Vienna to host 2014 European Heritage Congress

The Austrian capital will be the stage for Europa Nostra’s 2014 Congress from 2-6 May. After its emblematic Congress in Athens last year, which marked the 50th Anniversary of Europa Nostra, the leading European heritage organisation is preparing its next congress in Vienna. The European Heritage Awards Ceremony at the Burgtheater, the opera performance by the world-renowned opera singer and President of Europa Nostra Plácido Domingo at the Wiener Staatsoper, the debate on ‘The New Narrative for Europe’ at the Dorotheum and the excursion to the World Heritage valley of Wachau are the highlights of the programme. H.E. the President of Austria, Dr. Heinz Fischer, has granted his patronage to the Congress.

Photo: Burgtheater. © Georg Soulek-Burgtheater

Photo: Burgtheater. © Georg Soulek-Burgtheater

The key public events related to the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards will take place on 5 May. In the morning, the 2014 winners will present their projects during the Excellence Fair at the Vienna University of Technology. At mid-day, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou, and the President of Europa Nostra, Plácido Domingo, will announce the Grand Prix laureates and the winner of the Public Choice Award at a press conference at the House of Europe. On this occasion, Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute, founding partner of Europa Nostra’s new flagship programme ‘The 7 Most Endangered’, will also unveil the 7 most threatened monuments and heritage sites in Europe in 2014.

At nightfall, the European Heritage Awards Ceremony will be held at the impressive Burgtheater. Maestro Domingo and Commissioner Vassiliou will jointly present the awards to the winners, in front of an audience of hundreds of heritage professionals, volunteers and supporters, and dozens of dignitaries from the worlds of culture, business and politics, including high representatives from European Union Institutions. Vienna Boys’ Choir, with the children’s orchestra Superar, will add a very special musical touch to the event. The award-giving ceremony will also be enhanced by the performance of the renowned Viennese ensemble The Philharmonics. Four members of the Vienna Philharmonic, one Berlin Philharmonic Cellist, a brilliant Jazz-violinist and an excellent piano soloist form The Philharmonics. “The Glorious Seven” – as they are usually referred to by the media – have performed in concert halls all over the world, from the Wiener Konzerthaus to Mariinsky II in St Petersburg.

Following the meeting of the Board on 2 May, the Council of Europa Nostra will meet at the Kunsthistorisches Museum on 3 May and the annual General Assembly will be hosted by the Dorotheum on 4 May.

During the second part of the General Assembly, Europa Nostra will hold a debate session contributing to ‘The New Narrative for Europe’. Launched by the European Commission’s President José Manuel Barroso, together with Vice-president Reding and Commissioner Vassiliou on 23 April 2013, this initiative has called upon artists, intellectuals and scientists to contribute to a collective process of writing a new chapter of our European ‘story’. As member of the Cultural Committee for the ‘New Narrative for Europe’, Europa Nostra’s Secretary General Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović has promoted the key role played by cultural heritage within the wider process of European integration at several public meetings, including three major public gatherings hosted by President Barroso in Warsaw with Prime Minister Tusk (July 2013), in Milan with Prime Minister Letta(December 2013) and in Berlin with Chancellor Merkel (March 2014).

On 3 May, Congress participants will have the opportunity to join cultural visits in the historic heart of Vienna and also the evening reception hosted by the Mayor of Vienna at the Rathaus. The landmark event of the cultural programme is the opera performance of Nabucco by Giuseppe Verdi, with Plácido Domingo in the title role, at the Wiener Staatsoper on 4 May. The Congress will be closed on 6 May by a full-day excursion to the World Heritage valley of Wachau, including visits to the Melk Monastery, the Grafenegg Castle and the historic city of Krems a/Donau.

“During our Congress in Vienna, Europa Nostra will celebrate together with the European Commission the highest heritage achievements of 2014; announce a new list of the ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ monuments and sites in Europe, in partnership with the European Investment Bank Institute; and contribute to the on-going debate among various European Institutions about the role of cultural heritage within future EU policies and funding mechanisms. We will also seek to expand our network of members, partners and contacts in Austria and showcase a number of exemplary heritage initiatives in this country by publishing a special edition of our magazine Heritage in Motion”, stated Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović.
This major European cultural gathering is being organised by Europa Nostra, in close cooperation with its Country Representation, Europa Nostra Austria, its member organisation Austrian Castles Association, the Danube University Krems and Hoyos Events. The European Commission, the European Commission Representation in Austria, the Austrian Federal Ministry for the Arts and Culture, the Austrian Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Integration, the Land Niederösterreich and the City of Vienna are among the partners of the 2014 European Heritage Congress.

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