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nov 18

The Spanish capital will stage the 2016 European Heritage Congress from 23-27 May. Hundreds of heritage players from all over Europe, including professionals, volunteers, decision-makers, partners and supporters, will participate in this major annual event organised by Europa Nostra in close cooperation with its Country Representation, Hispania Nostra, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The congress will provide a unique platform for networking, capacity building and peer learning, cooperation and exchanges of views on the latest EU policy developments related to heritage. The European Heritage Awards Ceremony and the forum on ‘Social Participation in Heritage Protection’ are among the main public events of the programme.

The European Heritage Awards Ceremony will be held on the evening of 24 May at the historic Zarzuela Theatre. Built in 1856, it is the first and only theatre devoted to Spanish light opera, having been classified as a National Moment in 1994. The President of Europa Nostra, Maestro Plácido Domingo, and the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, will co-host the event and pay tribute to the winners of the 2016 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards. The ceremony will be followed by a festive reception at the Fine Arts Circle.

The Excellence Fair, during which presentations will be given by the laureates about their winning projects, will take place in the morning of 24 May at the College of Architects of Madrid.

The 2016 Congress will place a special focus on ‘Social Participation in Heritage Protection’ with a full-day forum on this topic organised by Hispania Nostra on 25 May at the Conde Duque Cultural Centre. The conclusions of the forum will be presented the next day during the General Assembly of Europa Nostra.

The cultural programme will feature visits to some of the many heritage sites in the Spanish capital, including Madrid’s Metro Transport System – organised by Europa Nostra’s Industrial and Engineering Heritage Committee – and the Royal Academy of the Fine Arts of San Fernando on the afternoon of 26 May. The programme will conclude with a reception in that evening.


On 27 May, delegates to the Congress will be offered an exciting full-day excursion to Segovia, whose Old Town and Aqueduct are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and to La Granja de San Ildefonso, also featured on the World Heritage List.

During the Congress in Madrid, Europa Nostra will seek to expand its network of members, partners and contacts and showcase a number of exemplary heritage initiatives in Spain by publishing a new issue of its Heritage in Motion magazine entirely dedicated to this country.

As a core activity of Europa Nostra’s network project 'Mainstreaming Heritage', the Congress has the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. 

 Photo: G. Simone / Europa Nostra