Cultural heritage is about far more than ‘stones and bones’ from the past. It is a key component to the attractiveness of Europe and a key resource for our European identity, without which economic growth is meaningless. Cultural heritage has a cohesive power which connects European people and communities. It provides its regions and cities with a strong basis to develop cultural tourism, attract investment and create jobs.
It is one of the 11 standards by which investment projects are assessed for EIB financing, and many cultural heritage sites have been supported by the EIB either directly (in Venice or Barcelona) or through urban framework loans like in Valletta (Malta), Manchester, Wroclaw or Lille (France).
The Institute supports the EIB Group’s activities in the field of cultural heritage, facilitates the transfer of know-how and experience between different partners and countries to safeguard European cultural heritage and serves as a gateway between the world of cultural heritage and the EIB Group.
Partnering with Europa Nostra
This has been done since 2013 via our partnership with Europa Nostra, the largest and most representative heritage network in Europe, collaborating closely with the EU, the Council of Europe, UNESCO and other international bodies, notably under the 7 Most Endangered Programme (7ME), an innovative cooperation mixing the cultural expertise and lobbying work of Europa Nostra with the technical appraisal and rescue planning skills of the EIB.
Both organisations yearly select seven priority sites. EIB experts carry out on-site missions and produce technical reports on the viability and phasing of the project recuperation as well as on the funding options. Examples are the Mafra Palace carillons, (Portugal), Romania’s wooden churches, the Bourla Theater in Antwerp (Belgium), the Art Nouveau synagogue in Subotica (Serbia), the Colbert swing bridge in Dieppe (France), the Kampos of Chios, in Greece, the Buzludzha Monument (Bulgaria) and the Greek Orphanage in Prinkipo (Turkey).
The initiative increases both the visibility of the cultural importance of the sites and the credibility of the proposed restoration efforts helping to ensure their survival. In specific cases the renovation may also call for loans from the EIB and/or grants from EU structural funds. It enjoys a high degree of visibility in the European heritage world and covers all regions of Europe.
The selected sites are eligible for an EIB Heritage Grant of up to €10,000. The EIB Heritage Grant can be allocated as an assistance for an agreed activity aimed to ensure the saving of the threatened site. The first EIB Heritage Grant was attributed to Giardino Giusti in Verona.
The Institute contributes to the debate on cultural heritage “as a vector and not only a sector” of the European Green Deal through the European Cultural Heritage Green Paper (2021 – Europa Nostra, ICOMOS, the Institute and the Creative Europe programme); the EIB essay “Togetherness” (2020) written by Hermann Parzinger, Europa Nostra President; the signing of the the Berlin Call to action “Cultural heritage for the future of Europe following the first European Year of Cultural Heritage”; participation in the yearly European Cultural Heritage Summit, in the New European Bauhaus -where a new financial instrument was launched this year- and in the European cultural Heritage Alliance.
It supports Europa Nostra’s regional hubs in Athens, and Krakow established in strong partnerships with the municipalities of these cities.