European Heritage Days

A locally-led initiative which provides access to thousands of rarely opened sites and unique events to over 20 million people every year.

WHAT IS IT?

European Heritage Days provide access to thousands of rarely opened sites and unique events to over 20 million people every year.

During the European Heritage Days, doors are opened to thousands of monuments and sites (some of them normally closed to the public), allowing people to enjoy free visits, learn about their shared cultural heritage and become actively involved in the safeguarding of Europe's heritage for present and future generations.

The European Heritage Days is the most widely celebrated participatory cultural event in Europe. The Council of Europe launched the initiative in 1985, which became a joint action co-organised with the European Union in 1999.

WHAT DOES IT AIM TO DO?

The initiative is designed to:

  • raise awareness of Europe's cultural richness and diversity
  • stimulate interest in Europe's cultural heritage
  • counter racism and xenophobia and encourage greater tolerance for other cultures across Europe
  • inform the public and governments [or policymakers] about the need to protect cultural heritage 
  • invite Europe to respond to the social, political and economic challenges of the culture sector

WHERE AND WHEN DOES IT HAPPEN?

European Heritage Days take place in the 50 signatory countries to the European Cultural Convention every year in September. It is organised in close collaboration with national coordinators.

Within each country, a network of regional and local authorities, civic and private groups and thousands of volunteers are in charge of organising annual events. The events are organised around a special common theme. The participation of each country in the celebration of a pan-European theme is optional, and national or local adaptation of the theme is fully accepted. Countries which choose not to participate in the celebration of the common theme can organise events around a special theme of their choice.

WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE?

More information can be found on the European Heritage Days website.


Photo: Shutterstock