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.

2023 Edition
European Heritage Days 2023 shine a light on “Living Heritage”: cultural traditions and skills

Living Heritage is the pan-European theme for the 2023 European Heritage Days. Tens of thousands of events taking place in 48 participating countries will showcase the vibrancy, diversity and significance of cultural traditions, knowledge, and skills in Europe.

Organised jointly by the Council of Europe and the European Commission since 1999, the European Heritage Days celebrate the wealth and diversity of European cultural heritage, while promoting dialogue, inclusion, and co-operation across borders.

Thousands of monuments and remarkable sites, often inaccessible to the public during the year, will open their doors to visitors till November. Cultural events, exhibitions, artistic performances, interactive workshops on traditional craftsmanship, lectures, and guided tours for people of all ages and backgrounds, all centred around the “Living Heritage” theme, will highlight the relevance and ongoing contribution of cultural traditions and skills to our societies.

“The European Heritage Days traditionally serve as a reminder of the value and importance of our shared cultural heritage, tangible and intangible aspects of our identity”, said Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić. “By embracing our diverse living heritage, we strengthen our sense of unity and enrich our collective understanding of Europe’s rich cultural tapestry. This year’s focus provides us with a sense of continuity, with a variety of skills, trades and professions enabling us to preserve a testimony to be safeguarded for future generations”.

 Press release
European Heritage Days 2023 shine a light on “Living Heritage”: cultural traditions and skills


European Heritage Days 2023 Strasbourg 1 September 2023
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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
  • 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
The permanent slogan of the EHD is: "Europe, a common heritage"
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