Europe’s top heritage award winners celebrated during the first-ever virtual European Heritage Awards Ceremony

Europe’s top heritage award winners were celebrated with a memorable online Ceremony on 10 November. More than 1,000 people from around the world watched the livestream of the Ceremony to witness the announcement of the three Grand Prix laureates and the Public Choice Award winner, selected from among the 21 winners of the 2020 European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards, and the unveiling of the two winners of the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes, for excellence in heritage-led innovation and international relations.

The virtual European Heritage Awards Ceremony was co-hosted by Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, and Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, with the participation of Hermann Parzinger, Executive President of Europa Nostra.

In her opening address, Commissioner Gabriel expressed her gratitude to the laureates for their important work in favour of cultural heritage. “Your projects prove to us how important it is to understand and preserve our past in order to comprehend and build our future. You have our immense gratitude for that. Because with the implementation of your projects you will provide opportunities for European citizens, and especially young people, to closely connect with our rich cultural diversity”, she said.

The Chairs of the Heritage Awards Juries introduced each of the four categories after which each award winner was introduced with a short video that illustrated their respective projects.

The three Grand Prix laureates were announced by Commissioner Gabriel. The first Grand Prix was awarded to Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away., an exhibition organised by partners in Spain and Poland. The second Grand Prix was awarded to Tramontana Network III, a research project carried out by partners in France, Italy, Spain, Poland and Portugal. The third and final Grand Prix was awarded to the Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio in L’Aquila, Italy.

2020 Grand Prix Laureates and Public Choice Award Winner

The final top award of the evening was announced by Hermann Parzinger, Executive President of Europa Nostra: the Public Choice Award went to the Ambulance for Monuments from Romania. The project, awarded in the category Education, Training and Awareness-raising, was selected by the general public across the world, over 12,000 of whom voted for their favourites from among this year’s winners.

Their achievement was made all the more special with a personal message of congratulations from His Excellency Klaus Iohannis, President of Romania. In it, President Iohannis wrote: “I warmly congratulate the team that initiated this project. Due to their vision, through the involvement of young people, of the specialists, authorities and sponsors, many monuments at risk have been saved during the five years since The Ambulance exists, thus testing the viability of a model of social cohesion emerging from cultural values and local identity” (read the full message in English here and in Romanian here).

Koen Van Balen, Coordinator of the ILUCIDARE project, introduced the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes for cultural heritage-led innovation and international relations, emphasising how cultural heritage can spur innovation in many ways and how it can be a key element in people-to-people international relations.

The winners of the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes 2020 were then unveiled by Commissioner Gabriel: TYPA – the Estonian Print and Paper Museum in Tartu, Estonia, for excellence in heritage-led innovation; Archaeology for a Young Future, a collaborative project by partners in Italy and Syria, for excellence in l heritage-led international relations.

2020 Winners of ILUCIDARE Special Prizes 2020

The Ceremony was enriched by a fantastic musical programme. To open the Ceremony, the European Union Youth Orchestra conducted by Marin Alsop recorded a special interpretation of the European anthem – Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. Marshall Marcus, Secretary General of the European Union Youth Orchestra, gave a warm introduction to the performance, underlining that in the current moment, “the Awards are more important than ever”.

Marco Magnifico, Executive Vice President of Fondo Ambiente Italiano, introduced a specially recorded performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s string quartet op. 135 by the Quartetto Indaco. The performance, which took place at the Villa Panza, was arranged by Le Dimore del Quartetto, a laureate of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards in 2019. The performance was dedicated to the memory of the late Giulia Maria Mozzoni Crespi, a Grand Prix winner of the Awards in 2016.

The evening was concluded with a performance of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy by the Gypsy Quatuor Roberto de Brasov, a Romanian quartet now living in France. The performance was recorded by the Centre européen de la Musique in Bougival and its President Jorge Chaminé as a contribution to the Ode to Joy Challenge.

Though the Ceremony missed the usual round of applause, the audience, many of whom attended the Ceremony for the first time, shared their messages of congratulations with the winners and their enthusiasm for heritage. One viewer wrote: “I am impressed and feel connected to you all and European thought. That feels very good! Thank you to all the great winners for your fantastic work!”.

The Ceremony was followed by “Meet-and-Greet” the Award Winners online sessions, which provided great opportunities to network, informally exchange and create links with Europe’s most captivating and successful heritage projects in a pleasant and celebratory atmosphere.

Watch the full recording of the Awards Ceremony

Visit the Excellence Fair Digital Edition to learn more about each of this year’s laureates

Read the booklet about the winners of the Grand Prix, Public Choice Award and ILUCIDARE Special Prizes

Read the booklet about the winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2020

Latest articles about Awards

2024 Winners of Europe’s top heritage awards announced by the European Commission and Europa Nostra

Message by Executive President and Secretary General

Europa Nostra Board and Awards Jury have meetings and engage with the vibrant heritage scene in Potsdam

More Articles +