Aiming to make a difference for Europe’s heritage landscapes and communities, over 90 inspiring projects from across Europe were submitted to the European Heritage Days European Heritage Stories initiative. From heritage education films and thematic multimedia exhibitions to preservation of historic buildings, the participating communities presented remarkable ideas to help preserve and share Europe’s cultural treasures.

Launched in April 2018 as a pilot project of European Heritage Days and one of the key initiatives within the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, European Heritage Stories invited individuals and heritage groups from #EHDs communities to tell stories of their local heritage. In addition to providing pan-European visibility for participating stories, the initiative awarded ten projects with a €10,000 grant to support their further development. 

The grant recipients were selected by a European Jury consisting of members from the Council of Europe, European Commission, Europa Nostra, European Heritage Label and representatives of the European Heirtage Days Network. The funding is intended to support successful organisations to develop their projects and drive a positive change in their communities.

Below is an overview of the stories selected.

The Film “Origins,” Greece

The Ephorate of Antiquities of the City of Athens proposes a unique way to bring heritage and democracy closer to the young people. The goal of the project is to produce a film that would help young people learn about the Origins of democracy and European values through a kaleidoscopic and artistic presentation of material evidence.

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Heritage of Olive Trees, Spain

As an historic, cultural, natural and landscape heritage, the ancient olive trees in Territorio Sénia are becoming a symbol of identity of the territory and its people. The Mancomunidad Taula del Sénia, which has worked to preserve these trees for years now, proposed various activities to further rise awareness of their value.  

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Virtual map of Europe in Tartu, Estonia

The innovative project from Estonia offers a new perspective on heritage of the University of Tartu by inviting current and past students to share their personal stories. The students of the past and the present will create a map and a mobile app of a heritage route with significant historic locations for the notable students of the University.

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A local history film workshop for children, Norway

Developed by Kvinnherad commune from Rosendal, Norway, this European Heritage Story project aims to help children aged 11-12 to better understand the history of their local environment. Through a series of workshops featuring short films from villages in Kvinnher, the project will present the decades-long history of the place while teaching participants how to tell stories through film media.

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“I Remember,” Ireland

The Little Museum of Dublin joined the European Heritage Stories initiative with an aim to share its rich heritage with international visitors. The “I Remember” project will engage citizens of Dublin in recounting the stories of their time for a film that will enable a greater public understanding about the history of Dublin.

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The Architects of Peace, Belgium

With an aim to celebrate the important milestones in European History towards the construction of peace, the Mundaneum (Belgium) and the Peace Palace (Netherlands) will organise “laboratories for peace.” The project will promote values such as the human rights, the right to live in peace, and the right for every citizen to have access to culture and knowledge.

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Settela - the story of Sinti and Roma in Kamp Westerbork

On the occasion of the 75th commemoration of the deportation of Sinti and Roma from the Netherlands, the Memorial Center Camp Westerbork will carry out an awareness-project concerning both the history of the nazi-persecution of Sinti and Roma and present day discrimination and social exclusion of Sinti and Roma in Europe.

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Don’t Get Mad, Albania

As a traditional board game, Albanian Mos u Nxeh (Don’t Get Mad) helps explain life in different Albanian cities, including places like the UNESCO World Heritage Centre of Gjirokastra. The goal of the European Heritage storyteller Mirian Bllaci, is to preserve the tradition and enable new generations to rediscover their own heritage through play and discussion.

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The Ljubljanica, A River that connects, Slovenia

Through a series of activities, the Ljubljanica project looks to promote social importance of heritage and its development potentials in the scientific, cultural, educational and economic fields. Long-term effects are not only being generated by the renewal of infrastructure, but especially by high-quality content and innovative programme forms that can be provided by the local community.

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Digital Heritage as a catalyst for community engagement, Greece

Focusing on the interactive media and technology innovation, the Digital Heritage as a catalyst for community engagement project from Greece aims to educate citizens on their cultural heritage and link their stories with other cities. Through the Europa Nostra Awarded project HERMeS (HERitage Management e-System), tangible heritage of various European cities will be presented virtually, enablilng anyone to access and learn more about it.

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Next week, on 17 October, the grant recipients are invited for a special ceremony at the annual European Heritage Days Assembly, in Strasbourg. Where they will receive a certificate for the selected stories and be welcomed by Matjaz Gruden, director of democratic participation, Council of Europe. 

For full list of submited stories click here and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to be up to date with news.