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.

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Council of Europe Strasbourg 2 September 2021
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European Heritage Days 2021 celebrate “Heritage: All Inclusive!”

The 2021 #EuropeanHeritageDays will celebrate Inclusive and Diverse Heritage to encourage broad participation in culture, to foster and celebrate diversity, and to emphasise that interaction with individuals and communities with different cultural backgrounds can enrich our lives. Particular attention will be paid to making events more accessible, both in terms of removing physical barriers and of offering a platform to different groups, including vulnerable and marginalised people who often have less opportunity to share their stories.

“Creating shared experiences through culture and artistic expression is a powerful tool for strengthening social cohesion, respect for diversity and human rights for all. Democratic participation in culture is a key instrument in helping us achieve these aims. The European Heritage Days contribute to building bridges by celebrating the richness of European cultural heritage and they provide us with a valuable opportunity to explore and celebrate the mosaic of cultures from which Europe is built. Like freedom of expression, freedom of cultural expression is essential for creativity and a flourishing cultural life”, said Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

After a year marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the European Heritage Days will celebrate the re-opening of heritage sites and will offer everyone an opportunity to meet and share. A wide range of cultural events taking place mostly in September and October in participating countries will include exhibitions, workshops, performances, guided tours and many other activities. Breaking down barriers will be at the heart of the EHD 2021 season, from ensuring that events can be enjoyed by people with a sensory or physical disability, to linking inclusive heritage to railway heritage with a view to encouraging travel across regions and improving accessibility of EHD events for persons with reduced mobility in the context of the 2021 European Year of Rail.

Two European cross-frontier co-operation initiatives are also being implemented to promote inclusion and diversity. The project “Heritage, Women’s Legacy” led by Spain in partnership with France, Italy, Romania, Slovenia and England, aims to achieve greater equality between men and women and greater presence and visibility of women’s contributions to common European cultural heritage. Another initiative, “Our queer cultural heritage”, led by Scotland in collaboration with partners in Germany and Ukraine, contributes to furthering our understanding of the history of access and participation in the world of sports.

“Europe’s museums, archives, monuments and other sites featured by the European Heritage Days, give us much to share, cherish and safeguard. Advances in technology are opening up opportunities to digitise cultural heritage and it is now becoming a centre stage for its collection, preservation and celebration. The online availability of cultural content offered by EHD local events makes it possible for people throughout Europe to enjoy access to it for education, work or entertainment”, said Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.

 Press release
European Heritage Days 2021 celebrate “Heritage: All Inclusive!”

 European Heritage Days Portal

 Council of Europe: European Heritage Days

 European Commission: European Heritage Days  

 Twitter: @JEP_EHD #EuropeanHeritageDays #JEP2021

 Instagram: @europeanheritagedays #EuropeanHeritageDays


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Chaque année, des événements sont organisés autour d'un thème spécifique

  • formes particulières de patrimoine - fermes, instruments de musique, traditions culinaires, paysagisme jardinier
  • périodes précises de l'Histoire - patrimoine médiéval, patrimoine baroque
  • société - patrimoine et citoyenneté, patrimoine et jeunesse

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  • Faire prendre conscience aux citoyens européens de la richesse et de la diversité culturelle de l'Europe
  • Créer un climat permettant d'apprécier la vaste mosaïque des cultures européennes
  • Contribuer à renforcer le sentiment de partage d'une identité commune européenne
  • Réagir face au racisme et à la xénophobie et encourager une plus grande tolérance en Europe et au-delà des frontières nationales
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The permanent slogan of the EHD is: "Europe, a common heritage"
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