How much do you know about the local archaeological discoveries in Sulkava hill-fort in Finland? Have you ever played the traditional Albanian board game called Don’t Get Mad?

The stories about these and many other European heritage gems are now a part of the European Heritage Days pilot initiative European Heritage Stories. Launched in April 2018, the initiative invited heritage communities all across Europe to tell stories about a culturally significant site or a project related to European cultural heritage. In less than two months, almost one hundred storytellers from 23 countries sent their submissions.

The main themes aligned with those of European Year of Cultural Heritage - European Year of Cultural Heritage: The Art of Sharing and Our heritage: where the past meets the future. After reviewing all the stories submitted by May 30, the committee of European Heritage Days members and two international consultants preselected 25 for a chance to get a special grant and grow into a heritage project.

Uncovering the Hidden Heritage of Europe

Photo: Emilianensis. Discover the Monasteries of La Rioja

With 98 stories submitted, the European Heritage Stories is one of the key initiatives of European Year of Cultural Heritage. By presenting Europe's hidden heritage gems, it enables a wider recognition of less known heritage places and objects, highlighting the remarkable work of local heritage groups. Moreover, the grants programme that will be available to ten selected stories is a way to support the ideas that can change Europe's heritage landscape.

The value of the stories lies in their uniqueness and the fact they unveil inspiring historic backgrounds of cultural objects, sites, traditions, and people. They feature details about historic people such as the members of lost duchy from Poland and analyse cultural connections such as the ones in the story titled 1918 - The impact of WW1 to Swedish and European identity and cooperation history during the 20th century. There are also stories that focus on magnificent European landscapes such as culture-educated trails across Finland and bird airport in Ulcinj Salina, Montenegro.

These are just some of the stories that speak about the diversity of Europe's heritage and that can be developed into a creative project to be preserved for future. The participants included heritage storytellers from European Heritage Days communities, EU Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Award winners, and the European Heritage Label. Their devotion to heritage is truly remarkable and their historic and cultural knowledge presented in the stories represents a valuable testimony of the richness of European heritage.

All of the stories submitted can be viewed on this page, while the 26 preselected storytellers will be asked to submit additional details about their projects in order to move to the next selection stage. Ten projects will be selected to receive a grant which will be awarded at the European Heritage Days Assembly in Strasbourg on 17 October.