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New interactive Story Maps make Europe's cultural heritage more accessible

Cultural routes are among the interactive maps in the new JRC Story Maps tool
Jun 22 2018

On 22 June 2018, on the occasion of the first ever European Cultural Heritage Summit, the European Commission has released a set of interactive maps which will help to raise awareness of cultural heritage in Europe.

The Story Maps, developed by the JRC, inform in an easily accessible way about several initiatives across Europe linked to cultural heritage.

These include actions like the European Heritage Days, the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage or the European Heritage Label, funded by Creative Europe, the EU programme that supports the cultural and creative sectors.

The website also contains links to the digital collections of Europeana – the EU digital platform for cultural heritage.

This platform allows users to explore more than 50 million artworks, artefacts, books, videos and sounds from more than 3500 museums, galleries, libraries and archives across Europe.

These maps will be updated and developed, for example taking into account tips from young people exploring Europe's cultural heritage through the new DiscoverEU initiative. 

Speaking at the European Cultural Heritage Summit in Berlin today, Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the JRC, said: "Making cultural heritage more accessible to everyone is one of my main goals for the European Year.

The Story Maps will play an important role in this, offering valuable information in a user-friendly way.

The Joint Research Centre has already developed a number of tools that help us preserve cultural heritage, such as 3D scanning technologies that can be used to map heritage sites as well as smart materials for their reconstruction.

Now the interactive Story Maps will help open up opportunities for Europeans to explore our shared heritage and get involved in safeguarding it for the future."

European Cultural Heritage Summit

The online tool was launched by Commissioner Tibor Navracsics at the European Cultural Heritage Summit in Berlin today.

This Summit is one of the main events of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage and is attended by high-level representatives of EU Institutions, civil society organisations and Member States, including German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The Summit, co-hosted by Europa Nostra, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and the German Cultural Heritage Committee, is one of the key events of the European Year of Cultural Heritage taking place in Berlin from 18 to 24 June.

It will see the adoption of the "Berlin Call to Action - cultural heritage for the future of Europe”, which supports the idea of a European Action Plan on Cultural Heritage, announced by the Commission in the New Agenda for Culture proposed in May.

The Call to Action asks citizens, institutions and organisations to build on the momentum of the European Year, to recognise the positive and cohesive power of shared cultural heritage and values to connect Europe's citizens and communities and to give a deeper meaning to the entire European project.

European Year of Cultural Heritage

The purpose of the European Year of Cultural Heritage is to raise awareness of the social and economic importance of cultural heritage.

Thousands of initiatives and events across Europe give citizens opportunities to discover and engage with cultural heritage.

The aim is to reach out to the widest possible audience, in particular children and young people, local communities and people who are rarely in touch with culture, to promote a common sense of ownership.