One of the aims of the European Year of Cultural Heritage is to integrate cultural heritage into environmental, architectural and planning policies. This initiative is promoting the transformation of Europe’s industrial, religious and military heritage for new uses. Through smart restoration and adaptive reuse, old buildings and sites can be given new leases of life to bring economic and social dynamism to cities and regions.

For whom? 

Local/regional authorities and communities, heritage professionals and architects.


The initiative has 3 components:

Component 1: Exchange of good practise

The initiative is showcasing examples where industrial, religious and military heritage has been successfully reused. Creative Europe-funded networks have organised conferences and events to share experiences and discuss challenges.

During the European Cultural Heritage Summit, held in June in Berlin, the European Commission organised a workshop on adaptive reuse and highlighted best practices from the EU Prizes for Cultural Heritage (Europa Nostra) and for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award.


• 9 March 2018
Shaping the Future – Urban Regeneration and Adaptive Reuse in Dublin, Ireland
• 25-26 April 2018
Preserve, Use and Develop: international conference on ecclesiastical heritage and its future challenges in Lund, Sweden
• 16-18 May 2018
European Heritage Heads Forum: Old sites and new functions – sharing our built heritage with the next generation in Luxemburg
• 20 June 2018
Workshop on adaptive reuse at the European Cultural Heritage Summit in Berlin, Germany
• 20 September 2018
Young Talent Architecture Award (YTAA) ceremony at the Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy
• 11-13 October 2018
FRH biennial conference "Religious Heritage - Europe's Legacy for the Future" in Paris, France
• 8-9 November 2018
EFFORTS Annual Congress: "From Stronghold to Sustainable Military Heritage" in Venice, Italy 
• 23 November 2018
Architects’ Council of Europe conference on "Adaptive Re-use and Transition of the Built Heritage" in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands

Component 2: Engagement

The European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH) launched Work it out!, a pan-European dance performance in industrial heritage sites. E-Faith is running a cross-border twinning campaign between associations while the Torch Initiative run by Future for Religious Heritage (FRH) is collecting personal stories related to religious heritage throughout Europe.


• 8 January 2018
Kick-off ceremony of FRH’s Torch initiative in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands
• 1 May 2018
Work it out! Dance event in ERIH sites across Europe
• 6 May 2018
Photowalk in Paris, France, in Asti, Italy, and in Middelburg, the Netherlands
• 24-27 May 2018
Europe's Private Heritage Week
• 8-29 September 2018
First European Fortress Day(s), taking place in 9 countries
• 21 September 2018
Ringing Bells throughout Europe to commemorate the International Day of Peace

• October 2018
E-Faith monthly activities dedicated to adaptive reuse
• 11 October 2018
Torch closing ceremony at FRH conference on religious heritage in Paris, France

Component 3: Urban/rural regeneration and sustainable development

The Urban Agenda for Europe foresees a new partnership in the area of culture and cultural heritage. The call launched in this context is an invitation to EU Member States, cities and other stakeholders to strengthen cooperation for livable and innovative cities in Europe, while focusing on their cultural heritage assets.

The findings of EU-funded regional cooperation and research projects promote the positive impact that adaptive reuse can have on the revival of neighbourhoods. Environmental issues are being addressed, and local and regional decision-makers are involved in discussions.


• May 2018
3 major EU projects funded by URBACT deliver their results on the reuse of vacant buildings or abandoned military spaces
• 15 July 2018
Partnership on culture and cultural heritage within the Urban Agenda for Europe – deadline for the call for interest for partnership members (cities, Member States, cities’ umbrella organisations)
• 9 October 2018
Workshop on quality in EU-funded heritage and architectural projects, European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels,  Belgium
• 14 November 2018
Partnership on culture and cultural heritage within the Urban Agenda for Europe- decision on the composition of the partnership

Throughout 2018
Implementation of Horizon 2020 projects on adaptive reuse such as the ROCK project (Cultural heritage leading urban futures) and CLIC (Circular models Leveraging Investments in Cultural heritage adaptive reuse)


  • Commission services dealing with culture, regional development, research and innovation
  • European Committee of Regions, Urban Group of the European Parliament; Eurocities
  • ICOMOS Committees: IcoFort (on military heritage), PRERICO (on places of religion and rituals)
  • Creative Europe networks: European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH), Future for Religious Heritage (FRH), Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE)
  • EU Prizes for Cultural Heritage (organiser: Europa Nostra) and Contemporary Architecture (organiser: Foundation Mies van der Rohe)
  • EFFORTS (European Federation of Fortified Sites); E-Faith (European Federation of Associations of Industrial and Technical Heritage)

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