What is it?
European Heritage sites are milestones in the creation of today’s Europe. To walk through one of these sites is to experience European values and civilization in the making.
These sites celebrate and symbolise European integration, ideals, values and history. They are carefully selected for their symbolic value, the role they have played in the European history and the activities they offer in order to bring the European Union and its citizens closer together.
What are the benefits?
Sites participating in the scheme will:
- be entitled to display the plaque bearing the logo of the European Heritage sites;
- enjoy greater visibility by being integrated into the EU's communication and promotion strategy and using the communication tools provided by the EU;
- be invited to attend the annual conference of site managers to exchange good practices;
- benefit from networking opportunities and exchanges of best-practice.
The scheme does not offer financial support but sites are free to apply for support from other relevant EU programmes.
Why visit a labelled site?
The world of cultural heritage can be a crowded field. Initiatives such as the UNESCO World Heritage List have carved out their own niches, so what sets the European Heritage label apart from the rest? There are three key differences:
- European Heritage sites bring to life the European narrative and the history behind it. They are about much more than just aesthetics.
- The focus is on the promotion of the European dimension of the sites and providing access to them. This includes organising a wide range of educational activities, especially for young people.
- European Heritage sites can be enjoyed singly or as part of a network. Visitors can get a real feel for the breadth and scale of what Europe has to offer and what it has achieved.
In a labelled site, there's always plenty to see and do; visitors can expect to find a range of exciting, engaging, and educational activities on offer. To find out more about the sites, please visit the Discover the sites section.
Where can I find out more about the sites?
More information about the sites awarded the EHL to date, as well as those currently under review can be found in the "Discover the sites" section, as well as on the websites of the selected sites.
How can sites apply?
More information on the application process is available in the "How to apply" section.
How did the scheme get started?
The EHL began as an initiative of several national governments to improve knowledge of European history, as well as the role and values of the EU.
In 2008 the European Commission began, at the invitation of the Council of Ministers, examining the possibility of adopting the scheme at an EU level. Following a proposal to the European Parliament and Council, the EHL was formally established in 2011.
The first selection of sites took place in 2013.