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I am interested in discovering culture-rich destinations. Where do I start?

Cultural heritage shapes our identities and everyday lives. It surrounds us in Europe's towns and cities, natural landscapes and archaeological sites. It is not only found in literature, art, and objects, but also in the crafts we learned from our ancestors, the stories we tell our children, the food we enjoy with friends, and the films we watch and recognize ourselves in.

European Heritage Label

The European Heritage Label is a recognition awarded by the European Union to buildings, documents, museums, archives, monuments or events which are seen as milestones in the creation of the Europe of today. So far 38 sites have been awarded the label.

European Heritage sites are milestones of the Europe of today. Spanning from the dawn of civilization to Today's Europe, these sites celebrate and symbolize European ideals, values, history, and integration. Since 2013, these sites have been carefully selected for their symbolic value, the role they have played in the European history and activities they offer that bring the European Union and its citizens closer together.

European Capitals of Culture

The European Capitals of Culture are cities designated by the European Union for a period of one year during which they organize a series of cultural events with a European dimension.

The European Capitals of Culture initiative is designed to:

  • Highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe
  • Celebrate the cultural features Europeans share
  • Increase European citizens’ sense of belonging to a common cultural area
  • Foster the contribution of culture to the development of cities.

The initiative was developed in 1985 and has, to date, been awarded to more than 50 cities across the European Union. A brochure showcases successful projects in recent European capitals of culture in over 30 years. The European capitals of culture have become laboratories of strategic investment in culture, benefiting our economies and our societies as a whole.

The UNESCO Works Heritage List in Europe

The list of World Heritage Sites collects places listed by UNESCO for their special cultural or physical significance to all humanity. They are chosen and safeguarded under the terms of the 1972 UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, one of a series of international treaties for the protection of heritage.

With 453 World Heritage properties (Status July 2015), Europe as a region accounts for almost half of UNESCO’s World Heritage List. With 89 inscribed elements, the EU accounts for a quarter of Europe as a region accounts for almost half of UNESCO’s World Heritage List. With 89 inscribed elements, the EU accounts for a quarter of UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Heritage under threat in the EU

Armed conflict and war, earthquakes and other natural disasters, pollution, poaching, uncontrolled urbanization, and unchecked tourist development pose major problems to cultural heritage sites.

The 7 Most Endangered programmes aim to raise awareness of some of Europe’s hidden treasures that are in danger of being lost. It identifies endangered monuments and sites in Europe and mobilizes public and private partners on a local, national and European level to find a viable future for those sites. It was launched in January 2013 by Europa Nostra, the leading heritage organization in Europe with the European Investment Bank Institute as the founding partner, and the Council of Europe Development Bank as associated partner.

The programme is supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, as part of Europa Nostra’s networking project ‘Sharing Heritage – Sharing Values’ (2017-2020)’. Europa Nostra and the EIBI have recently announced the most threatened heritage sites in Europe for 2018. These gems of Europe’s cultural heritage are in grave danger, some due to neglect or inadequate development, others due to a lack of expertise or resources.

Europe's Digital Library

Europeana is the EU digital platform for cultural heritage. It works with thousands of European archives, libraries, and museums to share cultural heritage for enjoyment, education, and research.

Europeana Collections provides access to over 50 million digitized items – books, music, artworks and more – with sophisticated search and filter tools to help you find what you’re looking for. Europeana’s dedicated thematic collections on artfashionmusicphotography, and World War I contain galleriesblogs, and exhibitions to inform and inspire.

The Cultural and Creatives Cities Monitor

The Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor is a tool to promote mutual exchange and learning between cities to boost culture-led development. It monitors and assesses the performance of ‘Cultural and Creative Cities’ in Europe vis-à-vis oh their peers using both quantitative and qualitative data.

This first edition of the Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor released in 2017 shows how well 168 selected cities in 30 European countries perform on a range of measures describing the ‘Cultural Vibrancy’, the ‘Creative Economy’ and the ‘Enabling Environment’ of a city, using both quantitative and qualitative data. The Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor is designed to help national, regional and municipal policymakers identify local strengths and opportunities, and benchmark their cities against similar urban centres using both quantitative and qualitative data.

The  Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor 2017 report has been prepared by the Directorate-General Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in Ispra, Italy.

Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe

The  Culture Routes of the Council of Europe are routes recognized as significant throughout Europe by the Council of Europe through promoting shared culture, history, memory, and European integration.

The Cultural Routes are grass-roots networks promoting the principles which underlie human rights, cultural democracy, cultural diversity, mutual understanding, and exchanges across boundaries. They act as channels for intercultural dialogue and promote a better knowledge and understanding of European history.

In 2017, we count 31 Cultural Routes, with very different themes that illustrate European memory, history, and heritage and contribute to an interpretation of the diversity of present-day Europe.

Check the map and click on your country to know which routes pass through and explore the points of interest around them.

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