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Culture and Creativity

European Heritage Days

The European Heritage Days is co-organised by the European Union and the Council of Europe, which launched the action in 1985. It is among the most widely celebrated participatory cultural events in Europe.

During the European Heritage Days, thousands of monuments and sites open their doors, some of them normally closed to the public for the rest of the year. This allows people to enjoy free visits, learn about their shared cultural heritage and become part of safeguarding Europe's heritage for present and future generations.

European Heritage Days provide access to thousands of rarely opened sites and unique events to over 20 million people every year.

Purpose of the European Heritage Days

Through the events, the organisers

  • raise awareness of Europe's cultural richness and diversity
  • stimulate interest in Europe's cultural heritage
  • counter racism and xenophobia and encourage greater tolerance for other cultures across Europe
  • inform the public and governments (or policymakers) about the need to protect cultural heritage
  • invite Europe to respond to the social, political and economic challenges of the culture sector

50 countries involved

European Heritage Days take place in the 50 signatory countries to the European Cultural Convention every September and are organised in close collaboration with national coordinators.

Within each country, a network of regional and local authorities, civic and private groups and thousands of volunteers are in charge of organising events.

Each year comes with a special common pan-European theme. Countries can join in the annual common theme. Alternatively, they can organise events around a local adaptation of the theme or a theme of their choice.

Find out more on the European Heritage Days website.