Finland Calls for Young Heritage Ambassadors

As a pioneer of heritage storytelling initiatives for young people, Finland is setting out to implement another exciting #HeritageMakers season. European Heritage Makers Week was developed as an initiative that would help children and young people to better understand their cultural surroundings, heritage, and the European dimension that ties all of the surrounding countries into one, shared cultural space, open for exploration and sharing.

Arts and Entertainment as Inspiration for European Heritage Makers Stories

In line with the common theme of the European Heritage Days 2019, Finland is encouraging young people to find the most interesting features of arts or entertainment, representative of their local culture and to explore its links with European culture more broadly. Heritage inspired photos and videos accompanied by a short description will give an insight into arts and entertainment in Europe as seen through the eyes of young generations of heritage makers.

Creative efforts of young storytellers will be divided into two categories. The Finnish jury will select the five best stories among under 12-year-olds and in the second category among the 12–18-year-olds. In the first category, the under 12-year-olds will compete for a bookstore gift voucher and a diploma. The 12–18-year-olds whose stories demonstrate the most original and inspiring potential will also win a bookstore gift voucher and a diploma and a chance to be selected among the ten international storytellers for a cultural visit to Strasbourg. The application form on the EHDs portal will be open by 1 May 2019.

The first Heritage Makers Week was organised in Finland in 2013 as a joint project by the Finnish Local Heritage Federation, the Association of Cultural Heritage Education in Finland, the Finnish National Board of Education, the National Board of Antiquities and the Ministry of the Environment. Its immense importance was soon recognised by the Council of Europe and the European Commission and it was adopted as a part of the European Heritage Days programme in 2018.

The 2018 winners of the European Heritage Makers storytelling competition were presented with a unique cultural experience in Strasbourg. From 22 to 28 November, young heritage ambassadors from Finland, Latvia, Hungary, Estonia, and Iceland were welcomed to the symbolic capital of Europe where they participated in workshops, guided tours and cultural sharing with each other. Saga Koivisto, a 9-year-old Finish heritage maker for 2018 shared her Strasbourg experience:

I went to Strasbourg after winning an award. In Strasbourg I also met the other winners. They came from Latvia, Hungary, Estonia and Iceland.

We visited the European parliament, where they decide on European issues. There were all the flags of the countries in the European Union, but the flag of Great Britain is going to be removed at the end of the year. Great Britain is leaving the European Union then.

We also went to the European Court of Human Rights. There they solve problems. When we got there, we saw the cars and drivers of Liechtenstein’s royal family. They had come there on a surprise visit.

On the last day we went to the Christmas market of Strasbourg. Almost all the city center was one big market. There were lots of small market booths, Christmas lights and Christmas decorations. In many places I could smell the Glühwein. It is almost as the warm Glögi-drink we have in Finland, but I didn’t like the smell.

I liked almost everything about my visit!              

Her inspiring story titled Ånäs from the Stone Age to today / Ånäs från stenålder till nu captured attention of the Finish and European jury alike, and gave her a chance to learn about other European cultures via their young representatives in Strasbourg.

European Heritage as the Focal Point of Exploration

Starting in Finland, the model spread into a European experience that gives voice to the young heritage observers, explorers, commentators and custodians. Their input is valued not only as a way to promote heritage sharing, but to design a framework for future heritage action both locally and on a broader, European level.

Arts and Entertainment will be in focus of heritage celebration throughout the entire year in Finland. The most significant and the most widely celebrated heritage events will be organised from 2 to 8 September at the European Heritage Days week in Finland.

To find out more about the Heritage Makers Week in Finland 2019, visit the official website: