European Heritage Hub and European Data Space for Heritage discussed at Alliance 2023 Spring meeting in Brussels

The spring plenary meeting of the European Heritage Alliance took place on 20 March, counting with the attendance of representatives of 21 member organisations. The meeting was hosted by the European Travel Commission in the historic heart of Brussels, Belgium, being the first time the Alliance was able to gather in person since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The new European Heritage Hub project and the European data space for cultural heritage were the main topics on the agenda.

Lilian Grootswagers, Advisory Board President of Future for Religious Heritage and current Alliance Rotating Chair, moderated the discussion, which featured key policy developments and new initiatives from the member organisations.  Alejandro Ramilo, Project Adviser and Coordinator at the European Education and Culture Executive Agency at the European Commission, joined as special guest.

Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic, Secretary General of Europa Nostra,  kicked off the meeting with the first presentation of the European Heritage Hub, an EU funded two-year pilot project run by Europa Nostra and a group of valuable partners, including the Europeana Foundation, Eurocities, ICLEI and KU Leuven. The European Heritage Hub responds to the need to set up a permanent advocacy and knowledge heritage platform including all relevant actors. In her closing remarks, the Secretary General of Europa Nostra insisted on the collaborative nature of the hub, inviting all members of the Alliance to engage as much as possible.

Digitalisation was also at the top of the agenda. Harry Verwayen, General Director of Europeana, Corinne Szteinsznaider, Coordinator of Michael Culture, and Marco Rendina, Managing Director of the European Fashion Heritage Association, delivered a joint presentation on the common European data space for cultural heritage, the new flagship initiative of the European Commission to accelerate the digital transformation of Europe’s cultural sector, and supporting projects.

As another major priority for the European cultural heritage field, climate action was front and centre throughout the meeting. Ruth Schagemann, President of the Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE), gave an overview of the Davos Baukultur Alliance 2023. Hosted by the World Economic Forum, the Baukultur Alliance unites public and private sector stakeholders to improve the quality and culture of our living environments. Also on behalf of the ACE, Pierre Obajtek, Senior Policy Officer, gave a presentation on the EU’s New European Bauhaus Initiative. Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic, also as Regional Co-Chair of the Climate Heritage Network for Europe, gave an update on the Heritage Movement for Climate Action Europe.

The Alliance also heard from Bruno Rossignol, Head of Programme for Climate and Heritage of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Institute. EIB Institute is the first Associate Partner of the Alliance, having joined in December 2022. Other interventions included the conclusion of the peer-learning project  Cultural Heritage in Action, by Julie Herve, Head of Culture at Eurocities. Corinne Szteinsznaider, Coordinator of Michael Culture, gave an update on the EU Action Plan against trafficking in Cultural Goods

Last but not least, Piet Jaspaert, Vice-President of Europa Nostra, presented the latest developments regarding the European Chemicals Agency’s plan to include lead in the list of substances subject to authorisation (Appendix XIV of the REACH Regulation). In the Spring meeting 2022, the Alliance endorsed the joint statement on the regulation published by ICOMOS, ICOM and E.C.C.O, calling to exclude the use of lead in the fabrication, conservation and restoration of stained glass and other cultural goods from the European Chemicals Agency’s proposed ban.

The meetings and activities of the European Heritage Alliance are organised in the frame of Europa Nostra’s Network project European Cultural Heritage Agora “Empowering Europe’s Civil Society Movement for Heritage” (2022-2024), which is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. The Alliance holds two plenary meetings per year. The next encounter should take place in Autumn 2023, with the exact date still to be defined.

European Heritage Alliance Spring Meeting 2023

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