Navracsics in Amsterdam: From cultural diplomacy to European Year of Cultural Heritage

Commissioner Tibor Navracsics attended a meeting with stakeholders from the Dutch arts and culture sector in Amsterdam on 10 November 2015, facilitated by the European Cultural Foundation. Truze Lodder, Europa Nostra Board Member and Treasurer, participated actively in the meeting, shedding light on both the intrinsic and instrumental significance of cultural heritage for Europe among others through the annual European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards. She also made the case for dedicated 2018 as the European Year of Cultural Heritage.

Many of the organisations around the table (including representatives from the Concertgebouw, the Prins Bernhards Cultuurfonds, the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, the Prince Claus Fund, the Holland Festival, de Balie, Stadsschouwburg, Meervaart Theatre, the Erasmus Prize, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Jewish Historical Museums, World Press Photo, De Nieuwe Kerk/Hermitage, Culture and Participation Fund, Dutch Culture and EYE) presented their actions in view of the Dutch Presidency of the EU starting on 1 January 2016, which will be accompanied by a wide range of cultural events across the Netherlands.

The two main topics discussed with civil society were cultural diplomacy and copyrights. Regarding the former, many organisations expressed the need to move beyond cultural diplomacy to cultural relations, encompassing a wider dialogue base than government institutions including citizens, youth, civil society organisations and cultural institutions. As for copyright reform, the Commissioner stressed particularly easy access to cultural content and portability by increasing transparency and flexibility.

In the exchange of views between the Commissioner and civil society representatives, the European Year of Cultural Heritage was discussed once again as Commissioner Navracsics asked the representatives present to continue raising awareness about the benefits such a Year would bring to our societies.

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