Germany: Existence and Appearance 

This year’s theme in Germany will be Sein & Schein: Existence and Appearance - in History, Architecture and Monument Preservation. This topic will highlight the aesthetics of art and architecture, with a particular focus on optical illusions, from the Baroque to the present day. Programme Coordinators are hoping to inspire visitors with the hidden surprises of the country’s monuments, and through encouraging everyone to take a second look at features which only reveal their visual secrets on close inspection.

Illusions will include wall and ceiling paintings which create a sense of depth or perspective, such as false domes which visually expand the size of rooms, false facades which can simulate details such as windows or columns, and grisaill painting which uses a rage of grey tones to convincingly replicate statues and other moulding details. Other illusions will look at the materials used in construction, such as stucco imitating marble and ashlar plaster appearing as stonework, with the theme also considering how these historic techniques can feed into current debates on reconstruction and conservation work.

The events will launch in Lutherstadt Wittenberg with a music concert in collaboration with the Deutschlandfunk radio network. A variety of both on-site and digital activities will also be taking place across the country, with visitors encouraged to take part in a photography competition to capture their personal interpretation of the theme.

The Open Monument Day - Tag des offenen Denkmals - will take place on 12 September, and you can register interest in becoming an event organiser until 31 May.

Slovenia: Bon Appetit

The Bon Appetit - Dober Tek - theme in Slovenia this year will be all about food, with events showcasing everything from agriculture to the dining experience itself. The theme has been chosen after the country was named the European Gastronomic Region 2021 by the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism (IGCAT). It will highlight the country’s unique culinary culture and heritage, which – as explained in the publication Taste Slovenia - spans a diverse area of gastronomy traditions from the Alps to the Mediterranean Sea and the Pannonian Plain.

Events will demonstrate knowledge and skills as well as customs and habits across a huge range of food-related topics, from production and sale to cooking and eating. Traditional recipes and festive dishes will be revealed, while buildings such as markets, granaries, kitchens and inns will open to explain their role in the food production chain. The programme will also look at the development of the country’s culinary history, from the first agricultural tools, through to preparation techniques, early cookbooks and the development of modern dining ware, while also looking to the future and the innovations promoting health and sustainability.

The festival will take place from 25 September to 9 October, and events can be submitted online until May 7th.

Ireland: Heritage Newcomers

This year’s National Heritage Week in Ireland will be looking to hear new voices as part of its Heritage Newcomers theme. Programme Coordinators are inviting individuals, families and communities who have not previously been involved to work on a heritage project, which can be anything from sharing traditional songs to researching personal histories.

Heritage Newcomers focuses on the concept of ‘heritage sharing’, which aims to connect people who may not otherwise feel included in local history, as well as providing an opportunity to explore aspects of heritage which are seldom considered or celebrated. Organisers will be asked to reach out to new groups and individuals to get involved and assess how events can be made more accessible for people with a sensory or physical disability. The theme will also look to include those of all ages with intergenerational activities, such as crafts or cookery, which can engage both younger and older generations together. While a special ‘Wild Child’ day on 18 August will particularly focus on encouraging kids and families to get outside, explore the great outdoors and discover the heritage in their local area.

The theme will also reflect the appreciation of local sites which have become more familiar to people during the past year of travel restrictions and lockdowns. Heritage assets such as local landmarks and buildings, as well as natural environments such as land formations will be highlighted. Taking place on August 22nd, a special Water Heritage Day will also uncover Ireland’s history as an island nation and explore how the country has been shaped by the sea and its rivers, lakes and wetlands.

National Heritage Week will take place from August 14th – 22nd and projects can be submitted via the website portal until August 30th.


Keep up-to-date with the European Heritage Days plans in each country via the social media accounts for Germany, Slovenia and Ireland’s programmes.