2023 Winners celebrate their European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards across Europe
Since the announcement of the winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2023 last June, a number of this year’s laureates have organised ceremonies in situ to celebrate their outstanding achievements and generate further knowledge and awareness of their projects and initiatives at local and national levels.
— European Commission in Cyprus (@EUCYPRUS) October 12, 2023
Via Transilvanica, ROMANIA
On 7 September, a ceremony in situ was organised by Tășuleasa Social Association in Timisoara to celebrate the European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award 2023 in the category Citizens’ Engagement and Awareness-raising awarded to the Via Transilvanica initiative. Spanning more than 1,400 kilometres and showcasing 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Via Transilvanica is the first long-distance trail in Romania.
The event took place at Galeria Jecza and was co-organised by Banca Transilvania, the strategic partner of the initiative. It saw the participation of ambassadors of the project as well as local and international guests.
Europa Nostra was represented by Vesna Marjanovic, Secretary General of Europa Nostra Serbia. In her speech, she praised the ability of Via Transilvanica to serve as a bridge across the different communities of Romania and their heritage.
In a congratulatory message, Ramona Chiriac, Head of the European Commission Representation in Romania, highlighted the importance of such an initiative to help create a future that is sustainable, inclusive, and beautiful. Aligned with the New European Bauhaus principles, Via Transilvanica celebrates the natural environment and connects people and places.
The event concluded with the launch of the Via Transilvanica book and the opening of an exhibition dedicated to the project that the audience was invited to visit.
Wit Stwosz Altarpiece in St. Mary’s Basilica, POLAND
On 7 September, local and international guests convened in St. Mary’s Basilica in Kraków to celebrate the Award given to the restoration of the Wit Stwosz Altarpiece. The altar, carved by Wit Stwosz (Veit Stoss), is one of the largest Gothic altars in the world and was brought back to its original splendour by this outstanding restoration process.
After a musical performance, the ceremony commenced with the opening of the Altarpiece and with the presentation of the European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award 2023. Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary-General of Europa Nostra, addressed the audience, underlining that the Altar could be regarded as a testimony of the interconnectedness of people in Europe over the centuries. The result of the work of international experts and the local community, the Wit Stwosz Altar demonstrates the value of European collaboration.
Rev Dariusz Raś of St. Mary’s parish presented the bronze plaque to the public together with Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović and Prof. Dr. Jacek Purchla, Vice-President of Europa Nostra.
Among the guests who joined the celebration were Professor Jacek Majchrowski, Mayor of Kraków, Dr Katarzyna Jagodzińska, Head of the Europa Nostra Heritage Hub in Kraków, and Prof. Dr. Gábor Sonkoly, Chairman of the European Commission Expert Panel on the European Heritage Label.
After a closing address, the public could enjoy an organ concert performed in the Basilica followed by a reception.
Also on 7 September, the Europa Nostra Heritage Hub in Kraków celebrated its second year of functioning with a symbolic inauguration with the participation of the Mayor of Kraków and the Secretary General of Europa Nostra, Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic.
ACTA VISTA, Marseille, FRANCE
On 14 September, ACTA VISTA and Bao Formation hosted a ceremony in situ at Fort d’Entrecasteaux in Marseille to commemorate their receipt of the European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award 2023 in the category Education, Training and Skills. Approximately 100 individuals gathered at the upper Citadel of the Fort to participate in the ceremony, presided over by Pâquerette Demotes-Mainard, the Executive Director of both organisations.
Eugen Vaida, representing Europa Nostra, and Pierre Loäec, representing the European Commission in Marseille, connecting via video, extended their congratulations to the teams for their remarkable achievement and unveiled the awards plaque.
ACTA VISTA and Bao Formation are at the forefront of implementing back to work programmes on heritage sites, designed to assist individuals who face difficulties accessing training opportunities and the labour market.
This award holds immense significance for the teams at ACTA VISTA and Bao Formation, who are diligently preparing for the public opening of Fort d’Entrecasteaux in spring 2024. Remarkably, this fortress, constructed in 1664 above Marseille’s historic port, has remained inaccessible to the public for over 350 years. After two decades of dedicated efforts, the restoration work has now reached a stage where it can be returned to the community, allowing them to soon enjoy this extraordinary historic site nestled in the heart of the city centre.
Finally, this ceremony also marked the beginning of the European Heritage Days during which the Fort welcomed over 5000 visitors, making it one of the most visited sites of the region.
Proto-Industrial Architecture of the Veneto in the Age of Palladio, ITALY
Professionals of the heritage sectors, professors and representatives of the municipality of Vicenza participated in the ceremony for the research project Proto-Industrial Architecture of the Veneto in the Age of Palladio, winner of a European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award 2023.
The event took place in the outstanding setting of the Centro Internazionale di studi di architettura Andrea Palladio / Palladio Museum, whose rooms welcomed the guests for a conference and the unveiling of the awards plaque in the Sala Barbarano.
Deborah Howard, Research Curator, presented the project to the audience, while Edoardo Demo and Guido Beltramini, respectively President and Director, spoke on behalf of the Centro.
Europa Nostra’s Executive Vice-President, Guy Clausse, thanked the research team for their incredible work which shed light on lesser-known aspects of architecture and the historic landscape characterised by forward-looking innovation.
Among the guests were Andrea Nardin, President of Vicenza province, Giorgio Xoccato, President of the Vicenza Chamber of Commerce, and Cristiano Spiller, Councillor for Public Works, representing Vicenza Municipality.
Hambis Tsangaris, CYPRUS
On 11 October, the Hambis Municipal Museum of Printmaking in Nicosia hosted a ceremony to celebrate the European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award 2023 received by Hambis Tsangaris in the category Heritage Champions.
The museum opened in 2019, and is the most recent milestone of the lifelong dedication of Hambis Tsangaris to make art, culture and heritage accessible to all, thanks to printmaking lessons sharing local folk traditions.
The event was a moment of collective celebration and saw the participation of representatives of the local community together with international guests.
Constantinos Yorkatzis, Mayor of the Municipality of Nicosia, addressed the audience, followed by the meaningful contribution of Myrto Zambarta, Head of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus.
Androulla Vassiliou, Vice-President of Europa Nostra, underlined: “Cultural heritage is not only our monuments, our archaeological sites, our churches, mosques and monasteries, but also our intangible cultural heritage: our traditions, our customs, our folk songs, our folk tales. […] The Hambis School of Printmaking gives the opportunity to people who have never before imagined that they could make art, to discover their creative selves and feel the joy of creation”.
Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, thanked Mr Tsangaris for having exemplified “the profound power of art and education in breathing new life into our diverse cultural heritage and ensuring its legacy for generations to come”. “Your vision and dedication have transcended national boundaries, inspiring a sense of togetherness and connecting all European citizens,” she added.
“Your support is invaluable in our collective mission to empower the efforts of Cyprus and Europe as we navigate towards a future characterised by inclusivity, environmental responsibility, and digital transformation. Together, we can make a difference and shape a brighter tomorrow for our beloved Cyprus and Europe as a whole,” concluded Europa Nostra’s Secretary General.
At the end of the ceremony, Hambis Tsangaris unveiled the awards plaque to the audience which was invited to visit a printmaking exhibition hosted by the museum.
The ceremony was accompanied by the performance of Cypriot traditional and contemporary music.
Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online (SUCHO), International Project/UKRAINE
On 11 October, during the online conference of The Society of Archives and Records Management in Sweden (FAI), Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online (SUCHO) celebrated their European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award and their Grand Prix received in the category Heritage Champions in 2023.
The Society of Archives and Records Management in Sweden (FAI) is the largest archival interest group in Sweden and every year organises a two-day conference that sees the intervention of national and international experts.
This year, Andreas Segerberg, a member of the FAI Board of Directors and representative of SUCHO, was invited to speak about the situation for cultural heritage workers in Ukraine and SUCHO’s activities.
During his presentation, Andreas Segerberg presented the history of the project and the achievements reached so far, specifically thanking all the “memory savers” committed to the cause. After an introduction on the Award received, he gave the floor to Pavlos Chatzigrigoriou, a member of the Awards’ Jury, who spoke on behalf of Europa Nostra.
Pavlos Chatzigrigoriou pointed out how SUCHO stood out for its extraordinary ability to overcome challenges that generally hinder the success of digital projects. He underlined that the efforts of the team not only succeeded in saving an endangered memory but also raised awareness of the power of communities, especially digital communities.
The whole event was live-streamed and saw the participation of almost 400 attendees.
Steam Engine Brewery, Lobeč, Czechia
On 12 October 2023, a ceremony in situ for Steam Engine Brewery in Lobeč took place. The guests were welcomed to Lobeč by the mayor of the village Zuzana Pavlík Šimonková and the owners of the brewery, Pavel and Jana Prouza. Afterwards, Pavel Prouza gave a short presentation about the project on the brewery floors. Among the distinguished guests who spoke at the ceremony were Petr Svoboda, Vice President of Europa Nostra, Naděžda Goryczková, Director General of the National Heritage Institute, Vlastislav Ouroda, Ministry of Culture, Jarmila Smotlachová, Senator, Jan Skopeček, Deputy Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament and Pavel Pavlík, Deputy Governor of the Central Bohemian Region. The bronze awards plaque was then unveiled on the facade of the brewery at the entrance.
The celebration was attended by over fifty guests including friends of the project, conservationists, regional development staff, the local community, and local politicians. A festive toast and refreshments followed, accompanied by the Guinness Company band.
Afterwards, guests enjoyed a guided tour of the monument, conducted by architect Pavel Prouza and conservationist Jana Berková from the National Heritage Institute. The programme ended with the opening of an exhibition on the adaptive reuse of industrial heritage, which was presented by the author Benjamin Fragner from the Czech Technical University in Prague.
Deba Bridge, Gipuzkoa, SPAIN
Since 27 October 2023, all who pass by the Deba Bridge can admire the bronze plaque of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards received for the state-of-the-art rehabilitation project that has restored the structure to its original beauty. A team of engineers recovered and updated 19th-century techniques to save the bridge, which is a protected landmark of the Way of St. James.
The ceremony opened with a symbolic moment: all guests were invited to participate in a performance of soka-dantza, a traditional folk dance, performed by two groups from the two cities on the edge of the bridge, Deba and Mutriku.
Local and national guests joined the event. Araceli Pereda, President of Hispania Nostra, represented Europa Nostra. The Mayor of Deba, Alazne Txurruka, and the Mayor of Mutriku, Joseba Palenzuela, took the floor following the Deputy for Culture, Cooperation, Youth and Sports of Gipuzkoa municipality, Goizane Álvarez.
The project team was represented by Javier León and Iñaki Jaime, who traced the history of the initiative, from its development to the success of the award.
Village Square Meer, BELGIUM
The village of Meer celebrated the European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award received in the category Citizens’ Engagement and Awareness Raising with the community which was the driving force of the Village Square Meer project. On 28 October, around 500 inhabitants and guests gathered in the square of Meer.
The project stood out as a remarkable citizens’ initiative that not only revitalised the site but also cared for the public spaces which were essential for the life of the community and its development. The programme offered an open-door visit to all buildings with diverse activities taking place in several of the locations: workshops for children in the former classroom, exhibitions made by students, popular folk games and performances of traditional music. Where the former school playground was located, a photo gallery of the 2023 winners was arranged.
Piet Jaspaert, Vice-President of Europa Nostra, addressed the “heritage diehards” who made the initiative a success, and praised their motivation and dedication to recreate a public space for the village where community life can develop and grow again.
The initiators of the project delivered inspiring speeches tracing back the history of the project and its milestones.
Together with the Mayor of Meer, Marc Van Aperen, Piet Jaspaert unveiled the awards plaque, which is now on permanent display under the shed of the former school playground.
The event concluded with a music performance and an organised tour of the renovated buildings of Meer.
Cleveland Pools, Bath, UNITED KINGDOM
On 28 October, another local community celebrated the Europa Nostra Award 2023 for the restoration and reopening of the Cleveland Pools of Bath, United Kingdom.
Dating back to the 19th century, the pools fell into disuse in the 1980s despite having a significant place in the heart of the locals. In 2004, a campaign was started by a group of volunteers who fought for the restoration and reopening of what is today a crucial space for the community.
The programme of the ceremony, which benefited from a sunny day, included a visit to the site for the attendees and a cold swim for the bravest among them.
Alexander Goodger, Trustee of Europa Nostra UK, spoke on behalf of Europa Nostra and underlined how the project is a convincing example of the powerful link that exists between cultural heritage and well-being.
The event saw the participation of Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for the city of Bath. “It has been a powerful community initiative that started 20 years ago, supported by the Council, Historic England, the National Lottery and local philanthropists. Not only have they saved an outstanding heritage asset, they have created a fantastic community facility open to everyone,” she commented.
Museum of Wooden Urban Architecture, LITHUANIA
On 10 November, an international seminar titled “Old and sustainable – wooden architecture in the cities” was held at the Museum of Wooden Urban Architecture to present and celebrate the European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award 2023 given to the rehabilitation museum.
The seminar invited local and international professionals to discuss issues related to the presence of wooden heritage in modern cities and possible ways of its sustainable adaptation to contemporary needs.
The day was opened with the unveiling of the awards plaque in the presence of Cristina Loglio, Vice-President of Europa Nostra, and Marius Vaščega, Head of the European Commission Representation in Vilnius. Cristina Loglio addressed the attendees, praising the importance of the Museum as a powerful ambassador of successful careful restoration in the Baltic Region. Given the wide presence of wood heritage in the area, the Museum can be an inspiring precedent for more sensitive interventions, concluded Cristina Loglio.
The seminar was divided into three sessions which were structured as a powerful dialogue that directly involved the audience. Anne Nyhamar, Senior Advisor at Riksantikvaren / The Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage, and winner of an Award in 2022 with the International Course on Wood Conservation Technology, joined the second session. She mainly focused on the possible methods through which to ensure the preservation of the skills needed for adequate heritage conservation.
Preventive maintenance, modern technologies and local strategies were among the other topics discussed during the inspiring day at the Museum which reopened in 2022. A closing reception allowed for the informal continuation of the discussions.
Open for You, ITALY
On 5 December 2023, a ceremony in situ took place in Milan to celebrate the European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award 2023 awarded to Open for You. On the international day of volunteers, more than 200 guests (including the general public, heritage professionals, local representatives and 160 volunteers from the project), assembled at the Church of San Antonio Abate to pay tribute to the award winner.
Since 2005, the project Open for You (“Aperti per Voi”) has promoted voluntary activities to open up 85 cultural heritage sites in Italy to the public for free by facilitating continuous exchange with the local communities.
“This recognition of Aperti per Voi makes the spirit of an initiative that takes place in small and large communities of volunteers who continuously take care of our property even more significant. These are people who dedicate themselves with a spirit of service to hospitality,” emphasised Giulio Lattanzi, Director General of Touring Club Italiano, which developed the initiative.
“Cultural heritage is one of the greatest resources of the European Union. The rich, diverse mosaic of cultural and creative expressions enriches people’s lives and is a precious legacy that is passed on from generation to generation,” said Claudia Colla, European Commission Representative for Northern Italy and Director of the Milan Office.
Cristina Loglio, Vice-President of Europa Nostra, stated: “This award to the Touring Club Italiano – which for more than a century has united communities through the culture of travel as discovery, while respecting places and people – makes explicit the sense of a European Union that is based on a lifestyle that contemplates personal responsibility at the service of the community. Open for You is a bottom-up community action that helps to build day-by-day the Europe of today and the Europe of the future”.
MoLI – Museum of Literature Ireland, Dublin, IRELAND
On 11 January, a ceremony in situ took place at the Museum of Literature Ireland in Dublin to celebrate the Grand Prix of the European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award which was awarded to the museum.
Launched in 2019, the Museum of Literature Ireland is home to artefacts of the Irish State’s literary collections. MoLI also celebrates Ireland’s literary heritage through its permanent and temporary exhibitions, fosters cross-disciplinary collaborations, and hosts a vibrant calendar of public events. The Museum successfully breaks down elitist perceptions around literature and amplifies the unifying power of the spoken and written word.
Among the representatives who addressed guests at the ceremony were Orla Feely, President of University College Dublin and Barbara Nolan, Head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland. Europa Nostra was represented by Jimmy Jamar, Head of the Brussels Office.
The bronze award plaque was unveiled, followed by a festive reception with the assembled guests.