Message by Europa Nostra’s Executive President and Secretary General
As an introduction to the Europa Nostra Newsletter dispatched on 8 July 2021
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
It is our pleasure to send you this summer edition of the Europa Nostra Newsletter, which brings you the highlights of our activities that were carried out over the past two months.
At a time when we are collectively designing the New European Bauhaus movement, Europa Nostra is proud to be among the official partners of this initiative developed by the European Commission; and we are committed to aligning our activities to its core values and aims. Together with the European Heritage Alliance, on 9 May – Europe Day – we launched a wide call to organise inspiring citizens debates in heritage sites during 2021 as a contribution to both the New European Bauhaus and the ongoing Conference on the Future of Europe. These debates will provide the ideal settings for collectively re-imagining the European project and coming up with concrete and innovative solutions to build a more sustainable, resilient and beautiful future together. We strongly encourage organisations and individuals across Europe to organise these grassroots debates with their communities at any heritage site. Some practical guidelines can be found on the Europa Nostra Agora digital platform.
Europa Nostra strongly endorses and has widely disseminated the Davos Baukultur Quality System that was published last May by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture. This Quality System is a most relevant and inspiring contribution to the New European Bauhaus, as well as a useful operational tool to improve how and where we live together. Europa Nostra also advocates the need to build synergies between the New European Bauhaus, the Davos Baukultur Quality System and other European and international policy frameworks, such as the UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape, which celebrated its 10th Anniversary in June.
Living in harmony with our historic and natural environment will require, first and foremost, a change of mindset and a true cultural shift. It will require that Europeans come together to transform their lifestyles. Europa Nostra is convinced that, among others, we must recover from the COVID-19 crisis by using it as an opportunity to promote more innovative and sustainable forms of tourism. This was precisely the message we conveyed during the High-level Forum for Sustainable Tourism organised by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU on 14 May. This summer, let us explore responsible, eco-friendly, quality and slow tourism options to Europe’s unique cultural and natural assets, such as the winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards.
While we applaud and celebrate heritage good practices all across Europe, we also regret that so many heritage gems in our continent are at risk of being lost forever. That’s why this June, together with the European Investment Bank Institute, we launched the Call for Nominations for the 7 Most Endangered Programme 2022. Europa Nostra will continue protecting and safeguarding endangered heritage in Europe and beyond, both in times of peace and in times of conflict. For example, we continue to lend the support of Europa Nostra to all experts and civil society organisations from Greece and from all over the world who are campaigning for the preservation in situ of the exceptional antiquities recently discovered in Thessaloniki during the construction of the city’s metro line. Together with the European Association of Archaeologists, we have also issued an urgent call for a holistic protection of the rich multicultural heritage in and around the area of Nagorno-Karabakh.
In this regard, we also applaud the important Conclusions on EU Approach to Cultural Heritage in conflicts and crises adopted by the Council of the EU in June. Europa Nostra stands ready to mobilise its wide pan-European network of members and partners for their meaningful and effective implementation. We will also mobilise our experience-led knowledge in this area, in particular through the collection and promotion of best practices from our European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards and from the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes for excellence in heritage-led international relations.
We count on you to help us mobilise the enormous potential of cultural heritage to address existing and emerging challenges in our continent and beyond: from supporting Europe’s post-pandemic recovery and long-term future, to enhancing the positive and constructive role of the European Union in the world. Our continent is yet again at a crossroads, but we ought to be hopeful, bold and ambitious for the future. Europa Nostra is fully convinced of the key contribution of cultural heritage to help Europe “build back better”: socially, economically, environmentally and culturally.
All the above key messages will be discussed during our next European Cultural Heritage Summit which we hope to organise in a hybrid format on 22-24 September in Venice. Further details will be available in due course.
We hope you will enjoy reading this Summer edition of our Newsletter and will be inspired by its content. We are most grateful to you, our readers, members, partners and supporters, for your vital help in allowing us to stay, even in trying times, as active and as united as ever.
Hermann Parzinger, Executive President
Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General