European Heritage Alliance 3.3 meets to prepare for European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018

Representatives of 24 European and international networks came together for the autumn plenary meeting of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3 on 18 October in Brussels, to discuss the preparations for the European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH) 2018, and decide on the common contribution to the Year including communication aspects.

Autumn Meeting of the European Heritage Alliance in Brussels

Participants were welcomed by Iulia Niculica, who represented Alliance member and meeting host European Travel Commission (ETC), outlining the link between cultural heritage and tourism as well as the ongoing cooperation with Europa Nostra for synergies in view of the European Year. Incidentally, ETC will also celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2018.

With less than two months until the official launch of the European Year of Cultural Heritage at the European Culture Forum in Milan, Alliance members were very eager to hear from guest speaker Erminia Sciacchitano, Policy Officer and member of the EYCH team at the European Commission, about the programme for the launching of the EYCH in Milan.

An entire plenary session of the Forum is dedicated to discussing the role of cultural heritage in Europe and beyond. Europa Nostra’s Secretary General Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović will be among the panelists and will speak as coordinator of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3.

Erminia Sciacchitano also outlined the concept of the workshop ‘Cultural heritage and civil society – together for heritage’ that will take place on the second day of the Forum on 8 December. During the Forum, the European Commission will present its 10 flagships for the Year which shall illustrate the state of play and indicate needs for further action at European level. Moreover, the official website will be launched and the results of the Eurobarometer survey on citizens’ attitude to heritage published. Alliance members took the opportunity to provide constructive feedback for the labelling procedure of events with the EYCH logo.

Prior to the arrival of the representative of the European Commission, Alliance members also exchanged ideas for the Creative Europe call for proposals for European cooperation projects related to the EYCH 2018. Europa Nostra’s Secretary General also presented the state of preparations of one of the highlights of the European Year, the European Cultural Heritage Summit, which will take place on 18-24 June 2018 in Berlin and reiterated the invitation to Alliance members not only to actively participate but also to contribute to the Summit programme with side events.

Autumn Meeting of the European Heritage Alliance in Brussels

During the second part of the meeting Alliance members exchanged views on joint communication tools, such as the website and the Twitter hashtag #EuropeanHeritageAlliance. They also established a procedure for the growing number of membership requests and – above all – informed each other about upcoming events and initiatives. In the vicinity of Grand-Place, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Belgium’s major tourist attractions, the meeting provided an ideal setting to learn from Miguel Gallego, ETC Head of Marketing, about the upcoming EU-China Tourism Year which coincides with the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018. The EU-China Tourism Year had been announced in July 2016 by the European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the Chinese Prime Minister, Li Keqiang, and seeks to promote lesser-known destinations and improve travel and tourism experiences. It will be launched on 19 January in Venice.

Autumn Meeting of the European Heritage Alliance in Brussels

The meeting was moderated by Rodolphe de Looz-Corswarem, President of the European Historic Houses Association, one of the founding members of the Alliance. Katherine Heid, acting Secretary General of Culture Action Europe, joined the first part of the meeting as an observer. The next meeting of the Alliance will take place in Milan on 6 December 2017 ahead of the European Culture Forum.

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