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Culture and Creativity

European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018

2018 was the European Year of Cultural Heritage. Its aim was to encourage more people to discover and engage with Europe's cultural heritage, and to reinforce a sense of belonging to a common European space. The slogan for the year was

“Our heritage: where the past meets the future”.

A special Eurobarometer survey on cultural heritage launched on the eve of the European Year revealed that a large majority of European citizens think that cultural heritage is important to them personally (84%), as well as to their community (84%), region (87%), country (91%) and the EU as a whole (80%).

Most respondents (84%) state that they take pride in cultural heritage from their region or country, and a large percentage (70%) also in a historical monument, site, work of art or tradition from another European country.

Living close to places related to European cultural heritage is considered to give people a sense of belonging to Europe by 70% of interviewees. Moreover, most respondents think that public authorities at the local, regional, national and European level should allocate more resources to cultural heritage.

Key figures of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018

  • 12,8 million participants
  • 23,000 events organised
  • 37 countries

The European Commission implemented 10 long-term European initiatives as a main policy input for the year, in collaboration with the Council of Europe, UNESCO, and other partners. These initiatives included

  • activities with schools
  • research on innovative solutions for re-using heritage buildings
  • activities to fight against illicit trafficking of cultural goods

In addition, numerous EU funded projects supported cultural heritage. The European Commission launched a dedicated call for cooperation projects relating to the year under the Creative Europe programme. In addition, many other opportunities were available under Erasmus+, Europe for Citizens, Horizon 2020 and other EU programmes.

The European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018: a common success

At European level, all the EU institutions committed to making the year a success. The European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, as well as the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee organised events to celebrate the year and launched activities focusing on cultural heritage.

National coordinators were in charge of implementing the European Year on a national level, representing the participating countries: 28 Member States and 9 associated countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of North Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro, Norway, Switzerland, Georgia and Serbia).

The European Commission ran the year with the assistance of a group of 38 civil society organisations that were part of the stakeholders' committee. The selection process of the stakeholders’ committee was an open and transparent process, in which UNESCO and the Council of Europe also took part, following an open call for participation.

The legacy of the European Year on Cultural Heritage 2018

The European Commission, the Member States and cultural heritage stakeholders continue to implement a longer-term vision to manage, safeguard and enhance Europe’s cultural heritage. This is based on the results of the European Year of Cultural Heritage and the European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage. For this, the Commission relies notably on the Expert Group’s work.

Learn more about the year