Germany kicks off European Year of Cultural Heritage with launch event in Hamburg
On 8 January, Germany officially launched the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 with a festive event in the Hanseatic city of Hamburg, which was organised by the German Cultural Heritage Committee (DNK). Upon invitation of the First Mayor of Hamburg, Olaf Scholz, who was represented at the event by Hamburg’s Senator for Culture and Media Dr Carsten Brosda, more than 500 guests assembled in Hamburg’s Town Hall. In time for the opening ceremony, the “Sharing Heritage” flag – which is the motto for the European Year in Germany – was raised above the Town Hall entrance, ready to greet participants from across Europe. Among them, high-level politicians, representatives from EU institutions and delegates from civil society organisations including a top-level delegation from Europa Nostra.
In her opening remarks, Professor Monika Grütters, German Minister of State for Culture and Media, invited citizens to trace the soul of Europe through an exchange about our common roots and values, stating that only as a community of values does the European Union have a future. Likewise, Dr Martina Münch, President of the German Cultural Heritage Committee (DNK), emphasised the common cultural roots and pointed to the unique opportunity of the European Year to rediscover culture and history in Europe and fill it with life. Daniel Brühl, a famous German actor and ambassador for the European Year of Cultural Heritage, sent a video message as did the Danish Minister for Culture, Mette Bock, and the European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Günther H. Oettinger from Germany.
The European Year of Cultural Heritage was then launched by a symbolic act of four hands jointly ringing a historic bell – Minister of State for Culture and Media, Professor Monika Grütters, DNK President Dr Martina Münch, Hamburg’s Senator for Culture and Media Carsten Brosda and Petra Kammerevert, Chair of the Culture Committee in the European Parliament.
Europa Nostra was represented at the event by its Board member Professor Hermann Parzinger, Vice-President Alexander zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, Council members Claus-Peter Echter and Siegwart zu Eulenburg and Secretary-General Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović.
On the occasion of the official launch of the European Year in Germany, one of the leading German newspapers, Die Welt, simultaneously published an entire supplement dedicated to the European Year of Cultural Heritage. The front page of the 14-page special edition features a prominent article entitled “Europe’s Richness” written by Europa Nostra’s President Maestro Plácido Domingo.
This kick-off event was the first of three highlights that Europa Nostra’s partner, the German Cultural Heritage Committee, will organise in Germany during the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018: the second highlight being the European Cultural Heritage Summit on 18-24 June 2018, co-hosted together with Europa Nostra and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK).
Background: The German contribution to the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018
The idea to organise a European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 goes back to an initiative of the German Cultural Heritage Committee (DNK), which was immediately embraced by Europa Nostra and many stakeholders across Europe. DNK now also acts as national coordinator of the European Year in Germany (see also the online platform in German and English). The motto of the German contribution to the European Year is “Sharing Heritage” and its patron is Germany’s Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Activities and events for the European Year are organised around five lead themes: Europe: Exchange and movement; Europe: Border and encounter regions; The European city; Europe: Remembrance and new starts; and Europe: Practised heritage.