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Brussels, 9 March 2010

Culture: Commission proposes EU-wide European Heritage Label

The European Commission has today proposed to establish the 'European Heritage Label' as an EU-wide initiative. The aim of the Label is to highlight sites that celebrate and symbolize European integration, ideals and history. The proposed Decision to establish the Label will be submitted to the EU's Council of Ministers and the European Parliament for adoption and could come into effect in 2011 or 2012.

"I believe that the European Heritage Label will help to increase public awareness of our common yet diverse cultural heritage as well as to stimulate cultural tourism and intercultural dialogue," said Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.

The Commission's proposal builds on a 2006 intergovernmental project involving 17 Member States. Expanding the European Heritage Label into an initiative of the European Union will give it greater credibility, visibility and prestige.

Sixty-four sites have received the label under the existing scheme, based on selections by individual Member States (see annex for list). They range from the house of Robert Schuman, the French statesman who was one of the founding fathers of the EU, in Scy-Chazelles (Lorraine), to the Gdansk Shipyards in Poland, birthplace of Solidarność, the first independent trade union in a Warsaw Pact country, which helped trigger events that would finally unite the continent after the Cold War.

Under the proposed new scheme, each of the 27 Member States would be able to nominate up to two sites per year to receive the new European Heritage Label. A panel composed of independent experts would assess the nominations and choose up to a maximum of one site per year in each country to receive the designation. Participation in the scheme would be voluntary.

The main benefits of the European Heritage Label would be:

  • new opportunities to learn about Europe's cultural heritage and the democratic values underpinning European history and integration

  • increased awareness of European cultural tourism, bringing economic benefits

  • clear and transparent criteria for participating Member States

  • selection and monitoring procedures that would ensure that only the most relevant sites received the label.

The proposed EU European Heritage Label differs from other cultural heritage initiatives such as the UNESCO World Heritage List or the Council of Europe’s ‘European Cultural Routes' because it would:

  • designate sites which have played a key role in the history of the European Union

  • choose sites on the basis of their European symbolic value rather than for their beauty or architectural quality

  • stress the educational dimension, especially for young people.

Annex: sites which have received the European Heritage Label under the existing scheme:

European Heritage Label – sites previously selected by Member States




Palace of the Prince-Bishops at Liège

Stoneware of Raeren (German-speaking community)

Archaeological site of Ename

Archaeological site of Coudenberg


Archaeological site of Debelt

Memorial Vassil Levski

Historic town of Rousse

Boris Christoff Music Centre


Fortifications of Nicosia

Castle of Kolossi

Site of Kourion

Circuit of 6 churches with Byzantine and post Byzantine frescos, Troodos


Castle of Kyn žvart

Zlín, town of Tom áš Bat'a

Vítkovice coal mine at Ostrava

Memorial of Anton í n Dvo řá k at Vysok á u Příbrami


Cluny Abbey

House of Robert Schuman, near Metz

Pope's Palace Court, Avignon


Acrópolis, Athens

Knossos Palace

Archaeological site of Poliochne

Byzantine site of Monemvasia


Royal castle of Esztergom

Szigetv á r fortress

The Reformed college and great church at Debrecen

Royal palace of Visegrád


Birthplaces of Rossini, Puccini and Verdi

Birthplace of Alcide De Gasperi

Ventotene Island

Capitole Place in Roma


Historic centre of Riga

Rund ā le Palace

Town of Kuld ī ga


Mikalojus Konstantinas Č iurlionis' works

Historical centre of Kaunas

Ž emaitija (lowlands) region and the Hill of Crosses

Museum of Genocide Victims (1940-41) at Vilnius


Catacombs of Rabat


Gda ńsk Shipyards

Hill of Lech at Gniezno (Cathedral, church, palaces, museum)

Cathedral St Vaclav and Stanislav in Krak ó w

Town of Lublin


Braga cathedral

Convent of Jesus at Set ú bal

General library of the University of Coimbra

Abolition of the death penalty


Archaeological site of Istria

Cantacuzino Palace at Bucharest

Romanian Athenaeum at Bucarest

Park Br â ncu ş i at T ârgu Jiu


Pre Romanesque Ecclesiastical Architecture, St Margaret church, Kop č any

The Castle of Červený Kameň

The Barrow of General Milan Rastislav Štefánik at Bradlo


Memorial church of the Holy Spirit at Javorca

Franja Hospital at Dolenji Novaki

Zale Cemetery at Ljubljana


Crown of Aragon Archive

Yuste Royal Monastery

Cap Finisterre

Students Residence, Madrid


St Peter Cathedral in Geneva

Castle of La Sarraz

Hospice of St Gotthard

1 :

These sites were selected by Member States under intergovernmental arrangements. In order to ensure the overall coherence of the European Heritage Label, sites in the European Union which were awarded the label under the intergovernmental system and which wish to obtain the new Label, will need to be re-assessed against the new criteria.

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