Since 2018, the European Heritage Days have collected over 350 beautiful Stories from every corner of the continent. The annual Call for Stories is open to European Heritage Days communities from participating countries. The initiative aims to highlight the Stories behind EHD events, and to give a voice to the passionate individuals, organisations and associations who wish to share their local-led achievements in a European context.

Organisations were able to apply for a grant of up to 10 000 EUR to fund an activity-focused community project based on their story. The judges have now selected the projects that promise the most exciting benefits for their communities.

Here are the eleven stories that have been selected for a grant award this year.

The “katikés” of Paros Island: traditional rural architecture as a symbol of sustainable living and collaboration

Routes in Marpissa will explore the sustainable philosophy and values of the traditional Cycladic way of life and countryside architecture (katikés) in Paros island, Cyclades, Greece, and highlight its similarities with other European rural communities. The project will offer training workshops, documentary screenings, and the creation of a performance that will be presented at the Routes in Marpissa festival in August.

One Life, Two Cultures

African and Caribbean Elders in Scotland will collect oral histories from African and Caribbean Scots who are 60 years and older to preserve their memories and experiences in a printed publication. This project highlights the richness and cultural diversity of Europe and seeks to counter racism and xenophobia by encouraging empathy and understanding. Participants will contribute their personal heritage stories and cultural traditions to intergenerational events, giving young people the chance to hear about the experiences of their elders.

The Strawberry Fields in Jūrmala

The Latvian Culture-Historical Landscape and Historical Memory Society will explore the history of strawberry growing in Jurmala, and find new ways to involve the community and its visitors in the preservation of this heritage. It will publish stories about the history of strawberry growing, create a new tourist route, develop a mobile exhibition, create an animation of children's drawings, and establish a community garden with ancient strawberry species. In doing so it will promote intergenerational communication and cultural exchange.

Craftsmen community in the medieval town of Škofja Loka

The Development Agency Sora, Arts and Crafts Centre of Škofja Loka will produce a series of videos exploring the work of local master craftsmen. It aims to connect the local craft community in the area and support their work, and to help the Arts and Crafts Centre to promote its other programmes. Videos will be subtitled in English, and they will be shared online and in the museum’s exhibitions.

A walk through the Valencia of the Humanist Luis Vives

The University of Valencia’s project ‘A walk through the Valencia of the Humanist Luis Vives’ will offer a journey back in time to the Valencia of the late sixteenth century, to transport participants from today’s city to the bygone cultural and social environment of Europe. During Vives’ lifetime this was characterized by tensions between emergent humanist thought and religious intolerance. The tour will be part of the European Heritage Days, and will then be offered as an ongoing activity of the university’s outreach activities for Erasmus students, visitors and school students.

Voices of Hills - Safeguarding of women's archaic singing in Montenegro

The Center for Study and Revitalization of Traditional Dances and Songs will address a need for the revitalization and popularization of traditional singing practices in Kolasin and its surrounding regions. Through organizing lectures by experts and supporting the work of local group “Djude”, the project will record professional audio and video to enable more people to access this special form of heritage. It will also offer workshops to support young people to develop their interest in it, and work on the skills and relationships required.

Stay to Talk – community-based collaborative action   

Stay to Talk Cultural Immersion Institute work towards supporting the development of slow, sustainable, community-based tourism in the municipality of Amarante. Building on a pilot project they led in 2019-20, this project will offer training courses to local people and institutions who are interested in finding new ways to host tourists.

De la mémoire ouvrière à la collection d'une cité

The local authority’s heritage service in Ville de Port de Bouc will explore the history of the struggles and industrial history that shaped this town in the south of France. It will produce two publications about the history of the town and artistic interpretations that arise from its stories, and culminate in a celebration event during the European Heritage Days. The project explores the European history of maritime trade and industries surrounding it, and how it shaped the working-class of Port de Bouc and cities like it.

Writings of Memory – Chapter II

Zavod Dobra pot zavod za kulturo in sonaravno delovanje’s application “Zapisi spomina” was established in April 2021 as a platform for the sharing of heritage stories. Their project aims to upgrade it to a new platform, enabling more people to preserve their memories and make them accessible to a larger audience. It will open a wide variety of possibilities for its use in schools, youth workshops, digital workshops for the elderly, and storytelling events. It was developed with the aim of giving heritage a new place in our lives in the digital era.

The Festival of Walks

Hisa! Drustvo za ljudi in prostore so.p will bring together inhabitants and visitors in Maribor to explore the history of the city, bringing tourists and locals together under the umbrella of the city’s European past. The Festival of Walks has run successfully for the last five years, and will use the grant to expand its offer and build its relationships in the city.

Naisten sauna – The Women’s Sauna

Kalevala Women’s Association has organised the project “Naisten sauna – The Women’s Sauna”, which will explore the history of women’s sauna practices in Finland. They will organise a social media event at which women are invited to share their stories and knowledge. They will use their grant to produce videos, photo essays and other content to be shared online, in order to enable relationships to be built between generations and regions.

We look forward to supporting their work and to sharing the successes of their projects. The Call for European Heritage Days Stories is an annual initiative, and more information about future editions will be shared in early 2023.