The European Cultural Heritage Summit 2021 in Venice took place from 21 to 24 September. It was organised by Europa Nostra – the European Voice of Civil Society Committed to Cultural Heritage – with the support of the European Union and in collaboration with other European and Italian partners. The Summit was held under the patronage of the European Parliament, the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU and the Italian Ministry of Culture.


Tuesday, 21 September 2021

10.30 – 11.15 Press Conference   
Venue: Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Square


With the participation of Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, and Paola Marini, President of the Association of International Private Committees for the Safeguarding of Venice.

11.50 – 12.15 Ringing the Bells for Peace & Heritage
Venues: in the entire city of Venice, including St. Mark’s square, and in heritage sites across Europe


This initiative marked the UN International Day of Peace and the launch of the Venice Summit, stressing the pivotal role of the safeguarding of cultural heritage for peace building and vice-versa. This initiative also sought to underpin our wake-up-call to ensure a sustainable future for Venice and its Lagoon, and for other endangered heritage sites in Europe and beyond.

14.00 – 15.00 Heritage in Motion Awards Ceremony 2021
Venue: Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Square
This event honoured the winners of the Heritage in Motion Awards 2021, a multimedia competition celebrating the best examples of innovative multimedia and digital projects on themes related to Europe’s heritage, cultural and natural, tangible and intangible. It was organised jointly by Europa Nostra, the European Museum Academy and Europeana.

Wednesday, 22 September 2021


10.00 – 12.45 | 13.30 – 15.00 “Saving Endangered Venice & its Lagoon: How to Build Back Better?”
Venue: Giorgio Cini Foundation, Island of San Giorgio Maggiore

Read the PROGRAMME in English & Italian

Part I

This initiative was organised by the Association of International Private Committees for the Safeguarding of Venice in collaboration with Europa Nostra and with the contribution of other Italian member organisations of Europa Nostra and local NGOs concerned. It provided a platform for heritage, civic, academic and economic voices to propose constructive, feasible and concrete solutions for a more sustainable future for Venice. It also sought to lay the foundations for a wider European response and joint action to save Venice & its Lagoon, which Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute declared – already in 2016 – as THE most endangered heritage site in Europe. 


Part II

18.30 – 20.00 HIGH-QUALITY BAUKULTUR! A high-level debate on Baukultur
Venue: Giorgio Cini Foundation, Island of San Giorgio Maggiore


This event was organised by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture in collaboration with Europa Nostra, as a contribution to the dissemination of the Davos Baukultur Quality Principles. The panel was composed of Mr. Alain Berset, Swiss Federal Councillor for Home Affairs, Ms. Anne Katrin Bohle, German State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community, and Mr. Francisco De Paula Coelho, Dean of the European Investment Bank Institute. The event was introduced by a keynote speech by Sir David Chipperfield, world-renowned architect and winner of a EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture Mies van der Rohe Award as well as of two European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards.

20.00 – 21.30 Evening Reception hosted by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture
Venue: Giorgio Cini Foundation, Island of San Giorgio Maggiore

Thursday 23 September 2021


10.00 – 13.00 Roundtable “Mobilising the Transformative Power of European Foundations for the Benefit of Cultural Heritage” (upon individual invitation only)
Venue: Giorgio Cini Foundation, Island of San Giorgio Maggiore
This roundtable was organised by Europa Nostra in collaboration with the European Investment Bank Institute. It will build on initial discussions with private foundations held in cooperation with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation ahead of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018. It also sought to ensure a follow-up to the workshop on complementary funding sources for cultural heritage organised in January 2021 by the European Commission (Directorate General for Education and Culture).

17.00 – 19.00 European Heritage Awards Ceremony 2021 
Venue: Giorgio Cini Foundation, Island of San Giorgio Maggiore
Read the CEREMONY BOKLET in English


The ceremony was co-hosted by the European Commission and Europa Nostra to celebrate the winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2021 and of the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes 2021. During the ceremony, the four Grand Prix laureates and the Public Choice Award winner, selected from among this year’s 24 winning achievements from 18 European countries, were announced.
The European Heritage Awards Ceremony included a video message by Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, and Prof. Dr Hermann Parzinger, Executive President of Europa Nostra. It was accompanied by a musical programme performed by musicians of our trusted European partner, the European Union Youth Orchestra. The masters of ceremony were Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, and Alberto Toso Fei, renowned Italian journalist, writer and historian. 

19.00 – 20.30 Reception in the honour of the 2021 winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards and of the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes
Venue: Giorgio Cini Foundation, Island of San Giorgio Maggiore

21.00 – 22.00 Concert for the Future of Venice – Floating Autumn
by the European Union Youth Orchestra
Venue: Church of the Santissimo Redentore

The concert featured the world première of Floating Autumn, a re-composition by Italian composer Carmen Fizzarotti of Autumn from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, as part of the The [Uncertain] Four Seasons project. The [Uncertain] Four Seasons is a global project designed to persuade political leaders to sign the Leaders Pledge for Nature, a pledge committing to reversing biodiversity loss by 2030. Using an algorithmic re-composition of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons informed by current climate change predictions for 2050, it portrays in music the catastrophic climate effects that our cities can expect. Floating Autumn will be prefaced by 17 Strokes of the Bell for Sustainability, in which the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda can be heard interwoven into the music. The concert included readings by Venice expert Alberto Toso Fei, music by Venice’s great trio of composers, Monteverdi, Giovanni Gabriele and Vivaldi, and be recorded for future broadcast by Rai.

Friday 24 September 2021


09.30 – 13.15 | 14.15 – 16.30 European Heritage Policy Agora “From the New European Bauhaus to the New European Renaissance” 
Venue: Giorgio Cini Foundation, Island of San Giorgio Maggiore
Read the AGORA BOOKLET in English

Part I

The European Heritage Policy Agora brought together policy-makers at all levels as well as key heritage stakeholders in a series of inspiring debates on the most topical issues for the cultural heritage ecosystem in Europe. The Venice Call to Action: “For a New European Renaissance” was presented on the occasion of the Policy Agora. 

The Venice Call to Action makes a strong plea to European leaders at all levels of governance as well as to all heritage actors to duly integrate the transformative power of culture and cultural heritage among the strategic priorities for the reshaping of our societies. It outlines a series of pressing challenges facing our continent – from the post-pandemic recovery to climate change – and stresses the vital positive contribution of culture and cultural heritage to successfully address them. The Venice Call to Action: “For a New European Renaissance puts forward 12 concrete and actionable proposals – as a direct contribution by Europa Nostra and its network – that aim at unleashing the potential of cultural heritage for the European Green Deal, the New European Bauhaus and the forthcoming 2022 Year of European Youth, among other key priorities of the European Union, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.

The European Heritage Policy Agora was introduced by Mr. David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament (video message). Among the prominent speakers who contributed to the debate are Mr. Dario Franceschini, Italian Minister of Culture, Ms. Dubravka Šuica, Vice-President of the European Commission and Co-Chair of the Executive Board of the Conference on the Future of Europe; Mr. Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission; Dr. Vasko Simoniti, Slovenian Minister of Culture and Acting Chair of the EU Council of Ministers; and Nina Obuljen Koržinek, Minister of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia.

Part II

The Policy Agora was a contribution to the New European Bauhaus, of which Europa Nostra is a civil society partner. It is based on the firm conviction that, while we jointly promote a New European Bauhaus, we also ought to aspire to a New European Renaissance: one shall indeed lead to the other. The Agora also coincided with and contributed to another citizen-driven initiative launched by the EU institutions, namely the Conference on the Future of Europe. It was Europa Nostra’s response to the call for organising citizens’ debates on the future of Europe in heritage sites issued in association with the European Heritage Alliance on 9 May 2021 – Europe Day. 

Aiming at connecting these various initiatives, the Policy Agora was a fitting occasion to discuss and demonstrate the role of cultural heritage in achieving all the policy priorities of the EU – from social cohesion to sustainable development and climate action, and from the protection of fundamental values to enhancing Europe’s role in the world. 

18.00 – 19.30 Closing Networking Gathering
Venue: Giardini Reali di Venezia

18-26 September 2021

“Wiki Loves Monuments on Display”
Venue: Cloister of the Monastery of San Francesco della Vigna
15.00 – 18.00 Monday to Friday, 10.00 – 18.00 Saturdays & Sundays
Wikimedia Italia, in collaboration with Europa Nostra, organised a photographic exhibition to celebrate the 10th edition of the Wiki Loves Monuments photo contest. The exhibition was free-of-charge.

For more information, please visit the Wikimedia Italia website.