Grand finale: The European Year of Cultural Heritage closing event

The climax of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 took place at the "#EuropeForCulture Closing Conference" in Vienna on 6-7 December. It was organised by the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU in collaboration with the European Commission.
European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 closing conference participants standing on the stage.

The conference aimed at sustaining the commitment to the objectives of the year well beyond 2018, and at capitalising on its achievements for the benefit of future EU policies and actions.  

Experiencing cultural heritage

As a prelude to the closing conference, themed walking tours in Vienna’s historic city centre invited participants to experience cultural heritage. Walking tours included a strudel making session, highlighting the links between this traditional pastry, slow food and sustainable tourism, as well as restoring old buildings by tapping bricks into place or painting historical window frames.

Policy discussion

On December the 7th, policy makers and heritage professionals discussed key issues related to cultural heritage: from urban planning and Baukultur, to skills, training and knowledge transfer in the heritage sector and sustainable cultural tourism, among others. Documents with recommendations on the two last topics were also made public. Read about sustainable cultural tourism, and about skills and training in the heritage sector.
A specific session addressed the important role of youth in preserving and taking responsibility for our cultural heritage. The working group discussed approaches for youth engagement, including the use of social media, voluntary work and contemporary creation, as well as tools and policies to encourage youth participation.

Highlights of the closing conference

Speaking at the conference, Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport presented the first-ever European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage, reflecting the common set-up for heritage-related activities at European level, primarily in EU policies and programmes. The framework establishes a set of 4 principles and 5 main areas of continued action for Europe’s cultural heritage, to which the EU is contributing. It includes over 60 actions that will be implemented by the European Commission in 2019 and 2020.

The 4 principles of the European Framework for Action on Cultural heritage are: 1) A holistic approach, looking at cultural heritage as a resource for the future and putting people at its heart, 2) Mainstreaming and integrated approach across different EU policies; 3) Evidence-based policy making, including through cultural statistics; 4) Multi-stakeholder cooperation, encouraging the dialogue and exchange among a wide range of actors when designing  and implementing cultural heritage policies and programmes.
During the conference, the Commission also presented its Cultural gems app, a social sharing platform for local communities to show their hidden cultural spots, and for visitors to discover cultural and creative places off the beaten track. A special eTwinning award for cultural heritage was also given out, recognising teachers who in 2018 engaged learners in discovering Europe’s cultural heritage through intercultural and collaborative educational projects.
Did you miss the closing conference? Don’t worry, you can still take a look at what happened on the official website

Photo: ©BKA/Andy Wenzel