European Week of Regions and Cities
7-10 OCTOBER 2019 Brussels

The role and the challenges of cultural heritage in the EU of tomorrow

Tue 9, October 2018
09:30 - 13:00

The objective of our consortium is to highlight the crucial role of cultural heritage in Europe, not only as a legacy of our past, but also as a resource and a common good that determines attractiveness and competitiveness for business, research, and creative individuals. The session will take place on 9 October and will be divided into two panels: the first will feature four speakers and the second will have three. After each panel, there will be a Q&A session, and a networking coffee break will take place between the panels.

Education, culture and youth
The role and the challenges of cultural heritage
Building Spain Permanent Representation to EU .
Address: Boulevard du Régent 52, 1000 Brussels

Session summary

As part of the week of European Cities and Regions, Castilla y León led last Tuesday 9 October the seminar "The role and challenges of Cultural Heritage in the Europe of tomorrow", which took place in the offices of the Permanent Representation of Spain to the European Union.

The seminar began with some words of welcome from María de Diego Durántez, Deputy Minister for Institutional Relations and Regional Planning of the Junta de Castilla y León, who highlighted the importance of Cultural Heritage for her region.

The moderator of the seminar was Clara Almeida Santos, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Letters, University of Coimbra.

The first speaker was Marius Cornea, PhD in Philosophy, Art History and Museologist, National Museum of Banat, Timisoara (Romania). He spoke about the importance of historical buildings in contemporary society and the important role of cultural heritage in the sustainable development of an area.

The second one, Maria José Pérez, specialist in European cultural projects in Castilla y León, presented the experience of managing the Heritage of Castilla y León with a European perspective. Castilla y León is the region with the most monuments recognised as World Heritage by UNESCO (11). She highlighted the importance of considering heritage conservation as a public service, being a fundamental element for social cohesion.

Mariola Andonegui Navarro, La Rioja, responsible for the heritage management of the San Millán Foundation, spoke about the importance of sharing cultural heritage in rural areas. She cited the management model developed by the Fundación San Millán de la Cogolla, in the Monasteries of Suso and Yuso, declared World Heritage by UNESCO.

Ana Abrunhosa, President of the Commission for Coordination and Development of Centro de Portugal, presented new approaches to the economic and social valuation of cultural heritage in her region. She pointed out that the most important thing is for all actors to network and set priorities together.

Helena Matusa, Assistant Director of the Development Agency of Zagorje (Croatia), showed the rehabilitation of a castle and its conversion into a centre of science and innovation.

Finally, Babette Winter, Secretary of State for Culture and Europe at the Thuringia Cancellería, spoke about the concepts of cultural development and cultural heritage in remote areas, sharing the experiences from her region (3 monuments declared World Heritage by UNESCO). For them, the main thing is to create sustainable structures.

The seminar concluded with Sergi Farré, Scientific and Cultural Counsellor of the Spanish Embassy in Belgium, who highlighted the importance of Cultural Heritage as an element of social cohesion. He spoke about Europa Nostra and its work and stressed the role of the Spanish Agency for Cooperation and Development (Aecid) and the Spanish strategy on Culture and Development.

Take away message

The main conclusions that can be drawn from the contributions made at the seminar held on 9 October "The role and challenges of Cultural Heritage in the Europe of tomorrow" are the following: cultural heritage is of great importance in European regions, as an element of cohesion and social welfare. Its conservation and enhancement not only brings cultural but also economic and social benefits, as it helps communities to strengthen their sense of belonging, while creating employment and business opportunities.


Marius Cornea from Timis Council (RO): “Heritage is now seen as a major component of quality of life, it contributes to the satisfaction of human needs by providing symbolic meanings that bind cultural groups and communities across generations”.

Maria José Pérez from the Regional Government of Castilla y León (ES):”The management Plan of Castilla y León Pahis 2020 highlights Cultural Heritage as a public service, an asset for economic, social and sustainable development. This Plan establishes a methodology and fields of intervention on Cultural Heritage and external action”.

Mariola Andonegui from La Rioja (ES) ”The rich quality of both tangible and intangible cultural heritage in the rural sphere in Europe is extraordinary, but it is clearly threatened by such phenomena as depopulation and globalisation”.

Ana Abrunhosa, President of CCDRC (PT) "Sustainability is an element of the utmost importance in the management of cultural heritage by all the actors involved, mainly in the small and medium cities”.

Helena Matusa, from Zagorje (HR): "Our proyect of an Edutainment Sciencie Centre in a castle is different because it allows us to use the cultural heritage to bring the future closer to nowadays".

Babette Winter, from Thuringia (DE): "Our approach is primarily not about more money for culture, but about creating sustainable structures".

Sergi Farré, from Spanish Embassy in Brussels (ES): "The general objective of most of our programs is contributing to communities' development through heritage promotion, with the specific objectives of strengthening public policies and sustainable management and restoring cultural heritage".

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