The European Heritage Congress 2017 will be held from 11-15 May in Turku, the historic capital of Finland which in 2011 was the European Capital of Culture. Organised by Europa Nostra and its country representation Europa Nostra Finland, the Congress coincides with the celebrations of Finland’s centenary of independence and is organised under the patronage of the President of Finland Sauli Niinistö.
The Congress will provide an inspiring platform for networking and debating on the latest European developments related to heritage with a special focus on the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018. Europa Nostra will therefore dedicate the public session of its General Assembly in the afternoon of 12 May to the preparation of this Year.
In addition to a large attendance by Finnish delegates, over 400 European participants are expected to attend the Congress. These are heritage professionals and volunteers, members of Europa Nostra and the European Heritage Alliance 3.3, partners from the wider fields of culture and economy, and representatives from various EU Institutions and governmental networks.
Congress participants will be actively engaged in a series of meetings, networking events and cultural visits.
The meetings of Europa Nostra’s governing bodies will focus on peer learning, project management and policy discussions. The Scientific Council will hold a public session on ‘Lighthouses and Towers’ on the morning of 11 May at the Forum Marinum. The Council will convene on the morning of 12 May at the historic City Hall of Turku. Finally, the General Assembly will meet on the afternoon of 12 May at the Radisson Blu Marina Palace Hotel.
On 13 May, Europa Nostra Finland, in cooperation with the University of Turku, will hold a full-day public Forum on ‘Sharing Heritage – Citizens Participation in Decision Making’, presenting relevant experiences from various countries in Europe. In the evening, participants will have the opportunity to continue discussions during an exceptional boat cruise through the stunning scenery of the Turku archipelago.
The cultural programme will feature a special Industrial Heritage Tour focused on maritime heritage (organised by Europa Nostra’s Industrial and Engineering Heritage Committee together with Europa Nostra Finland), with an excursion to Turku shipyard which represents the strong shipbuilding tradition of Finland, visits to the Forum Marinum Museum and the Turku Art Museum, excursions to the fascinating Ruissalo Island and the stunning medieval wooden towns of Rauma and Naantali as well as an exceptional tour dedicated to Finnish Modernism. On 15 May, there will be a visit including a short flight by a heritage DC 3 plane to Helsinki-Malmi Airport, listed among the 7 Most Endangered heritage sites in Europe 2016 by Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute. By organising this exceptional excursion, Europa Nostra wishes to give additional support to the local campaigning efforts to keep this historic airport in use (deadline for registration was 31 March).
During the Congress in Turku, Europa Nostra will seek to expand its network of members, partners and contacts and showcase a number of exemplary heritage initiatives in Finland by publishing a new issue of its Heritage in Action magazine entirely dedicated to this country.
The European Heritage Congress 2017 has the support of the City of Turku, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Culture and Education, the Turku University Foundation and the Åbo Akademi University Foundation. As a core activity of Europa Nostra’s Network project ‘Mainstreaming Heritage’, the Congress is supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.