Have you heard the story of the traditional Portuguese 'Capote e Capelo' or of the tiny guardians of the Kontija Forest in Croatia?

These and many other tales are brought to the public by storytellers from all over Europe. A total of 84 European Heritage communities from 20 European countries created unique and inspiring stories that celebrate different aspects of their local heritage while linking back to shared European values.

Now in its second edition, the European Heritage Stories initiative gathers heritage storytellers from European Heritage Days communities, EU Prize for Cultural Heritage winners, and the European Heritage Label. Launched on 18 March, the Call for European Heritage Stories 2019 invited interested storytellers to submit some of their most treasured heritage stories. Eligible organisations were invited to submit project proposals based on their stories. Jury members now have the difficult task of choosing ten of these projects to be awarded with a grant.  

Creators of the 25 pre-selected stories are now preparing additional documentation for the final selection of project proposals. By the end of July, the jury will select 10 grant winners whose projects will put their heritage site at the centre stage of European heritage landscape. The grantees will be announced in August.

European Cultural Diversity Unveiled

As one of the major legacies of European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, European Heritage Stories are inspiring communities to share the stories behind European cultural sites, traditions, people and lesser known heritage treasures.

The dedicated work of heritage communities and storytellers is evident in the huge variety of stories we have received about historical sites, places, people and events across Europe. One such story, for example, highlights the historical background of the oldest higher education facility in Latvia. The 18th century Academia Petrina is a centre of educational, political, cultural and artistic life in the region.

Another story is titled ‘Ivanečki vez.’ This is a story about the unique embroidery work of women from Koprivnički Ivanec in Croatia, and it is testament to the subtle power of arts and craftwork to demonstrate a full range of European cultural diversity. Each motif that embellishes the festive folk costumes intertwines the past and the present into a promising future where uniqueness is celebrated and shared values are promoted.

Many further examples of the stories that mark the diversity of European heritage can be explored here.

The value of the European Heritage Stories is in their power to promote and preserve some of the lesser known facets of European heritage that celebrate cultural diversity and the European dimension of heritage sites.

European heritage communities from all 20 countries demonstrated remarkable creativity and commitment to keeping their local heritage alive. Although only 25 of them will now be considered as part of the final stage of the grant application process, the contribution of the communities behind each of the stories  has created a wonderful library of heritage stories. We encourage all European Heritage Days communities to share their story with us next year  and become part of this fascinating mosaic of European heritage stories.