The European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2020

Concepts, ideas and practices are capable of strengthening resonance between European heritage and it's inhabitants, becoming added value to the inherited culture. Larger the scale, bigger the celebration! 
The European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards seance its creation in 2002, under the wing of the European Commission, celebrates and promotes best practices related to heritage conservation, research, management, volunteering, education and communication. In addition to encouraging the cross-border exchange of knowledge and connecting heritage stakeholders in wider networks, Europa Nostra Awards, which is funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, contributes to a stronger public recognition of cultural heritage as a strategic resource for Europe’s society, economy and environment.  
This year is not like any other, the COVID-19 threw the world into a tailspin and forced hundreds of millions of Europeans to remain physically separated during the springtime 2020. Under such circumstances, heritage has become a communicative practice as a form of resistance embracing material and tangible historic memory as well as interactive and dynamic intangible heritage, providing enrichment and escape. In such times of confinement and physical distancing, the European Commission and Europa Nostra hope to inspire a particularly large number of people to discover this year’s selected achievements and to share the names of their three favorite winners. According to Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, this year’s winners are inspiring and powerful examples which truly contribute to a closer, more united and more resilient Europe. 

European Heritage Awards - Vote for Your Favourite

The Ambulance for Monuments, ROMANIA Photo credits: Eugen Vaida

Indeed, this year Europe’s top honour in the heritage field goes to 21 exemplary achievements covering 15 European countries. The collection of 2020 winners of the Awards range from the restoration of Rubens’ garden pavilion in Antwerp (Belgium), to the revival of the renaissance arsenal on the island of Hvar (Croatia); from the trans-European network “Tramontana” dedicated to the research of the tangible and intangible heritage of mountainous regions, to the sensitive preservation of a cultural landscape formed by subterranean caves and wineries in the province of Burgos (Spain); from the rebirth of the impressive Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio in l’Aquila (Italy), heavily damaged by the devastating earthquake of 2009, to the “Ambulance for Monuments” with an emergency team of craftspeople ready to save endangered heritage in Romania; and from “Scanning for Syria”, a research project carried out by a research centre in The Netherlands, to a major exhibition marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, organised in co-production between Poland and Spain.

"These exemplary awarded projects demonstrate that cultural heritage is vital to our mental and physical recovery from the trauma caused by the pandemic", stated Hermann Parzinger, Executive President of Europa Nostra, underlying how adversity can be overcome through expertise, dedication and teamwork,  encouraging that “shared heritage and its custodians can contribute in so many ways: from making accessible cultural content via creative digital solutions to undertaking concrete restoration and rehabilitation works as an act of social and economic rebirth for our cities and villages.”

Epitaphs of the University Church of Leizig, GERMANY - Photo credits Kustodie Marion Wenzel

The winners of the Grand Prix will be announced through the Public Choice Award in autumn, 2020. They are entitled to receive a monetary award of €10,000 each and will also be made public on this occasion. Meanwhile, heritage lovers and supporters can vote online for their favorite award winners and decide which achievement will win this year’s Public Choice Award.  
An important thing to know is that the Award winners were selected by independent juries composed of heritage experts from across Europe. The jury conducted an evaluation of candidatures submitted by organisations and individuals from 30 European countries

Europa Nostra Special Prizes

The jury also decided to give three Europa Nostra Awards to remarkable heritage achievements from European countries not taking part in the EU Creative Europe programme, namely Switzerland and Turkey. In 2020, two new ILUCIDARE Special Prizes will also be awarded from among the submitted applications. ILUCIDARE is a project funded by Horizon 2020 with the aim of establishing an international network promoting heritage as a resource for innovation and international relations.

Selection of European Heritage represented by the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2020 upholds its claims to relevance in contemporary European society, being the linear narrative that connect past, present and future. Additionally, the Awards bring significant benefits to the winners, such as greater (inter)national exposure, follow-on funding and increased visitor numbers. It largely informs the twinning of the European heritage and contemporary culture, giving incentives to visitors and local residents for valuing places upon artifacts and practices through a whole series of lenses focusing towards the future of Europe.   


Cover photo Tramontana Network III, FRANCE/ITALY/POLAND/PORTUGAL/SPAIN - Credits: Binaural/Nodar, Réseau Tramontana, 2018