12 European heritage sites shortlisted for the 7 Most Endangered Programme 2022

Press releases All sites – English │ Zogu Bridge – Albanian │ Récollets Convent – Dutch & French │ Doel – Dutch │ La Butte Rouge – French │ Stolberg – German │ Neptune Baths – Romanian │ Orléans-Borbón Palace – Spanish │Synagogue of Híjar – Spanish │ Lövholmen – Swedish │Crèvecoeur Fortress – Dutch │Sculptural Compositions of Buchach Town Hall – Ukrainian │ Sanguszko Palace – Ukrainian
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The 12 most threatened heritage sites in Europe shortlisted for the 7 Most Endangered programme 2022 have just been announced by Europa Nostra – the European Voice of Civil Society Committed to Cultural and Natural Heritage – and the European Investment Bank Institute.

From a medieval town in the western part of Germany to an exemplary 20th-century garden city in France; from one of the most authentic polder landscapes in Europe, located in Belgium near its border with the Netherlands, to an iconic building that is part of one of the oldest spa resorts in our continent, located in southwest Romania; from the last remaining industrial hub in the Swedish capital to sites of architectural, religious, military and artistic significance in Albania, the Netherlands, Spain and Ukraine.

The 12 most endangered monuments and heritage sites in Europe for 2022 are:
Zogu Bridge, ALBANIA
Récollets Convent, Nivelles, BELGIUM
Doel Village and Cultural Landscape, BELGIUM
Garden City La Butte Rouge, near Paris, FRANCE
Historic Centre of Stolberg, GERMANY
Neptune Baths, Băile Herculane, ROMANIA
Orléans-Borbón Palace, near Cádiz, SPAIN
Synagogue of Híjar/Church of St. Anthony, Híjar, SPAIN
Industrial Area of Lövholmen, Stockholm, SWEDEN
Crèvecoeur Fortress, Den Bosch, THE NETHERLANDS
Sculptural Compositions of Buchach Town Hall, UKRAINE
Sanguszko Palace, UKRAINE

(Information about these exceptional but endangered heritage sites and the reasons why they were shortlisted are provided below.)

The selection was made on the basis of the outstanding heritage significance and cultural value of each of the sites as well as on the basis of the serious danger that they are facing today. The level of engagement of local communities and the commitment of public and private stakeholders to saving these sites were considered as crucial added values. Another selection criterion was the potential of these sites to act as a catalyst for sustainable development and as a tool for promoting peace and dialogue within their localities and wider regions.

The 12 endangered heritage sites were shortlisted by an international Advisory Panel, comprising experts in history, archaeology, architecture, conservation, project analysis and finance. Nominations for the 7 Most Endangered Programme 2022 were submitted by member organisations, associate organisations or individual members of Europa Nostra from all over Europe as well as by members of the European Heritage Alliance.

The final list of 7 Most Endangered heritage sites in Europe for 2022 will be unveiled in the spring of 2022.

The Executive President of Europa Nostra, Prof. Dr. Hermann Parzinger, stated: “These shortlisted endangered sites are a reminder that our shared heritage is fragile. By publishing this shortlist, Europa Nostra expresses its solidarity and support to the local communities and civil society organisations across Europe that are committed to saving these sites. They can count on us and our network of members and partners to raise our voices and act in defence of these 12 heritage sites at risk. These sites tell our shared history and can act as catalysts for sustainable development, social cohesion and intercultural dialogue.”

The Dean of the European Investment Bank Institute, Francisco de Paula Coelho, said: “Cultural heritage is a key resource for Europe’s identity, attractiveness and economic growth. It is about far more than ‘stones and bones’ from the past; today, it contributes to the distinctiveness of Europe in all its dimensions, urban and rural, regional and national. This is why the EIB Institute is proud to support the 7 Most Endangered Programme, which we have been implementing with Europa Nostra since 2013 with the aim of safeguarding and promoting Europe’s cultural heritage”.

The 7 Most Endangered Programme is run by Europa Nostra in partnership with the European Investment Bank Institute. It also has the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. Launched in 2013, this programme forms part of a civil society campaign to save Europe’s endangered heritage. It raises awareness, prepares independent assessments and proposes recommendations for action. It also provides a grant of €10,000 per listed site to assist in implementing an agreed activity that will contribute to saving the threatened site. In most cases, the listing of an endangered site serves as a catalyst and incentive for the mobilisation of necessary public or private support, including funding.

Collage of shortlisted heritage sites for the 7 Most Endangered programme 2022

12 European heritage sites shortlisted for
the 7 Most Endangered Programme 2022

(listed in alphabetical order of the country where they are located)

Zogu Bridge, ALBANIA
Built in 1927 over the Mat River in Northern Albania, the Zogu Bridge is considered an important achievement in the field of metal construction and concrete structures built over rivers in Southern Europe. Named after King Zog I of Albania, it is renowned for its architectural structure, its length and the style of its steel arches.

Zogu Bridge, Albania

Despite its industrial heritage importance and the fact that the bridge was declared a Cultural Monument of first category by the National Institute for Cultural Heritage in Albania, the Zogu Bridge has been poorly maintained and is in an advanced state of decay. The structure is in danger of collapse due to damage to one of its columns, caused by the illegal replacement of gravel with soil on the Mat River bed.
The Advisory Panel of the 7 Most Endangered Programme commented: “The Zogu Bridge, being a masterpiece of civil engineering from the early 20th century in the Balkans, merits attention and care, which would result in definitively enhancing its striking values.”
Nominated by an individual member of Europa Nostra from Albania.

Récollets Convent, Nivelles, BELGIUM
Built in 1524, the Récollets Convent is the only completely preserved example of Franciscan architecture in Belgium and is one of the few remaining of its type in Europe. It includes a late Gothic church – classified as a national monument in 1936 and last restored in the 1970s – which is still used for worship. The remaining buildings of the complex, organised around a cloister and three wings, are in urgent need of maintenance.

Récollets Convent, Nivelles, Belgium

The Récollets Convent is threatened by a large-scale real estate project, developed in 2019 by the owner and supported by the local authorities. The implementation of such a project would turn the historical buildings and the surrounding green space with ancient trees into a private area with new apartments.
The Advisory Panel of the Programme noted “the extraordinary and long-term support of the Nivelles population for the safeguarding of the entirety of the Récollets Convent ensemble. This cultural monument – both buildings and the surrounding green space – is a ‘Lieu de Mémoire’ with historical, architectural, urban and environmental values, and great functional potential. It holds the soul of the city and it must be saved”.
Nominated by Europa Nostra Belgium, which has already supported local activities to save the site.

Doel Village and Cultural Landscape, Flanders, BELGIUM
The Doel Village and Cultural Landscape, located in Northern Belgium near the border with the Netherlands, is one of the most authentic polder landscapes in Europe. In only a few square kilometres one finds both architectural and landscape heritage dating from the Middle Ages until the present day: a unique sequence of dykes, farms and barns. The village comprises historic buildings, such as the ‘Scheldemolen’, built in 1614.

Doel Village and Cultural Landscape, Belgium

The biggest threat facing the Doel has been the huge expansion of the port of Antwerp since the 1960s. As a result, inhabitants were forced to leave the village, and historical buildings were systematically demolished or fell into decay. A small but active local community stayed to fight against the demolition of the Doel village and its polders.
The Advisory Panel of the 7 Most Endangered Programme emphasised: “In the case of Doel, the local heritage in the broadest sense of the word should be protected against the needs of large-scale industrial developments in the area. To this end, sustainability and environmental choices need to be made in the near future”.
Nominated by Bond Heemschut – The Dutch Association for Heritage Protection.

Garden City La Butte Rouge, near Paris, FRANCE
The Garden City La Butte Rouge (1931-1965) stands out as a model of garden cities in Europe. It is a living testimony of 20th-century social housing, and its architecture is strongly influenced by the Modern and Art Déco movements and the Bauhaus school. La Butte Rouge has remained intact to the present day. It consists of 4,000 apartments and a green area spreading over 70 hectares, and is home to thousands of people.

Garden City La Butte Rouge, near Paris, France

For the last three years, the City of Châtenay-Malabry has made clear its intention to demolish the Garden City La Butte Rouge, emphasising that it does not meet new building requirements. Around 85% of the buildings of the complex are at risk of being lost. This has also given rise to real estate speculation which threatens the current allocation for social housing. Local protests have been organised, including petitions to save the site.
The Advisory Panel of the Programme highlighted: “In the context of the climate crisis and rising housing inequality, it is of utmost importance that La Butte Rouge is restored and adapted to serve as an example for future environmentally and socially responsible city planning.”
Nominated by an individual member of Europa Nostra, with the endorsement of Vieilles Maisons Françaises.

Historic Centre of Stolberg, GERMANY
Stolberg is a medieval town in North Rhine-Westphalia in the western part of Germany. In the wake of the flourishing copper industry, other industries soon followed, making Stolberg a very important place for Europe’s industrial heritage. The appearance of the historic centre is predominantly determined by the local limestone.

Historic Centre of Stolberg, Germany

In mid-July 2021, the historic centre of Stolberg was unexpectedly turned into a flood zone. Some 235 listed buildings were severely damaged by the high and forceful waters of the Vicht river, following extreme weather conditions that left a path of destruction throughout many villages in Germany and the Benelux.
The Advisory Panel of the Programme stated: “The scale and the interesting position of Stolberg in relation to a river, presents an interesting research opportunity for methods of protecting monuments from the ever-increasing dangers caused by climate change and the demands of urban habitation. Stolberg has the potential to use its heritage and historical environment to build a better, more inclusive future, and can even act as a European incubator for sustainable recovery”.
Nominated by an individual member of Europa Nostra with the endorsement of a large number of German and European organisations, bodies and individuals concerned for the future of the town.

Neptune Baths, Băile Herculane, ROMANIA
Nestled between a deep mountain gorge and the river Cema in southwest Romania, the Neptune Baths form part of the thermal town of Băile Herculane, one of the oldest spa resorts in Europe, dating back to 153 AD. The current structure of the Neptune Baths was constructed between 1883 and 1886, according to the plans of the architect Alpár Ignat. Designed in an eclectic style, the building has a large facade treated in exposed brick, partially finished with plaster and enriched with ornaments.

Neptune Baths, Băile Herculane, Romania

The Neptune Baths have a total surface area of almost 4000 sqm, housing 63 bathing or massage rooms and four pools. Its medical treatment centre boasted renowned doctors as well as visits from notable guests, such as the members of the royal Habsburg family.
After the fall of communism in Romania in 1989, the historic resort of Băile Herculane was abandoned and fell into decay with the damage accelerating from 2004 onwards. Despite being declared as a Class A monument in 1980, the building has suffered continuous degradation. Due to a lack of funding and legal issues, two structural walls and a roof collapsed in 2019. A series of temporary interventions were executed under the coordination of a team of volunteers with the support of civil society, but the building continues to degrade at a fast pace.
Nominated by Locus Association, an NGO run by volunteer architecture professionals and young graduates.

Orléans-Borbón Palace, near Cádiz, SPAIN
The Orléans-Borbón Palace was built in the mid-19th century in Neo-Moorish style, combined with Neo-Arab architectural elements and a variety of stylistic influences from all over the world. At the rear of the palace, there are extensive gardens with characteristics from Romantic gardens that are enriched by Islamic influences.

Orléans-Borbón Palace, near Cádiz, Spain

The history of this fascinating Andalucian building was linked for many years with the Montpensier family. The palace was inhabited by the family until 1955. During the 1970s, it was sold twice. In 1979, the Municipality of Sanlucar de Barramedabegan began the process of acquiring the property, with the aim of avoiding its destruction and opening it to the public. In 1982, the Orléans-Borbón Palace was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest. Since the renovations in the 1990s, the owner could not ensure proper maintenance which resulted in the building being in urgent need of restoration. The outer walls of the buildings are at imminent risk of collapse.
The Advisory Panel of the 7 Most Endangered Programme commented: “The rehabilitation of the Orléans-Borbón Palace could serve as a perfect catalyst for the sustainable socio-economic development of the area.”
Nominated by Hispania Nostra, Europa Nostra’s country representation in Spain.

Synagogue of Híjar/Church of St. Anthony, Híjar, SPAIN
The Synagogue of Híjar is the only medieval synagogue remaining in the region of Aragon and one of only five in the whole of Spain. In the late 15th century, the building was adapted into a church devoted to Saint Anthony of Padua by the Franciscan Order. It presents iconography of both Jewish and Christian religions and origin.

Synagogue of HíjarChurch of St. Anthony, Híjar, Spain

The building has been unused and neglected and its condition has deteriorated due to its exposure to weather. Of particular importance are the fragments of wall paintings which were recently revealed from under several layers of plaster, which contributed to the preservation of the paintings for over 500 years. Due to the poor quality of their surroundings, these medieval paintings are in direct contact with the outside atmosphere.
The Advisory Panel of the Programme noted: “The outstanding wall paintings must undergo thorough study and be given immediate protection. The Region of Aragon and the municipality of Híjar have taken the first crucial steps to stabilise and protect the building. The local community is aware of the significance of this site and supports the possibility of re-opening it as a heritage, cultural and educational centre”.
Nominated by Future for Religious Heritage, which is a member of the European Heritage Alliance.

Industrial Area of Lövholmen, Stockholm, SWEDEN
Lövholmen contains buildings from different periods, with a variety of styles, techniques and materials that together represent a cohesive settlement that speaks of the industrial history of both Stockholm and Sweden.
Since the second half of the 19th century, Lövholmen was the most important hub for industrial activity in the Swedish capital. It served as a functioning industrial hub until the 1970s, when most of the industrial activities relocated to the city’s periphery, which in turn left the area prey to a process of physical depreciation and decay.

Industrial Area of Lövholmen, Stockholm, Sweden

In the last ten years, many buildings have been demolished at an alarming speed, mainly due to urban development plans. The remaining industrial heritage buildings face an uncertain future.
The Advisory Panel of the 7 Most Endangered Programme highlighted: “The Nitrolack factory, along with many more industrial heritage buildings should be saved and integrated in the forthcoming development strategy. It is hoped that the competent authorities will show both restraint and vision by respecting the original industrial heritage character of Lövholmen while designing the future urban development plans for the area”.
Nominated by an individual member of Europa Nostra, with the endorsement of Europa Nostra Sweden.

Crèvecoeur Fortress, Den Bosch, THE NETHERLANDS
Strategically located at the point where the river Dieze flows into the Maas river, the Crèvecoeur Fortress was built in 1587 and has played an important role in Dutch military and diplomatic history for over 300 years.
The Crèvecoeur Fortress was decommissioned in 1890 and fell into decline. After its rehabilitation, during World War II, the fortress was used by the German army as a bridgehead over the Maas river until 1944. After the war, the Dutch army used the fortress as a training ground.

Crèvecoeur Fortress, Den Bosch, The Netherlands

The fortress is owned by the Dutch Ministry of Defence. A listed national monument since 1973, the now severely neglected fortress and terrain need urgent restoration before the structures crumble beyond repair.
The Advisory Panel of the Programme stressed: “The Dutch Ministry of Defence reached an understanding with the Municipality of Den Bosch in 2010, which would open up and restore Crèvecoeur’s defensive earthworks and structures, so they could be incorporated into the Maasoever Park. Despite assurances, no concrete action has been undertaken by the owner since then. These historical features need urgent attention”.
Nominated by Bond Heemschut – The Dutch Association for Heritage Protection.

Sculptural Compositions of Buchach Town Hall, UKRAINE
Built in 1750, the Town Hall of Buchach, a small town in the west of Ukraine, is a landmark of the late Baroque period. The building is known for its architectural significance, but also for the remarkable stone sculptural compositions that characterised its exteriors. The themes of the sculptures refer to ancient mythology and biblical stories and the pediment features a magnificent stone carving. The building was designed by the architect Bernard Meretyn and was decorated by the famous Baroque-Rococo sculptor Johann Georg Pinsel.

Sculptural Compositions of Buchach Town Hall, Ukraine

None of the 14 sculptural compositions is integrally preserved, and only nine of the statues still exist. Some sculptures disappeared or were damaged during a fire in 1865 and as a result of intentional damage during World War I. Despite being an example of originality and exceptional craftsmanship, the sculptures are in a state of deterioration, due to exposure to weather conditions and also due to unsuitable previous restorations.
The Advisory Panel of the Programme emphasised: “It is recommended that the work on the sculptures is paralleled by the pursuit of the restoration of the Buchach Town Hall which is already underway.”
Nominated by the Municipality of Buchach.

Sanguszko Palace, UKRAINE
The Sanguszko Palace was built in the second half of the 18th century for a noble Polish-Lithuanian family – the Sanguszko – near the city of Izjaslav, located in present-day Ukraine.
The building was converted into a barracks for military troops by the Russian Imperial Army at the end of the 19th century, and was later used by the Soviet Army from the 1920s onwards. In 1944, as a result of artillery shelling by the Soviet Army and the consequent fire, the building was significantly damaged.

Sanguszko Palace, Ukraine

In 1963 the Sanguszko Palace was listed under state protection but the degradation of the building relentlessly continued, mainly due to lack of funds and maintenance works. Not even the inscription of the palace in 1999 in the Ukrainian State Register of National Cultural Heritage helped improve the fate of the Sanguszko Palace. What is left of the remaining structures of the palace is now heavily threatened, due to exposure to weather elements, vandalism and the overgrowth of the surrounding park.
The Advisory Panel of the Programme highlighted: “Conservation of the remaining structures and proper interpretation for visitors could turn the Sanguszko Palace into an important educational and tourism centre”.
Nominated by an individual member of Europa Nostra.

 

 

FIND OUT MORE

About each shortlisted site:
Detailed information and experts’ comments

www.7mostendangered.eu
http://institute.eib.org

 

Press Contacts

Sara Zanini
Europa Nostra
sz@europanostra.org
M. +32 486 58 95 19

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Europa Nostra
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Bruno Rossignol
European Investment Bank Institute
bruno.rossignol@eib.org
T. +352 43 797 07 67; M. +352 621345 862

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