Norway: 2nd – 10th September

Cultural Memory Days – Kulturminnedagene – is Norway’s largest history and cultural heritage festival, regularly attracting around 50,000 visitors to 300 events each year. For 2023 the programme will be exploring the theme of ‘Living Cultural Heritage’ with a particular focus on the traditional craftsmanship, skills and occupations involved in maintaining and caring for cultural monuments and environments. Other events will look at the generational aspects of intangible heritage and investigate how this knowledge is passed down through time and can be safeguarded for the future.

This year’s programme includes special initiatives such as a competition for young people to document and report on an event from their perspective. There is also an award for the organisers who best make cultural heritage available to the general public, with nominated events including activities relating to water and boating history, demonstrations of iron production and a journey though time to discover food, music and many other cultural traditions from the Voss herad area. At other events, visitors can take part in carpentry, crochet and knitting workshops in Sandnes or learn about historic coffee production techniques at a 150-year-old coffee roastery in Kristiansund.

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UK: across September (dates vary by area)

Events will be taking place across the UK, coordinated separately by each country. The first to start is Open Doors in Wales which is running from 1st September and throughout the month. Over 200 historic landmarks are taking part with free entry, guided walks and immersive experiences. Highlights include a tour of the Barracks, Fosse and Amphitheatre at Caerleon to discover the remains of this important Roman military site, a chance to explore the restored Edwardian arboretum and glasshouse featuring trees and exotic plants from across the globe at Dyffryn Gardens, and entry to the Margam Stones Museum which showcases nearly 30 inscribed stones and crosses dating back as far as the 6th century. Find out more:

Visitors can experience Living Heritage in Scotland, with a variety of in-person and digital events taking place on the weekends across September. In 2022 there were nearly 800 events, and this year they include an exhibition at the Central Mosque of Aberdeen and a walk through Cruickshank Botanic Garden. In the Scottish Borders, a particular focus will be on the region’s unique textile heritage, with a chance to see rare and early tartan and tweed from Heriot-Watt University’s collection and an opportunity to view the Great Tapestry of Scotland; a community artwork completed in 2013 which involved 1,000 people hand stitching representations of the country’s history and culture. Find out more:

Heritage Open Days in England will see over 5,000 free events take place across 10 days from 8th – 17th September. The theme this year is Creativity Unwrapped, and highlights include a look at ‘ads through the ages’ at the Museum of Brands in London and a 24-hour poetry-marathon reading of renowned 18th century poet, William Cowper in Buckinghamshire. “Whether it’s art, music, writing, or another outlet, creativity moves us and shapes our history and culture”, explains Marketing and Projects Manager, Liam Montgomery. “This year organisers have once again come up trumps and created a stellar programme of events which put the spotlight on the people and places who give England’s heritage the X-factor and inspire festival-goers to engage with thousands of years of creativity”. Find out more:

This year’s European Heritage Days in Northern Ireland will be the programme’s 26th edition. 200 historic buildings are expected to take part and have previously attracted more than 43,000 visitors. Digital events start on 4th September, with in-person activities across 9th – 10th. Events can be found via the online brochure or via their app, and include the chance to explore cultural heritage sites such as castles and lighthouses and experiences including walks through historic gardens and along river trails. Some of the places taking part are not normally open to the public, and there is also free entry to participating museums.

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Belgium: weekends in September (dates vary by area)

In Belgium, European Heritage Day programmes are organised across three regions, and each area has its own dates and theme. This year, Open Monumentendag in Flanders is taking inspiration from the shared Living Heritage theme and examining the links between tangible and intangible heritage under the motto ‘With Heart and Soul’, with over 1,000 activities expected to attract around 350,000 visitors on 10th September.

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Organisers of Journées européennes du Patrimoine in Wallonia this year have chosen to focus on the ‘générations futures’ audience with events designed to inspire children and young people rather than exploring a specific theme. Over 370 events are taking place between the 9th – 10th September , launching with an immersive sound and light show projected onto the Lord Godefroid's fortress and illuminations through the streets and monuments of the medieval city of Bouillon.

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In Brussels, the programme will be looking at a specific design style with the theme ‘Art Nouveau, Art For All?’ On 16th and 17th September, visitors will be able to access buildings and museum collections showcasing the style, with events examining the historical, technological and social context in which Art Nouveau emerged and addressing the question of how it still impacts the city today.

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Czech Republic: 9th – 17th September

This year’s theme for Dny evropského dědictví in the Czech Republic is ‘Life in Monuments’. The programme is designed to connect and reach the widest audience and engage the public in rescuing, promoting and protecting historic buildings, objects and spaces throughout the country. The national launch for 2023 is taking place in Poděbrady with a schedule of activities including a guided tour of the city and a viewing of the Poděbrady Dantanorama sculptures. The launch will also see the presentation of the ‘Bearer of Folk Craft Tradition’ award; an annual ceremony which aims to help preserve and document traditional crafts which are in danger of disappearing. Over 700 other events are also registered at places including well-known castles, palaces and cathedrals as well as a wide variety of cultural locations such as ruins, excavation sites, steamships, national parks, coal mines and private buildings and places which are otherwise inaccessible. There will be events for all ages, as well as a particular focus on increasing the interest in cultural heritage amongst children and young people through special school tours of heritage buildings and photography, art and music competitions.

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