Europa Nostra
8 - 29 May 2020
Dear Collegues & Friends,
In this edition of our Agora weekly update, we wish to pay a much-deserved tribute to Europe’s “heritage heroes” who strive for excellence day in, day out, to protect, enhance and guarantee access to our shared cultural heritage. In these turbulent times, Europe’s heritage champions, through their relentless commitment and through the power of their example, are a true inspiration for us all. For this reason, today we wish to recognise, celebrate and share with you Europe’s heritage success stories!
We are delighted to extend a special welcome in our Agora to one of the 2020 winners of our European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards: Christian Greco, Director of the Museo Egizio of Turin, whose Turin Papyrus Online Platform received an Award in the research category for their remarkable digitisation achievements. In his inspiring message, Christian Greco reminds us of the extraordinary efforts that heritage organisations have made, and continue to make, to respond - in the best possible way - to the current crisis: "How can we bring collections and material culture nearer to our visitors? This is what we have been doing during this COVID crisis. We try, in many different ways, to allow the public to discover and moreover, not forget the material culture that we host here. We tried in many ways - through social networks, through our online platforms and website - to be near to the people who are suffering or who are just stuck at home because of the lockdown" (watch his video message here).
Even behind closed doors, the work of the Museo Egizio goes on, offering manifold online activities and providing digital access to a heritage that belongs to humanity. We invite you to explore the rich collections of the Museum through Museo Egizio at home, including the Award-winner Turin Papyrus Online Platform.
We would also like to invite you to discover all the 21 winners of this year’s Awards and to support your favourite project with your vote to determine this year’s Public Choice Award winner. The Public Choice Award winner will be revealed in autumn 2020. The online vote is open until 1 September 2020. Vote for your preferred project here, and don’t forget to spread the word!
Moreover, on 28 May, together with the European Commission and as proud partners of the ILUCIDARE Consortium, we have announced the 6 shortlisted projects of the 2020 and very first edition of the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes selected within our European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards. Funded by the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Union, these Special Prizes recognise outstanding examples of heritage-led innovation and heritage-led international relations. We warmly congratulate the 6 shortlisted projects for their remarkable work and for having joined, through their pre-selection, the recently-created ILUCIDARE community, as well as our Awards’ long-standing network of excellence. What do a print and paper heritage museum in Estonia, an archeology programme for school students in Italy and Syria and a conservation project incorporating modern design and material in the Netherlands all have in common? Discover it through the ILUCIDARE Press release and by watching this video. The winners of the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes 2020 will be announced in a special ceremony in autumn 2020.
As stated in our Europe Day Manifesto ‘Cultural Heritage: a powerful catalyst for the future of Europe’, issued on 9 May by Members of the European Heritage Alliance, we are truly impressed by the exceptional efforts made by culture and heritage actors to keep people’s spirits up during the pandemic, including among others by sharing access to an extraordinarily rich offer of cultural content. As we gradually move towards the lifting of restrictions and the re-opening of museums, cultural organisations and heritage sites, it is now time to look forward and beyond Europe’s lockdown. What kind of society and economy do we want and dream of in the aftermath of the pandemic? How do we plan to restart our lives, both individually and collectively, in post-pandemic Europe? At Europa Nostra, we deeply believe that we must seize the current crisis to put culture and cultural heritage where they belong: at the very heart of Europe’s revival. And we are not alone: in less than a month, our Europe Day Manifesto has been signed and endorsed by over 500 people from all across Europe and beyond. We are truly thankful to the first 500 signatories and we warmly invite others to join our movement, adding their names to this impressive list. The Europe Day Manifesto is already available in 6 different languages (English, Dutch, French, German, Spanish and Polish) and further language versions will be soon available.

We count on your valuable support to show that cultural heritage matters for Europe, and that Europe matters for the heritage world. We invite you to sign now: Together, our voice will become more powerful and influential. This is especially important at the time when the European Commission has presented a visionary and audacious proposal for the EU's recovery plan, entitled ‘Europe's moment: Repair and prepare for the next generation, which duly includes the wider world of culture. We must make sure that cultural heritage is fully recognised as a powerful catalyst and invaluable resource for the “green, digital and resilient Europe of the future”. Therefore, we shall continue to advocate, together, for a “European Deal for Cultural Heritage”, to be incorporated across many policy areas and priorities, as a major cultural, social, economic and green contribution to the Next Generation of Our Europe.
We wish you an inspiring and enriching journey through our Digital Agora and related online platform! Please, share your contributions for inclusion in our next editions with Manon Richard (
On behalf of the Europa Nostra Agora Team,
Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović
Secretary General
Rubens House, Belgium - The conservation of 400-year-old garden structures, designed by the great painter-humanist Peter Paul Rubens at his home in Antwerp, is among the winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards for 2020, recognising the great amount of research and skill involved to protect this iconic and vulnerable stonework. These structures are a part of the Rubens House museum, the palazzo that Rubens lived with his family, where museum visitors can dive into the life and creative world of this brilliant and versatile artist. The museum has also been very active, during the forced lock down, offering:
However the museum has opened its doors again welcoming everyone to their premises, always following the right safety measures. 
Iron Bridge, UK - The world's first bridge constructed of iron and a symbol of the Industrial Revolution, was erected over the River Severn in Shropshire in 1779. Facing many challenges since its completion while it withstood a 19th-century earthquake, the bridge underwent a major conservation between 2017-2018 led by English Heritage, caring for more than 400 historic buildings, monuments and sites in the UK. The careful and respectful conservation process that amplified the significance of this industrial heritage landmark, in addition to the involvement of more people in its care, ensuring its legacy both now and in the future, were elements of excellence recognised by the Heritage Awards Jury that honoured this project with a European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award for 2020. Visit the English Heritage website to learn more about the conservation project, the history of the bridge and discover 7 fun facts you didn't know! Make sure to follow English Heritage on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) for more stories that bring the history of England back to life, like the #Dunkirk1940 series, celebrating the 80th anniversary of Operation Dynamo, the evacuation from Dunkirk with video narratives and an online history lesson part of the #HistoryAtHome video series. 
Tramontana Network III, France / Italy / Poland / Portugal / Spain - An in-depth study of the intangible heritage of rural and mountain communities in Europe aiming to safeguard and revitalise this heritage through its documentation and wider dissemination was also among the award winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2020. Explore the digital archives of the Tramonta Network III and learn more about the mountainous traditions, the arts and crafts of these communities and meet the people behind them. Get also inspired for more creative ways to spend your time while staying at home. Experiment creating with your own hands a whistle out of clay resembling a bird following the insightful tutorial available at this page, a tradition of village Castelli, in Italy, well-known all over the world for its fine ceramic production.
Auschwitz Exhibition, Spain / Poland - The “Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away.” museum exhibition developed by Musealia is a remarkable effort to heal the trauma of a horrible chapter of European history that is still part of the living memory of many of Europe’s and the world’s citizens. Until today, the lack of knowledge and indeed the denial of the Holocaust is increasingly common against the backdrop of an alarming rise in nationalism, xenophobia, antisemitism, racism and hatred. Thanks to this exhibition, awarded with the European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award in 2020, visitors will learn about the complicated history of the largest German Nazi concentration and extermination camp – Auschwitz-Birkenau – as well as how and why the Holocaust happened. Learn more about how this exhibition was designed through this very informative video. Now hosted in New York at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, the exhibition is temporarily closed in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. However, you can benefit from following it on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) for a chronicle of the events of the war day by day illustrated with scarce archive material.
2020 EU Prize for Literature - The winners of the 2020 European Union Prize for Literature (EUPL) have been announced on 19 May by Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. 13 emerging authors from across Europe were honoured with this distinction. In her statement regarding the announcement of the 2020 the Mariya Gabriel noted “In the current crisis we rely more than ever on artists and authors to help us cope with the isolation of confinement. Reading is a powerful way to feel strong emotions, be transported to a different universe in time and space, and meet new characters, all while staying at home. Congratulations to all this year’s winners of the European Prize for Literature!.” Discover the laureates here.
#everynamecounts: Arolsen Archives, Germany - Join the #everynamecounts campaign on social media launched by Arolsen Archives and contribute to the building of a unique digital monument in honour of the victims of Nazi persecution following 4 simple steps within 5 minutes. The Arolsen Archives are an international centre for the study of Nazi persecution which houses the world’s most comprehensive archive on the victims and survivors of Nazism. Its collections are listed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register and they are a unique body of evidence on the fate of over 17.5 million people. Since the launch of the digital platform one year ago in May 2019, users can access 13 million documents online and search some 3 million names. This ambitious long-term digitisation project of the Arolsen Archives was a winner of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2020.
European Historic Houses: Facebook Live Visits - European historic houses are a fascinating record of architecture, art and mastery representing their manifold cultural dimensions and the diversity of our regions and countries through different periods of European history. The protector of these European gems, the European Historic Houses Association has launched, in these times of home-isolation, a new initiative to keep us connected to our culture and cultural heritage. Every Saturday at 18:00 CET the association offers a virtual tour in captivating European private estates through their Facebook page. This Saturday is the third round of virtual tours, in which the Rumene Manor in Latvia, Palazzo Marigliano in Italy and Torre de Murga in Spain will be under the spotlight. The European Historic Houses is an umbrella association covering 24 national associations of privately-owned historic houses with an aim to raise awareness and advocate at a European level about private cultural heritage. Follow European Historic Houses on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for a quick explanation of each heritage site that will be presented during the live.
#RESILIENTHERITAGECITIES - The Organisation of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) is inviting us to a virtual joint action to mobilise our network towards a common cause: showing the uniqueness and similarities of our cities and the resilience they are demonstrating in this challenging period. Did you have the chance to experience your city and heritage sites as empty as they are now, appreciate their beauty and capture that moment? Then share on your own social media platforms videos or pictures that you took of your empty urban landscapes and heritage sites, enabling others to continue enjoying the beauty and significance of your world heritage sites from their home. Do not forget to tag in your posts OWHC and use #ResilientHeritageCities! More information here. Have also a rare glimpse at the empty city of Paris through a collection of photographs published by The New York Times here.
Industrial Heritage in the COVID-19 aftermath, Facebook video-conference - The “Industrial Heritage in the COVID-19 aftermath” community on Facebook has launched on 16 May 2020 a new initiative welcoming each day industrial heritage experts from different countries to discuss the consequences of Covid19 through industrial heritage lenses, each expert for his/her country in a form of a testimonial. The ongoing initiative has already resulted in 15 video-conferences that have been published on the Industrial Heritage community Facebook page. We particularly recommend you watching the testimonials of:
  • Dora Chatzi Rodopoulou (Greece) on the challenges of advocating in favour of the industrial heritage the last four decades in Greece (17 May);
  • Adriaan Linters (Belgium), member of the Board of Directors of the Flemish Association for Industrial Archaeology, on the important role of hundreds of associations and volunteers in highlighting the unique value of industrial heritage sites and fighting for their preservation (19 May);
  • Miguel Alvarez (Spain) on what these historic times can teach to face future challenges (May 27). 
COVID-19 Statistics, Eurostat - Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, has produced and shares a wide range of statistics and data related to the impact of COVID-19 in Europe. In the section “COVID-19: Statistics Serving Europe” you can find statistical information covering a range of topics related to the economy, society and work, population and health as well as agriculture, energy, transport and tourism. The idea behind this dedicated section is to create a baseline against which the impact of the crisis can be measured, provide the wider background or help us to see the evolution of the crisis. For a better data visualisation, follow @eu_eurostat on Instagram and learn more on:
IMPORTANT: Do not forget to join & contribute to our conversation on social media with the hashtag #EuropaNostraAgora on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook! We also invite you to follow the just-launched Twitter account of the European Heritage Alliance!
"Cultural Heritage in Crisis" - In November 2019 the Symposium "Cultural Heritage in Crisis. Cultural Heritage Research at European Level – Challenges in Times of Climate Change and Digitalization" of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. in cooperation with Villa Vigoni, a German-Italian Centre for the European Dialogue, and supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), took place at Villa Vigoni, a complex of 19th-century villas with their historical gardens at Lake Como. The aim of the Symposium was to discuss and further develop concepts with the goal of protecting cultural heritage from the effects of climate change. The results of the Symposium "Cultural Heritage in Crisis" are now available online while an eBook will follow shortly. Read online or download the conference volume here.
Summer School LDE Museums and the SDG's - The Centre for Global Heritage and Development is organising this August a summer school on "Museums and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals". Due to COVID-19 measures the summer school will only be open for 13 participants. This interactive and inter-disciplinary course is a unique opportunity to gain insight into the revolution that is taking place in the museum world concerning sustainability and becoming future proof while there will be plenty of opportunity to meet and discuss with experts. The registration is now open and you will be able to submit your application until 1 July! The summer school will take place on 24-27 August in the cities of Leiden and Rotterdam in The Netherlands. Find more information here. The Centre for Global Heritage and Development is a research center, result of the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus universities collaboration, focused on cultural heritage and international sustainable development. One of the latest research projects that was coordinated by the Centre, “Scanning for Syria” is among the 21 European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards winners for 2020. The project stood out for safeguarding valuable archaeological information, making it accessible to both scholars and non-scholars, including migrant populations of Syrian descent, and for using innovative methods for heritage preservation.
3D digital Cultural Heritage online conference - Watch again or catch the opportunity to see for the first time the “European web conference on the value and use of 3D digital cultural heritage for resilience, recovery and sustainability”. The crisis has clearly showcased the vast potential for the digital transformation of the cultural and cultural heritage world. Digital 3D technologies can be an effective solution for keeping our cultural heritage virtually accessible to citizens. These issues and many others were addressed during the web conference that was live-streamed on Wednesday 27 May. The we-conference is still available on YouTube for those who missed it.
Best in Heritage Annual Conference - The Best in Heritage annual conference, in partnership with the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and Europa Nostra, and with the support of the Creative Europe programme of the EU, is going digital in 2020! Considering this year’s special challenges and dedicated to delivering an annual overview of best practices in museums, heritage and conservation, the Best in Heritage will offer insights into the award-winning achievements and share these further with the professional and civil society heritage community by:
  • producing a series of forty-two interviews with representatives of award-winning achievements from the past year on their YouTube channel over the next months;
  • releasing the keynote talks by the representatives of two “Projects of Influence” for 2019;
  • publishing the yearly conference publication in digital format available online;
  • including this year's edition contents on their website.
Europa Nostra and its Secretary General, Sneška Quaedvlieg - Mihailović, in her new capacity as co-chair of the Board of Stakeholders of Best in Heritage, continue to be a proud partner of this important initiative, alongside ICOM.
WEBINAR: The “Contactless” Future - The webinar “Contactless” Future: Reimagining the Visitor Experience in the Era of Coronavirus” organised by Cuseum on 27 May has addressed the emerging issues of the “visitor experience” and what the “contactless” future in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis may hold for museums and heritage sites. In what it seems now to be the far past, visiting a museum was often an interactive, tactile, and social experience, involving many person-to-person interactions. But now, from exchanges at the admissions and membership desks to interactions with fellow patrons and special experiences involving touch screens or hands-on activities, the visitor experience may be drastically changed, as museums prepare to reopen in an era of social distancing. The webinar is now available online for those who missed it.
Possible Future(s) of Creative Economies in post-COVID-19 Europe - Trans Europe Halles, a network of grassroots cultural centres with members in 36 European countries, together with CUMEDIAE, their partner from the DISCE Consortium, are organising a webinar series of 2 episodes on the current and immediate state of creative economies in the context of COVID-19 crisis. The first webinar on “Mapping CCIs and Working Conditions of Creative and Cultural Workforce in the EU: Before, During and After the COVID-19” took place on 28 May. The second webinar on “Business and Revenue Models in the Creative Economies and Policies for Managing Cultural Ecology: Before, During and After the COVID-19” will take place on 4 June. Book you place here. Read more here.
European Commission - On 27 May, the European Commission published its proposal for the EU's recovery plan, entitled ‘Europe's moment: Repair and prepare for the next generation’. In this document, the Commission proposes a €750 billion recovery instrument, Next Generation EU, embedded within the long-term EU budget. The proposal is built around three pillars: 1) support to Member States for investment and reforms; 2) kick-starting the EU economy by incentivising private investment; and 3) learning the lessons of the crisis. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “The recovery plan turns the immense challenge we face into an opportunity, not only by supporting the recovery but also by investing in our future. (...) This is Europe's moment. Our willingness to act must live up to the challenges we are all facing. With Next Generation EU we are providing an ambitious answer.”’ Read the press release hereEuropa Nostra, together with other members of the European Heritage Alliance, is carefully examining this historic proposal and will make sure that cultural heritage-related activities are duly covered by a wide range of EU programmes and funding opportunities.
Museums in the face of COVID-19, UNESCO Report - A report on museums around the world in the Face of COVID-19 published by UNESCO is now available online. The report is a result of an international survey targeting museums, culture professionals and Member States. Presenting a first evaluation of the impact of COVID-19 across the museum sector, the report sheds new light on the key trends of the world’s museums, their reaction in the face of the crisis, their capacity for resilience, and the challenges of accessing culture. According to Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO “This report not only provides a better understanding of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on museum institutions and the challenges they will face following the health crisis, but also explores the ways to support museums in the aftermath of the crisis (...).There is an urgent need to strengthen policies that support this sector, which plays an essential role in our societies for the dissemination of culture, education, social cohesion and support to the creative economy”. Read more here.
City Dialogue on Culture, Eurocities - Read the highlights from “City dialogue on culture - Cities respond to the Covid crisis” meeting that took place on 14 May, organised by Eurocities. 90 representatives from 68 European cities met online to discuss common challenges related to the COVID-19 crisis, exchange on cultural measures in response to the crisis and share lessons learnt so far. The highlights include conclusions on why culture needs to be part of crisis response; how do cultural and creative sectors contribute to local economies; and how we are stronger together as many cities have joined forces during this period to counter the effects of the crisis. You can watch the full meeting here.
Contribute to #ESACHBOOK2020 - The European Students Association for Cultural Heritage (ESACH) with the support of the Portuguese publisher MAZU PRESS is preparing a book on the “Advances in interdisciplinary cultural heritage studies”. All students and researchers in the cultural heritage field at the early stages of their careers (post-PhD included) are invited to submit chapter proposals and contribute to the co-writing of the book. The submission deadline is 27th July 2020. Find out more information here.
European Investment Bank - The European Investment Bank approved on 15 May a new financing support package of € 3.4 billion to reinforce companies most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic giving priority to public health projects, alongside energy, transport, water and education projects across Europe and around the world (more information). In addition, the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group will also provide €1.7 billion to support the social and economic recovery of the Western Balkans from the COVID-19 pandemic. This is part of the €3.3 billion financial support package for the region announced on 29 April by the European Commission and follows the Team Europe efforts to support the Western Balkans (more information). “The economic damage caused by the COVID-19 crisis is becoming more and more evident. The EIB has moved quickly to provide finance for regions and companies most hit by the pandemic, while continuing long-term investment into research and development, renewable energy and sustainable growth.”, stated Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank. Europa Nostra will liaise with our partner, the European Investment Bank, to ensure that cultural heritage projects which contribute to sustainable and green transformation of Europe’s society and economy are also taken into consideration for the allocation of funds within this impressive support package.
National Institute for Heritage, Romania - The National Institute for Heritage in Romania is calling for projects funded by the Stamp of Historical Monuments (session May-June 2020). A total funding of 3,000,000 lei is available for projects that fall into the two main themes of the current call, namely: 1) emergency interventions (2,000,000 lei) and 2) preparation of technical and economic documentation for restoration of historical monuments (1,000,000 lei). The deadline for participation in the current funding session is June 20 2020 at 20:00, and the application process will take place exclusively online. More details on the selection process, the evaluation criteria of the proposals, as well as the complete set of documents required for the submission of project proposals are available here.
Heritage Emergency Fund, UK - The Heritage Emergency Fund is now welcoming applications for larger grants to cover emergency costs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. The new level of Heritage Emergency Fund grants are worth £50,000-£250,000 and are in addition to the existing £3,000-£50,000 Heritage Emergency Fund grants which were launched in mid-April as the crisis began to unfold. Ros Kerslake, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, has stated “The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has particularly damaging effect on the heritage sector, just as many attractions would be welcoming paying visitors from home and overseas. We are continuing to listen to heritage organisations and adapt our response to their needs, which is why we have brought in this higher level of funding.” Read more information here.
local.history INTERNATIONAL 2020: Call for applications - The EVZ Foundation supports local and regional active history initiatives from Central and Eastern Europe through projects aimed at re-examining and remembering the period of National Socialism and the Second World War. The new call for applications is welcoming projects with thematic references depending on their country / region which can examine places, people, and events from National Socialist history. The project formats are open-ended: podcast, graphic novel, theatre, exhibition, music and other art forms, events, workshops, summer school, etc. The chosen format should match with the project’s objectives and contribute to shaping local cultures of remembrance. Find out more here.
New deadline for URBAN 2020 Photo Awards - The new submission date for URBAN 2020 Photo Awards is 14/06/2020! There are two more weeks to submit photos, portfolios and books to the eleventh edition of this creative contest. Works will be selected by dotART and voted by a prestigious international jury chaired by a living legend of photography: Alex Webb, well-known for his vibrant and complex color photographs, who will personally choose the winner. The winners will receive in total € 16,000 in prize value including direct financial support or indirect support though photo publications or the organisation of photo exhibitions. To participate, you can register in the URBAN here and follow the procedure for the desired section(s). You can submit 1 photo for free! More information here.
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