Frequently asked questions

How did the scheme get started?

The EHL began as an initiative of several national governments to improve knowledge of European history and the role and values of the EU.

In 2008 the European Commission began, at the invitation of the Council of Ministers, examining the possibility of adopting the scheme at an EU level. Following a proposal to the European Parliament and Council, the European Heritage Label was formally established in 2011.

The first selection of sites took place in 2013 and the second in 2014. The selection for 2015 is ongoing.

Which countries are participating?

The following countries participate in the European Heritage Label:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia and Slovakia.

How are the sites selected?

Every two years, participating countries pre-select a maximum of two sites. Following this, an independent panel of experts who make up the jury at EU level may select a maximum of one site from each country.
The sites are assessed according to three main criteria:

  1. the symbolic European value of a site
  2. the quality of the project proposed to promote its European dimension
  3. the quality of the work plan

An example of a previous jury report can be found here: 2013 Panel Report

Who are the independent panel of experts?

These independent experts are:

  • Individuals with substantial experience and expertise in relevant fields
  • designated by the European Parliament, Council, and Commission, (four members each) as well as the Committee of the Regions (one member)
  • appointed for three years

Who are the sites that submitted a proposal but weren't designated as European Heritage Label?
You find the list of non-designated side in the yearly report published by the panel of expert. Check the 2013 report, the 2014 report or the 2015 report.

How can I visit a site?

The websites for each of the sites can be found in the Discover the Sites section. At a labelled site, there's always plenty to see and do; visitors can expect to find a range of exciting, engaging, and educational activities on offer.

What is the difference between the UNESCO World Heritage List and the European Heritage Label?

Whereas the UNESCO World Heritage List seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world, the European Heritage Label focuses on the European narrative and how the sites have contributed to the progress of European history and unity.

Photo: Shutterstock

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