The European Union created the European Heritage Label in 2013 to promote and protect sites with symbolic European value by recognising them with the label.
Unlike the world heritage list, the European Heritage Label sites hold values that form the narrative and spirit of the EU and its citizens, as well as host educational and cultural activities.
There are three types of application:
- a single site
- national thematic site (many sites located in one country sharing a narrative)
- transnational site (one site located in a shared territory or multiple sites sharing a theme)
Defined as a site can be the following typologies of heritage:
cultural goods and objects
industrial or urban sites
intangible heritage associated with a place, including contemporary heritage
places of remembrance
The sites must show within their narrative and background European significance, values, history and sense of belonging (e.g. democratic values). A site could demonstrate these values either with its influence, history and interest exceeding national borders, or has a significant affiliation with the history and integration of the EU, and/or promotes the values of European integration. Moreover, the activities and implementation of projects around the site must show European significance with:
- promotion of common European cultural heritage and intercultural dialogue.
- organisation of artistic, cultural and historical education activities, with emphasis on youth and shared values.
- access for all with several languages, facilitating the sharing of experiences and exchanges of best practices
Three different multilingual application forms are available depending on the type of site. Along with the application, there is a work plan of:
“i) ensuring the sound management of the site, including defining objectives and indicators;
(ii) ensuring the preservation of the site and its transmission to future generations in accordance with the relevant protection regimes;
(iii) ensuring the quality of the reception facilities such as the historical presentation, visitors’ information and signposting;
(iv) ensuring access for the widest possible public, inter alia, through site adaptations or staff training;(
v) according special attention to young people, in particular by granting them privileged access to the site;
(vi) promoting the site as a sustainable tourism destination;
(vii) developing a coherent and comprehensive communication strategy highlighting the European significance of the site;
(viii) ensuring that the management of the site is as environmentally friendly as possible”.
1. Preselection of 2 applications by each member state:
Applications are sent to “National Coordinators”, who in turn select two to submit to the European Panel every 2 years. Each country member of the European Union has their procedures for preselection.
Find your national coordinator and begin your application here.
2. 1st March Submission to Panel of experts
A panel of 13 European experts is in charge of evaluating the applications.
3. Evaluation- Selection of 1 site per state
The panel forms a recommendation for the applications selecting up to 1 site per country. If an application is rejected, it is possible to resubmit in the future.
4. What happens next
Selected sites are regularly monitored by their country and get a communication and branding toolbox to unify with the other sites under the label and European narrative. All the selected sites are on an online map, that helps promote European history and culture.
European Heritage Label is a fantastic regional initiative that promotes collaboration among sites and narrative and values-based heritage management. With the label sites, that do not meet the world heritage criteria, can benefit and gain recognition as part of a broader cultural landscape.
I want to learn more:
Find the multilingual application forms for the 3 different types of sites:
- Single site application form (2021)
- Transnational site application form (2021)
- Thematic site application form (2021)