Cultural heritage is a key component to the attractiveness of Europe. It provides its regions and cities with a strong basis to develop cultural tourism and attracting investment.
Putting Europe’s shared heritage at the heart of the European Green Deal is the goal of the European Cultural Heritage Green Paper launched on 22 March 2021 by Europa Nostra and ICOMOS and supported by the Institute and the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. This Paper illustrates how the Institute facilitates the transfer of know-how and experience between different partners and countries to safeguard European cultural heritage.
Cultural heritage contributes to maintaining a regional, national and European identity as Hermann Parzinger, Europa Nostra President, writes in his essay “Togetherness” published by the EIB in November 2020.
This is why the European commission chose 2018 to be the first European Year of Cultural Heritage and why, in January 2019, the EIB signed the Berlin Call to action “Cultural heritage for the future of Europe” to promote the “positive and cohesive power of our shared cultural heritage and values to connect Europe’s citizens and communities”.
Many reports highlight cultural heritage as a “significant creator of jobs across Europe” as well as an “important source of creativity and innovation”. As budgetary constraints in many parts of Europe continue, heritage conservation could benefit from access to new, additional funding sources, such as private sources, donations, lotteries etc.
Partnering with Europa Nostra
The Institute has been partnering with Europa Nostra under the 7 Most Endangered Programme (7ME) since 2013 to identify monuments and sites under acute danger of neglect or destruction. Europa Nostra is the main European NGO dedicated to protecting Europe’s endangered cultural sites and monuments with a large network of members and associated organisations from over 40 countries. This innovative cooperation mixes the cultural expertise and lobbying work of Europa Nostra with the technical appraisal and rescue planning skills of the EIB.
Both organisations regularly 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.
Conferences and workshops
The Institute organises and participates in conferences and workshops about cultural heritage such as Europa Nostra’s yearly European Cultural Heritage Summit, or in 2018 the European Foundation Centre annual general assembly, in Brussels, the “Cherishing Heritage” conference in Venice, the “Heritage for future” conference in Luxembourg, all in the framework of the European Year of Cultural Heritage.