Role of heritage in addressing challenges in Europe discussed at policy seminar Brusselles

On the occasion of a policy seminar organised by the EU-funded project CulturalBase, researchers, practitioners and policy stakeholders gathered in Brussels on 31 January 2017 to discuss how the upcoming European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 can help addressing the many challenges Europe is facing today. Europa Nostra Council member and President of the European Historic Houses Association, Rodolphe de Looz-Corswarem, who was one of the key speakers, stressed the importance of heritage as a crucial catalyst for our shared European identity.

“This European Year in 2018 presents an ideal opportunity to recall that what binds us as Europeans is our common history, culture and heritage. Although the cultural heritage sector is of primary importance, not only for our identity but also for the economy, it still needs more support from political actors. Our historic heritage is today in peril,” concluded Rodolphe de Looz-Corswarem, citing the alarming example of France where about 1,000 castles and historic houses are abandoned.

During the discussion with representatives from the European Commission, the House of European History and UNESCO’s Liaison Office in Brussels, Rodolphe de Looz-Corswarem also spoke as representative of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3 – a platform of more than 40 European networks active in the wider field of cultural heritage. Both Europa Nostra and the European Historic Houses Association are founding members of the Alliance, which has been a fierce advocate for establishing the European Year.

“The European Year of Cultural Heritage is the culmination of a new way of thinking and we can only applaud the European institutions and the EU Member States for supporting this initiative. It is a particularly welcome action with regard to the current democratic and legitimacy crisis affecting the EU. In this alarming and divisive context, 2018 can play a pivotal role to overcome this state of crisis by focusing not on what sets up apart from each other but rather on what binds us together as Europeans,” stressed Rodolphe de Looz-Corswarem. He concluded by declaring that the members of the Alliance 3.3 are determined to contribute to this ideal and to work closely with the political actors to make this European Year a success.

The policy seminar “Cultural heritage policies for a troubled Europe. Proposals from the CulturalBase Social Platform” (read programme) took place on 31 January 2017 in Brussels and was organised by CulturalBase, a project funded by the European Commission in the framework of the Horizon 2020 programme, with the cooperation of Bozar and Culture Action Europe. CulturalBase is a social platform bringing together researchers in many fields of the social sciences and the humanities, practitioners from the socio-cultural and artistic sectors, as well as policy stakeholders. It aims to develop a research agenda and policy guidelines in co-creation with stakeholders in the area of cultural heritage, cultural identities and cultural expressions.

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