Every year, millions of people learn about our rich culture in the thousands of events held during the European Heritage Days. The open days, exhibitions, guided tours and many other events provide an opportunity to grow our own roots deeper, learn about our long-established or new home district, the neighbouring locality and even the other side of Europe.

Local events celebrate European values

The European Heritage Days are inspired by the values shared by the Council of Europe and the European Union, including democracy, the rule of law, respect for cultural diversity and the promotion of peace and wellbeing.

Although some of these themes may sound high-flown and even remote, they are still present in the local events held during the Heritage Days. When organising guided tours, open days or other Heritage Days events, we act for the common good, providing an opportunity to foster togetherness and mutually respectful encounters in a spirit of community. We are active and open to dialogue, while fulfilling our right and duty to participate and make a difference.

Children’s joy and right to participate

The Council of Europe and the European Union pay particular attention to children’s rights. In connection with the European Heritage Days, the Young European Heritage Makers Competition gives children and young people an opportunity to think about and share the cultural heritage that they feel is important, and to interpret it through visual arts.

I am proud to report that the competition was developed in Finland by our splendid national working group backing the European Heritage Days. In 2018, the Council of Europe decided to make it international.

Come and join us!

This year, as peace in Europe has been shattered, cultural heritage is being destroyed by bombing and the atrocities of war are now in our midst, the European Heritage Days are more important than ever.

I invite you to take part in the manner that best suits you.

You can enjoy the cultural heritage in your immediate environment either on your own or together with others. You can use social media to share the heritage that is important to you using #europeanheritagedays. You can take part in thousands of events around Europe.

Exploring and learning about the cultural heritage is inspiring. It also fosters openness, understanding and respect for different traditions.

Let’s remember that each and every one of us, both alone and together with others, has the right to enjoy our cultural heritage. At the same time, we have a duty to respect each other’s cultural heritage and treat each other with respect.

This blog-post was originally written by the National coordinator for Finland, Hanna Hamalainen and published on The Finnish Local Heritage Federation’s blog