Announcing the theme for this year’s European Heritage Days, Directorate General for Cultural Heritage in Portugal called for public and private entities in the country to join the celebration with projects themed “Communities and Cultures.” The events will take place from 23rd to 25th September with an aim to emphasize the important role of various community groups in preserving and protecting cultural heritage.

Supporting the common theme for 2016, European Heritage Days in Portugal will explore how different community groups use cultural heritage and contribute to its development. From neighbourhoods, local clubs and school associations, to religious, spiritual, scientific and philosophical communities, everybody can take an active role in heritage preservation, use and enhancement. By putting people at the forefront of this year’s celebration of shared European heritage, the events will explore the bonds between people and their heritage to try and understand all the different dimensions of this relationship.

Event organisers, on the other hand, will get an opportunity to be a part of the largest cultural festival in Europe and present their stories to thousands of visitors. Local heritage sites, cultural institutions and community groups will be at the centre of the cultural stage in Portugal to welcome thousands of visitors eager to learn more about their common history. Last year’s theme  - Industrial Heritage – brought together about 650 public and private entities that were involved in myriads of activities across the country.

Like in previous years, Directorate General for Cultural Heritage hosted a traditional photography competition whose goal is to involve young people between 14 and 21 in heritage promotion and conservation. Titled “Heritage - In an instant!,” the competition points to the fact it takes only a moment to capture a photo and forever to remember it, thus encouraging participants to recognize the values of everyday objects, landscapes and people that represent heritage for future generations. The contest winners will be announced at the opening ceremony in September when numerous institutions across the country will open their doors for free.

All cultural and historic institutions in Portugal are invited to join the celebrations and submit their projects showcasing the work of local communities in the field of cultural heritage. The call for ideas is open until 2nd August and this is an excellent opportunity for schools, museums, historic houses and heritage clubs to expand the event by exhibiting their local heritage and shared European values.