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European Heritage Label

The European Heritage Label highlights the most significant sites in terms of European history, culture and integration.


Decision No 1194/2011/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 November 2011 establishing a European Union for the European Heritage Label.


The European Union (EU) establishes a European Heritage Label awarded to sites located in the Union and having a key role in European history and culture as well as the building of the Union.

The aim is to put the spotlight on common European heritage to strengthen citizens’ sense of belonging to the Union and to reinforce dialogue between cultures. Furthermore, through cultural tourism in particular, heritage plays a key role in the economic development of European regions, which would benefit from a raised profile.

The focus on the European symbolic value of the sites and their educative dimension differentiates the European label from the heritage initiatives put in place by Unesco and the Council of Europe.

Attribution criteria

The following may apply: monuments, natural, underwater, archaeological, industrial or urban sites, cultural landscapes, places of remembrance, cultural goods and objects, and intangible heritage associated with a place, including contemporary heritage.

Transnational sites, located in several Member States and focused on one specific theme, and national thematic sites including several sites focused on one specific theme in the same country, can submit joint applications.

Candidate sites for the label must demonstrate that they fulfil at least one of the following conditions:

  • their transnational or pan-European nature, by showing how their influence and attractiveness extend beyond national borders;
  • their place and role in European history and integration and their relationship with key European events, personalities or movements;
  • their place and role in developing and promoting the common values upon which the EU is built.

In addition, candidate sites must submit a project in which they undertake to raise citizens’ awareness of the European dimension of the site, organise educational activities, encourage multilingualism, participate in networking activities of sites having been awarded the label, and promote the site at European level.

A work plan must also be presented and show how the candidates will meet a number of conditions such as streamlined management of the site, guaranteeing its preservation and access for as many people as possible.

Selection procedure

Pre-selection of sites shall be carried out by Member States that may choose up to two sites every two years. The list will then be submitted to a European panel of independent experts that selects a maximum of one site per country. Upon the recommendations of the panel, the European Commission shall designate the sites that are to be awarded the label.

The sites shall be regularly monitored to ensure that they continue to meet the criteria and that they respect their projects and work plans. If this is not the case, the panel shall propose adjustments in collaboration with the Member State concerned. If the necessary measures are not implemented, the Commission may withdraw the label.

The first labels will be attributed in 2013.


Now a formal EU initiative, the European Heritage Label was first launched in 2006 in the form of an intergovernmental initiative involving 18 Member States.


ActEntry into forceTransposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Decision No 1194/2011/EU



OJ L 303, 22.11.2011

Last updated: 31.01.2012
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