To be eligible, candidate sites must be situated in an EU country participating in the scheme (participation of the Member States is on a voluntary basis), have a symbolic European value and have played a significant role in the history and culture of Europe and/or the building of the Union.
All the Member States except Ireland, Finland, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom and Sweden have confirmed their participation in the European Heritage Label so far
They must demonstrate one or more of the following:
- a cross-border or pan-European nature: how their past and present influence and attraction go beyond the national borders of an EU country;
- a place and role in European history and European integration, and links with key European events, personalities or movements;
- a place and role in the development and promotion of the common values that underpin European integration.
'Sites' means (including contemporary heritage) :
- natural, underwater, archaeological, industrial or urban sites
- cultural landscapes
- places of remembrance
- cultural goods and objects and intangible heritage associated with a place.
In addition to "single" sites, the following categories are also eligible:
"National thematic sites" : several sites, located in the same Member State, which focus on one specific theme in order to submit a joint application.
"Transnational sites": several sites located in different Member States which focus on one specific theme in order to submit a joint application or one site located on the territory of at least two Member Sates.
Candidate sites must submit a project which must start before the end of the designation year, and include all of the following elements:
- raising awareness of the European significance of the site, in particular through appropriate information activities, signposting and staff training;
- organising educational activities, especially for young people, which increase the understanding of the common history of Europe and of its shared yet diverse heritage and which strengthen the sense of belonging to a common space;
- promoting multilingualism and facilitating access to the site by using several languages of the Union;
- taking part in the activities of networks of sites awarded the label in order to exchange experiences and initiate common projects;
- raising the profile and attractiveness of the site on a European scale, for example by using the possibilities offered by new technologies and digital and interactive means and by seeking synergies with other European initiatives.
Artistic and cultural activities on the site which foster the mobility of European culture professionals, artists and collections, stimulate intercultural dialogue and encourage links between heritage and contemporary creation and creativity are welcomed whenever the specific nature of the site allows it.
Candidate sites must also submit a work plan which includes all of the following elements:
- ensuring the sound management of the site, including defining objectives and indicators;
- ensuring the preservation of the site and its transmission to future generations in accordance with the relevant protection regimes;
- ensuring the quality of the reception facilities such as the historical presentation, visitors' information and signposting;
- ensuring access for the widest possible public, inter alia through site adaptations or staff training;
- according special attention to young people, in particular by granting them privileged access to the site;
promoting the site as a sustainable tourism destination;
- developing a coherent and comprehensive communication strategy highlighting the European significance of the site;
- ensuring that the management of the site is as environmentally friendly as possible.
If a site does not succeed in getting the label, it may reapply.
National thematic sites