 Edition
European Heritage Days Strasbourg 7 September 2022
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European Heritage Days 2022 shine a spotlight on “Sustainable Heritage”

Sustainable Heritage is the theme for the 2022 European Heritage Days: a focus on the active role of communities building a more sustainable and resilient future for European heritage, in the context of environmental changes and related risks. The European Heritage Days, a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Commission since 1999, are among the most widely celebrated interactive cultural events in Europe.

The pan-European nature of the programme brings those living in Europe together and draws on a European dimension of cultural heritage as enshrined in the European Cultural Convention. This year up to 50,000 events are aimed at recognising the value of a common European heritage and the need to preserve it for present and future generations.

A wide range of cultural activities (exhibitions, workshops, performances, guided tours) promoting sustainable heritage while respecting wildlife and biodiversity, will take place all over Europe in the coming weeks.

“Sustainable development is one of the priorities of the Council of Europe. Our Organisation has contributed to shaping a common legal environment in Europe for biodiversity, landscape management and spatial planning. Therefore, I welcome the European Heritage Days 2022 theme of sustainable heritage as a relevant opportunity to raise awareness of the fight against environmental degradation and climate change, developing a culture of sustainability to protect cultural diversity.”, said Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić.

Given the importance that historic buildings have in relation to local identity, this year’s events will focus on ways to safeguard heritage by preserving and restoring historic buildings using traditional techniques, skills and materials as part of socially and environmentally sustainable urban development.

“This year, we celebrate heritage through the lens of sustainability, which couldn’t be more relevant after the clear and dramatic signs of climate change our continent has endured this summer. The European Heritage Days are therefore a great opportunity to raise awareness on the environmental risks our shared heritage is facing and to take sustainable and responsible action to preserve it. Not only for ourselves and to preserve our cultural identities, but also to make sure we leave a legacy for the future generations” said Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.


 Press release
European Heritage Days 2022 shine a spotlight on “Sustainable Heritage”

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.
Did you know Did you know
The permanent slogan of the EHD is: "Europe, a common heritage"
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