The European Heritage Days, a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, raise awareness of heritage, both tangible and intangible, which has helped to shape people's culture throughout history, thus promoting understanding of the past to better shape the future. Heritage is about objects and places, and the meanings and uses that people attach to them and the values they represent. The European Heritage Days develop and strengthen a feeling of belonging and of responsibility for heritage, underlining the relevance of cultural rights as human rights aiming at assuring the enjoyment of culture in conditions of equality and non-discrimination.

Enabling citizens to explore a wide range of cultural assets through a number of themed events, European Heritage Days, launched by the Council of Europe in 1985 in France, help uncover histories of people and places that have contributed to shape the culture and heritage of Europe. Their aim is to increase understanding of a shared European past, encourage appreciation of traditional values and inspire new heritage conservation and education practices.

In particular, the 2021 European Heritage Days will celebrate Inclusive and Diverse Heritage to encourage broad participation in culture, to foster and celebrate diversity, and to emphasize that interaction with individuals and communities with different cultural backgrounds can enrich our lives. Particular attention will be paid to making events more accessible, both in terms of removing physical barriers and of offering a platform to different groups, including vulnerable and marginalised people who often have less opportunity to share their stories.

After a year marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the European Heritage Days will celebrate the re-opening of heritage sites and will offer everyone an opportunity to meet and share. A wide range of cultural events taking place from August to October across participating countries will include exhibitions, workshops, performances, guided tours and many other activities.


Giuseppe Zaffuto, spokesperson for the Council of Europe in Italy

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