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The European Voice of Civil Society committed to Cultural Heritage




Dear Colleagues and Friends,

During the past months, Europa Nostra has been as active as ever, on so many fronts. Our pan-European movement for cultural heritage has gained momentum and vitality, despite these trying times. We are happy and proud to witness an intensification of the power of togetherness, illustrated by the power of our movement, the power of our partnerships and the power of solidarity.

The power of our movement is proven by our collective resilience to face an unprecedented crisis. At a time when we are compelled to stay physically apart, we have accomplished to stay closer together thanks to digital means. We have successfully organised numerous online gatherings, such as the webinar with our members and partners from the United Kingdom on 28 September, to reaffirm that “there is no Brexit in Europa Nostra”. The 2020 Europa Nostra General Assembly took place in a fully digital format on 19 October. On this occasion, we paid a well-deserved tribute to our outgoing President Maestro Plácido Domingo, who, after 10 years of dedicated service to our organisation, was appointed Honorary President of Europa Nostra.

We have also co-hosted with European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel an unforgettable European Heritage Awards Ceremony on the evening of 10 November. Over 1,000 people from all around the world gathered online to celebrate Europe’s heritage success stories. The President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, sent a special message of congratulations to the Romanian winner of our Public Choice Award 2020 and to all other winners who prove that excellence, commitment and perseverance in our heritage world know no limits.

Through a series of new and well-established collaborations, we have yet again demonstrated the power of our partnerships. Earlier this month, we hosted the high-level webinar “A Cultural Deal for Europe” in cooperation with Culture Action Europe and the European Cultural Foundation. Based on these fruitful discussions, which were introduced by a powerful message by the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, we issued on 25 November the joint statement “A Cultural Deal for Europe: A central place for culture in the EU’s post-pandemic future”. This joint statement puts forward an overarching Cultural Deal for Europe to realise the potential of culture and heritage for Europe’s recovery and long-term future.

As every year, we have been a proud partner of the Best in Heritage annual conference, which this year went fully digital. In a year when we celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday, Europa Nostra is a proud partner of the #GlobalOdetoJoy digital project, which promotes the much-needed values of solidarity, togetherness and joy at a global scale.

At a time of a distressing global crisis, the power of solidarity has been a leading light for our work. We have widely mobilised our network and knowledge to publish a timely paper on the Challenges and Opportunities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic for the heritage world. This paper provides unequivocal evidence on the impact of the crisis on the heritage field and puts forward concrete proposals to support it.

As you will read below, we have also raised our voice in defence of important heritage sites that are facing serious threats, in times of peace and also in times of war. We warmly invite you to stay tuned for the announcement on 10 December of the European heritage sites shortlisted for the 7 Most Endangered programme 2021.

We hope you will enjoy reading the rich content of this new edition of our Newsletter. The gravity of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges ahead us call for an unprecedented and coordinated mobilisation. Let us continue joining forces and voices thus demonstrating the exceptional resilience and solidarity, as well as tireless commitment, of the heritage world. We count on you to further advance the power of our formidable cultural movement for Europe!

Cordially yours,
Hermann Parzinger, Executive President
Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General


von der Leyen

EIB publishes essay “Togetherness – A New Heritage Deal for Europe” by Hermann Parzinger

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has just released a seminal essay entitled “Togetherness – A New Heritage Deal for Europe” written by Hermann Parzinger, Executive President of Europa Nostra. How can Europe fulfil its promise if we do not reinvent and redesign the very basis of the European project and come up with innovative and bold solutions for a better and more sustainable future together? “A New Heritage Deal for Europe” is not only necessary but also possible through a heritage-led transformation of Europe’s society, economy and the environment, with the process powered by civil society and supported by local, regional, national and European organisations and institutions. This is the fifteenth essay in the Big Ideas series created by the EIB. Since 2018, the EIB has invited international thought leaders to write about the most important issues of the day.

Read more


Europe’s top heritage award winners celebrated with first-ever virtual European Heritage Awards Ceremony

Europe’s top heritage award winners were celebrated with a memorable online Ceremony on 10 November. Over 1,000 people from around the world watched the livestream of the Ceremony to witness the announcement of the three Grand Prix laureates and the Public Choice Award winner, selected from among the 21 winners of the 2020 European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards, and the unveiling of the two winners of the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes, for excellence in heritage-led innovation and heritage-led international relations. The virtual European Heritage Awards Ceremony was co-hosted by Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, and Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, with the participation of Hermann Parzinger, Executive President of Europa Nostra. The Ceremony was enriched by exceptional musical performances prepared by our invaluable partners, the European Union Youth Orchestra, Le Dimore Del Quartetto (Italy) and the European Music Centre in Bougival (France). Read more about and watch the full video of the Ceremony. Visit the Excellence Fair Digital Edition and read the Awards booklets.

Watch Ceremony Highlights

von der Leyen

European Heritage Green Paper preview: a debate for the green future of Europe and cultural heritage

On 19 November over 120 attendees joined the online debate “Putting Cultural Heritage at the Centre of the European Green Deal: A preview of the European Heritage Green Paper”. The event, organised by the Climate Heritage Network in partnership with Europa Nostra and ICOMOS and with the support of the European Investment Bank Institute, was dedicated to the preview of the upcoming “European Heritage Green Paper”. This Paper will highlight the potential of cultural heritage in contributing to the achievement of the European Green Deal’s ambitions and to mobilise the heritage community to recognise and realise its full potential. Organised in the framework of the Climate Heritage Network’s campaign Culture X Climate 2020, the debate was one of the highlights of the Climate Heritage Week 2020.

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Tolentino Mendonça, Poet and Librarian of the Vatican Library, received Helena Vaz da Silva European Award

Cardinal José Tolentino Mendonça, a great man of culture and a great European from Portugal, received the Helena Vaz da Silva European Award for Raising Public Awareness on Cultural Heritage 2020 at a ceremony held on 23 October at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. In his eloquent acceptance speech, Tolentino Mendonça made a strong appeal: “Let us protect the cultural heritage that books represent! Books are maps that help us decipher where we came from, but they are also telescopes pointing to the future”. The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and the President of the Portuguese Republic Rebelo de Sousa paid tribute to the winner in video messages broadcast at the ceremony. Our Secretary-General Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović virtually participated in the ceremony, which was held for a restricted group of attendees, but live streamed on social media.

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European Heritage Tribune

Europa Nostra Board calls for Thessaloniki Antiquities to be preserved in situ

In a statement issued on 19 November, the Board of Europa Nostra urged all partners concerned, both at national and European level, to join forces so as to ensure the preservation in situ of the outstanding antiquities – dating from the 4th to the 9th century CE – discovered at the Venizelos Metro Station in Thessaloniki, Greece. This is the only solution which would guarantee the preservation of the authenticity of this heritage site of exceptional importance for the understanding of Europe’s shared heritage and history. This view had already been expressed by Europa Nostra in reasoned letters which our Executive President Hermann Parzinger conveyed to the President of the Hellenic Republic on 17 July and to the President of the Hellenic Council of State on 5 November. This same view is shared by a large number of byzantinologists, conservators and archaeologists from all over the world.

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European Heritage Tribune

Europa Nostra’s statement related to the armed conflict in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region

In a statement issued on 29 October, Europa Nostra deplored the armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in and around the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, which had a tragic impact on human lives and also wrought serious damage and posed threats to the extremely rich and diverse cultural heritage in the wider area affected by the conflict. While endorsing the recent statement made by UNESCO, Europa Nostra called upon the political and military leaders of all countries involved in the conflict to reach a lasting cease-fire and take all measures needed to resolve the current crisis through diplomatic means with full respect of international conventions, including a series of relevant international and European conventions related to the safeguard of cultural diversity and cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible.

Read more


Monastery of Jesus in Setúbal: from Europe's most endangered monument to Europe's heritage wonder

The Monastery of Jesus in Setúbal in Portugal, a gem of Europe’s heritage dating from the 15th century, has been fully restored and given new life as a museum housing the city’s rich art collection. In a video message conveyed on the occasion of the opening ceremony of the Monastery of Jesus held on 10 October, our Secretary General stated: “Europa Nostra and our partner, the European Investment Bank Institute, are delighted that the Monastery of Jesus ceased to be among Europe’s most endangered monuments and has become one of Europe’s heritage wonders.” Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović congratulated all those who have contributed – under the leadership of the Municipality of Setúbal and its Mayor Maria das Dores Meira – to the “renaissance” of this exceptional monument.

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EU Policy Brief on Food and Heritage presented at concluding conference of EU project Food is Culture

Europa Nostra and Slow Food hosted the online conference “Food and Cultural Heritage: an EU Policy Perspective" on 17 November with representatives from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development, and for Education and Culture, as well as from civil society organisations. During the debate, Europa Nostra and Slow Food presented their joint EU Policy Brief on Food and Cultural Heritage and invited the panelists to explore its key points and recommendations, and to discuss how to achieve better coherence between food, agricultural and cultural policies. This was the concluding conference of the “Food is Culture” project, co-funded by the EU Creative Europe programme, and was organised as part of the Terra Madre festival.

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Policy Debate

CULTURAL HERITAGE IN ACTION: Catalogue of 32 local and regional success stories just published

Within Cultural Heritage in Action, the EU-funded peer-learning programme for cities and regions, Europa Nostra together with four other consortium partners have just published an online catalogue of 32 local heritage practices from 23 countries, which are inspiring for other cities and regions, and have a real impact on the ground. The 32 examples of innovative practices focus on participatory governance, the re-use of heritage buildings and the quality of interventions on cultural heritage. Among the success stories included in the catalogue are several initiatives that received the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards.

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European Heritage Tribune

“There is no Brexit in Europa Nostra”

Europa Nostra hosted a webinar with some 40 members and partners from the United Kingdom on 28 September. This was the first in a series of online meetings that Europa Nostra is planning to organise regularly with members, partners and supporters from various European countries. The participants discussed opportunities for Europa Nostra UK members to contribute to and benefit from the work of Europa Nostra, and raised questions about how our European civil society network will continue to support the UK post-Brexit. “There is no Brexit in Europa Nostra. Whilst Europa Nostra regrets the circumstances which led to the UK leaving the European Union, there will be no impact on Europa Nostra’s support and treatment of the UK,” emphasised our Executive President and Secretary General.

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European Heritage Tribune

Europa Nostra honours Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović on her 20th anniversary as Secretary General

You are the heart and the soul of Europa Nostra, dear Sneška,” stated our Executive President Hermann Parzinger, during a virtual gathering of the Board and the Staff of Europa Nostra organised on 14 October to mark the 20th anniversary of Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović’s appointment as Secretary General. On this special occasion, our Treasurer Huub Doek, on behalf of the Board of Europa Nostra, presented Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović with a symbolic gift: a 300-year-old map of Europe without borders, united through culture and heritage, as it was in time of Charlemagne. Leading figures, members and friends of Europa Nostra from across Europe as well as representatives from European institutions and international organisations paid tribute to our Secretary General for being the most ardent advocate of culture heritage as a driver of a more united, inclusive and sustainable Europe.

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