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NewsCelebrating Europe's Rich Cultural Tapestry, European Heritage Days 2023

Celebrating Europe’s Rich Cultural Tapestry, European Heritage Days 2023

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Persecuted christians - Conference at the European Parliament about the persecution of Christians in Sub-Saharan Africa (Credit: MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen)

Break the silence on persecuted Christians

MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen held a conference and exhibition at the European Parliament to denounce the silence surrounding the suffering of persecuted Christians worldwide. The EU must take stronger action against violations of freedom of religion, especially in Africa where lives are lost due to this silence.

Europe’s cultural heritage is a treasure trove of traditions, knowledge, and skills passed down through generations. It’s a tapestry woven with threads of history, diversity, and significance. And from September 1st to November 2023, Europe invites the world to explore and celebrate this vibrant heritage during the European Heritage Days. This annual event, jointly organized by the European Commission and the Council of Europe, promises an array of captivating experiences under the theme of “Living Heritage.”

Embracing Living Heritage

The theme of “Living Heritage” serves as a gateway to Europe’s cultural mosaic. It is a celebration of the vitality and diversity of cultural traditions, knowledge, and skills across the continent. Over the next two months, exceptional sites and monuments across 48 participating countries will open their doors to visitors. But the richness of this celebration doesn’t stop there; it extends to cultural events, exhibitions, artistic performances, interactive workshops, lectures, and guided tours. All of these activities are imbued with the spirit of “Living Heritage” as they showcase the pivotal role of cultural traditions and skills in shaping our societies.

A Cross-Border Celebration

The European Heritage Days are not just about individual countries showcasing their heritage; they are a collaborative effort that brings nations together. This event organized collaboratively by the European Commission and the Council of Europe presents a chance for individuals to engage with the rich cultural tapestry of Europe. It serves as a reminder that our collective legacy goes beyond geographical boundaries and is something that belongs to each and every one of us. Through these celebrations, we promote the protection of our collective heritage for the present and future generations.

Building on Past Success

The European Heritage Days have a fascinating past, starting with their establishment by the Council of Europe in 1985. The event has become more important since 1999, when the European Commission partnered with the Council of Europe. In 2022, around 20 million individuals took part in the European Heritage Days, showing how their popularity continues to grow.

Amplifying Voices: European Heritage Days Stories

One of the impactful initiatives introduced in 2019 is “European Heritage Days Stories.” This platform serves as a megaphone for heritage professionals and shines a spotlight on remarkable preservation efforts undertaken by individuals and groups across Europe. It’s a reminder that heritage isn’t just about the past; it’s also about the present and the dedication of those working tirelessly to safeguard it.

Empowering Future Champions: Young European Heritage Makers

“Young European Heritage Makers,” formerly known as European Heritage Makers Week, is another noteworthy initiative. This program empowers and provides a genuine platform for children and young individuals who are the future champions of European heritage. It’s an investment in the next generation of heritage enthusiasts, fostering cross-border cooperation and collaboration among diverse heritage sites.

Enhancing Synergies: European Heritage Label Sites

To strengthen the European dimension, a dedicated Call for European Heritage Label (EHL) sites was launched. This initiative enhances synergies between various heritage preservation efforts and promotes cross-border activities. National Coordinators of the European Heritage Days program play a pivotal role in facilitating these cross-frontier activities.

Celebrating Europe’s Cultural Tapestry

As we embrace “Living Heritage” during the European Heritage Days 2023, we are reminded of the rich cultural tapestry that defines Europe. It’s a tapestry woven with threads of history, diversity, and significance. These celebrations are a testament to the importance of preserving and celebrating our cultural heritage.

The European Heritage Days are more than just events; they are a celebration of Europe’s cultural richness and diversity. Under the theme of “Living Heritage,” these celebrations invite us to explore the traditions, knowledge, and skills that define our continent. They are a reminder that our heritage is not confined by borders but belongs to all of us, present and future generations alike. As the legacy continues, the European Heritage Days remain committed to safeguarding and celebrating Europe’s cultural tapestry. So, whether you’re a history enthusiast, a lover of the arts, or simply curious about the world, the European Heritage Days 2023 offer something for everyone to cherish and celebrate. Explore, experience, and embrace the living heritage of Europe.

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