The European Year of Cultural Heritage aims to promote debate, research and the exchange of good practices on the quality of conservation and of contemporary interventions on cultural heritage.

Interventions on cultural heritage are actions that impact, or have the potential to impact structures, places or sites of heritage interest, and could therefore cause physical changes or alterations.

The EU supports cultural heritage through several programmes, including the structural funds. But investments can also put heritage in danger, especially when, in attempting to give heritage a “second life”, issues of reconstruction and authenticity are not properly addressed. Such actions can wipe off centuries of history and cultural value.

This initiative aims to find the right balance between quality in conservation and safeguarding on the one hand, and dynamic approaches to restoration and maintenance, innovative reuse and enhancement of cultural heritage on the other.

For whom?

Policy makers, cultural heritage professionals, heritage organisations and civil society.


The initiative has 2 components:

Component 1: Research and sharing good practice

Building on the 1964 “Venice Charter”, which remains one of the most influential documents on conservation, an expert group coordinated by ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) is working in close collaboration with the European Commission to produce an updated document on quality principles and guidelines for cultural heritage interventions in Europe. This aims to ensure that decisions relating to any major changes to the historical environment are based on a proper assessment of its value.

A workshop of between 40 and 50 participants fed the work of the group with lessons from practical examples/cases of good and bad practices in interventions on heritage through EU funds.


• February-April 2018
Meetings of the expert group
• 29-30 May 2018
ICOMOS workshop in Paris, France

Component 2: Consultation and consensus building

The European Commission will consult a larger group of key stakeholders (including UNESCO, ICCROM, ICOM, Europa Nostra and other members of the EYCH Stakeholders' Committee) to build a broad consensus on key quality principles for interventions on cultural heritage.

The resulting document will guide future discussion on the use of EU funds for interventions on cultural heritage.
Links with other standards, including the work of the Technical Committee on European standards for cultural heritage CEN/TC346 of the European committee for standardisation, will be ensured.


• Summer 2018
Consultations and consensus building
• 20 June 2018
Discussion at the workshop on adaptive reuse at the European Cultural Heritage Summit in Berlin, Germany
• 22-23 November 2018
The final document, containing shared principles, discussed and validated at the conference in Venice, Italy


  • Within the European Commission, cross-sectoral collaboration between services in charge of culture, youth, sport, regional development, urban policy, research and innovation is in place
  • ICOMOS, UNESCO, ICCROM, ICOM , Europa Nostra and other members of the EYCH Stakeholders' Committee
  • CEN (European Committee for Standardisation)
  • European Heritage Heads Legal Forum

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