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Culture and Creativity

Funding opportunities for cultural heritage

cultural heritage funding

Several EU funding programmes support cultural heritage under the current Multiannual Financial Framework, the EU’s multiannual budget covering the period between 2014 and 2020.

Negotiations between Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament are on-going regarding the upcoming Multiannual Financial Framework for the years 2021-2027. Find up-to-date information on the Commission’s proposals: EU budget for the future.

The European Commission conducted a mapping exercise to help people understand and access  policies, programmes and activities on cultural heritage in the European Union.

Read the results of this exercise [pdf]

Open calls

Find open calls on the Funding and Tenders Portal.

Several European programmes support cultural heritage, showing how culture can be multifaceted and interlinked with several other sectors.

Creative Europe

The Creative Europe programme is the main source of EU funding for the culture sector. The programme supports policy work undertaken under the Council Work Plans for Culture. A new Creative Europe programme will support policy action in the field of culture as from 2021.

Find out more about the Creative Europe programme.

Find the calls in the Creative Europe programme.


The Erasmus+ programme (2014-2020) boosts skills and employability through education, training, youth, and sport. The main opportunities relevant to the cultural heritage sector are under Key Action 2 of the Erasmus+ Programme: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices.

These are in the following areas

  • strategic partnerships
  • capacity building in the field of higher education
  • capacity building projects in the field of youth
  • knowledge alliances
  • sector skills alliances

During the European Year of Cultural Heritage, Erasmus+ awarded close to €92 million to 965 cooperation and mobility projects dealing with cultural heritage.

Find out more about the results of Erasmus+ projects on cultural heritage on the Erasmus+ project results platform.

Find more Erasmus+ projects on cultural heritage and their results in the publication “Erasmus+: Enriching our cultural heritage”.

Horizon 2020

The EU supports cultural heritage research through its research programmes. Horizon 2020 is the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, with a current budget of €80 billion. The three pillars of the programme supporting heritage-related research are

  • Excellent Science
  • Industrial Leadership
  • Societal Challenges

Find out more about Horizon 2020 supporting research on culture and cultural heritage.

The next research and innovation framework programme will be Horizon Europe. The promotion of cultural heritage falls under Cluster 2 of pillar 2 “Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society”.

Research and Innovation activities in this Cluster will be oriented, among other objectives, to “improve protection, enhancement, conservation and more efficient restoration of European cultural heritage”.

Find out more about Horizon Europe and Cluster 2.

Europe for Citizens

The Europe for Citizens Programme contributes to citizens' understanding of the EU, its history and diversity. It also encourages people to take part in EU level democratic processes.

An important part of the programme focuses on remembrance: keeping the memories of the past alive so that we are able to move beyond that past and build the future. This effort is linked to cultural heritage and history.

Town-twinning projects also encompass activities related to cultural heritage, together with the promotion of civic participation and engagement at the EU level.

European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF)

The European Commission and Member States jointly manage the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). These funds invest in job creation as well as a sustainable and healthy European economy and environment.

The structural and investment funds focus on 5 main areas

  1. research and innovation
  2. digital technologies
  3. supporting the low-carbon economy
  4. sustainable management of natural resources
  5. small businesses

Member States can also use these funds to underpin culture and creativity in order to create jobs and growth.

Find out more about this policy theme.

Among the European Structural and Investment Funds that support cultural heritage, certain funds and initiatives play a crucial role in the support of cultural heritage.

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

Local and regional authorities in charge of protecting and promoting cultural heritage can benefit from significant support from the ERDF.

Around €4.7 billion are allocated under the ERDF to create local jobs at heritage sites and attract visitors to the specific cities and locations.

Find out more about these funding opportunities.

Find out about highlighted projects.

European Territorial Cooperation (Interreg)

Interreg area series of programmes aim at stimulating cooperation between regions in and outside of the EU. Cultural heritage is among the most popular topics.

Find out some examples of culture-related Interreg projects in the “Connecting Cultures, Connected Citizens” e-book published on the occasion of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.