The year aims to encourage young people to better understand and appreciate their cultural heritage, and through this appreciation, to participate and contribute meaningfully to society. Supporting creativity and talent is central to this objective. For example, young people can engage in projects where their skills can make a difference in protecting, safeguarding and promoting heritage. The year also aims to increase the access to cultural heritage, also by digital means.

For whom? 

Young people (between 15 and 29), the Erasmus+ generation, cultural heritage organisations and youth organisations.


The initiative consists of 4 components:

Component 1: A joint European Commission-UNESCO project: Empowering European youth through a “Young Heritage Experts Forum”

This project aims to raise young people’s awareness of the importance of heritage diversity, its conservation, enhancement and transmission. Young experts will be selected through an open call to develop up to 30 projects. A “Young Heritage Experts Forum” will take place, featuring hands-on activities that provide skills on heritage conservation and preservation.


• Second half of 2018
Open call for the selection of heritage experts
Implementation of projects led by young people
• End of 2018
UNESCO Young Heritage Experts Forum in Zadar, Croatia

Component 2: Youth volunteering for cultural heritage within the European Solidarity Corps

This component has 2 objectives:

  1. to inform young people about existing European opportunities for volunteering in the field of cultural heritage, particularly the European Solidarity Corps;
  2. to encourage cultural heritage organisations and sites to host more young people. Possible volunteering activities include acting as guides at heritage sites and museums, supporting professionals in conservation works, conducting digital training or becoming social media assistants in cultural heritage institutions.

Awareness-raising activities are being held throughout 2018, with a particular focus on the European Youth Event (EYE) organised by the European Parliament in Strasbourg in June 2018. Information on existing European volunteering schemes, such as the European Solidarity Corps, is being shared with key stakeholders. In the long term, the European Solidarity Corps will become a platform for steering young European cultural heritage volunteers.


• 7 December 2017
A young European Solidarity Corps volunteer testified about his experience in rehabilitating damaged cultural heritage in Norcia at the European Culture Forum (during the launch of the European Year of Cultural Heritage)
• 1-2 June 2018
Focus on youth volunteering at the European Youth Event (EYE) in Strasbourg, France
• 5 December 2018
Communication activities during the International Volunteer Day

Component 3: Jump on board to discover Europe’s cultural heritage: Discover EU

For the first time in 2018, the action "DiscoverEU" offered 18-year-olds the opportunity to discover Europe’s cultural heritage through free travel passes. Over 15,000 young Europeans received a pass to go to up to 4 countries, predominantly via train, to explore the diversity of Europe's heritage and even attend some of the events related to the European year.


• June 2018 
Open applications to participate to the DiscoverEU scheme
• July - October 2018
15,000 young people travelling across Europe
• December 2018
The European Commission organises an autumn application cycle distributing approximately 10,000 more passes

Component 4: Engaging with young people through social media

During the European Year of Culture Heritage many social media activities and competitions took place, e.g:

  • an Instagram photo competition aimed to encourage young users to capture Europe’s traditions during the festive season
  • a summer postcard challenge, inviting users to create original postcards juxtaposing different heritage sites, monuments and traditions
  • an activation to “fill Facebook with heritage”
  • EU Reporters for cultural heritage and #EuropeforCulture Instameets across EU Member States


• December 2017-January 2018
Instagram holiday photo competition
• August - September 2018
Summer postcards challenge
• September 2018
"Fill Facebook with heritage", launch of EU reporters and #EuropeforCulture Instameets


• Within the European Commission, services dealing with culture, youth, sport and communication
• European Youth Forum
• Erasmus Student Network and other Erasmus+ networks

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