The Hague, 21 May 2019 – The winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2019, Europe’s most prestigious honour in the field, funded by the Creative Europe Programme, were announced today by the European Commission and Europa Nostra, the leading European heritage network. The 25 laureates from 16 countries have been recognised for their impressive accomplishments in conservation, research, dedicated service, and education, training and awareness-raising. Among this year’s winners in this last category is the outstanding Greek Paths of Culture. The winners will be honoured at the high-profile European Heritage Awards Ceremony on 29 October in Paris, during the European Heritage Congress.

Europa Nostra Awards will also be given to two remarkable heritage achievements from European countries not taking part in the EU Creative Europe programme, namely Switzerland and Turkey.

Citizens from around Europe and the rest of the world can now vote online for the Public Choice Award and mobilise support for the winning achievement(s) from their own or another European country.

Among those dedicated individuals and exemplary European heritage initiatives that were awarded in 2019 are: the sensitive restoration of the Chapel of the Holy Shroud in Turin, an iconic site of religious heritage which was destroyed by fire in 1997 and which has now been reopened to the public; the development of a digital archive of the Roma, an internationally accessible space that would make Romani cultures and histories visible as well as respond to stereotypes with a counter-history told by Roma themselves; the dedication of one of the oldest heritage NGOs in Europe which has committed itself to heritage protection in Norway  for over 175 years; and a training programme for displaced, skilled heritage specialists from Syria, run by a German institute in Istanbul, which serves as a powerful example for countries in Europe and beyond.

The European Commission and Europa Nostra have also announced a Special European Heritage Award to honour the Paris Fire Brigade. Together with the police forces and conservation experts, the city’s firefighters bravely and skilfully battled the flames which ravaged the Notre Dame cathedral on the night of 15 April and successfully protected the main structure of the monument from complete destruction, as well as the priceless artefacts within. Read the separate press release on this Special Prize in category “dedicated service to heritage” here.

“I am immensely proud to congratulate all winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2019. These heritage heroes – professionals and volunteers from across Europe – have accomplished something truly amazing. Their work to restore, preserve, support or promote Europe’s heritage monuments and sites, as well as the intangible heritage of Europe, is of the highest quality imaginable. The Awards are proof of the tremendous impact that heritage projects have on our economy, our environment, our culture and our quality of life. Europe’s heritage is a key asset for Europe’s future and our prosperity. This is an important message for all EU citizens and all future leaders of EU Institutions ahead of the forthcoming European elections”, stated Plácido Domingo, the renowned opera singer and President of Europa Nostra.

“Our cultural heritage is our joint resource, a legacy from the past on which to build our future. It has its place in people’s hearts and in their daily lives – and is crucial in fostering a sense of belonging. The European Year of Cultural Heritage that we celebrated in 2018 highlighted this important role. Now it is our task to keep promoting it in the years to come. This year’s winners of the European Heritage Awards/Europa Nostra Awards are playing their part in these efforts with their engagement and the quality of their work, and I warmly congratulate them,” said Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. 

Independent Juries of heritage experts from across Europe examined a total of 149 applications, submitted by organisations and individuals from 34 European countries, and selected the winners.

The laureates will be celebrated at the European Heritage Awards Ceremony, co-hosted by European Commissioner Tibor Navracsics and Maestro Plácido Domingo, and organised under the high patronage of the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, on the evening of 29 October in Paris.

Seven Grand Prix laureates (each of whom will receive €10,000) and the Public Choice Award winner, chosen from among this year’s winning projects, will be announced during the Ceremony.

The Ceremony will be attended by an audience of high-level officials from EU Institutions and Member States, leading representatives of heritage organisations and dedicated professionals and supporters from all over Europe.

The winners will present their heritage accomplishments at the Excellence Fair on 28 October. They will also contribute to various other events of the European Heritage Congress, to take place from 27-30 October 2019.

The Call for Entries for the 2020 edition of the Awards will be published in June 2019 on the dedicated website.

2019 Award Winners

Category Conservation

Castle of Montreuil Bonnin, FRANCE
Fortified Settlement of Mutso, GEORGIA
Chapel of the Holy Shroud, Turin, ITALY
Cathedral of Saint Bavo, Haarlem, THE NETHERLANDS
The Queen Louise Adit Complex, Zabrze, POLAND
Pavilion for the Presentation of Archaeological Remains, Celje, SLOVENIA
Lithica Quarry of s’Hostal, Menorca, SPAIN
Oratory of the Partal Palace in the Alhambra, Granada, SPAIN
The Portal of Glory, Santiago de Compostela, SPAIN
Medieval Tithe Barn, Ingatorp, SWEDEN
Yr Ysgwrn, Trawsfynydd, Wales, UNITED KINGDOM

 Category Research

​Solak 1: a Model of Predictive Archaeology, ARMENIA/ITALY​
VERONA: Van Eyck Research in OpeN Access, BELGIUM
RomArchive – Digital Archive of the Roma, GERMANY

Category Dedicated Service

VVIA – Flemish Association for Industrial Archaeology, BELGIUM
Fortidsminneforeningen – National Trust of Norway, NORWAY

Category Education, Training and Awareness Raising

TUMO Center for Creative Technologies, Yerevan, ARMENIA
History Radar 1938, Vienna, AUSTRIA
Betina Museum of Wooden Shipbuilding, CROATIA
Monument Europe, Berlin, GERMANY
Stewards of Cultural Heritage, GERMANY
Greek Paths of Culture, Athens, GREECE
Commonlands: Cultural Community Mapping in Alpine Areas, Parco Nazionale Val Grande, ITALY
Le Dimore del Quartetto, Milan, ITALY
A Place at the Royal Table, Warsaw, POLAND

A Europa Nostra Award will also be presented to two remarkable heritage achievements from European countries not taking part in the EU Creative Europe programme.

Category Conservation

Boğaziçi University Gözlükule Excavation Research Center, Tarsus, TURKEY

Category Dedicated Service

Mr. Léonard Gianadda, Martigny, SWITZERLAND


Greek Paths of Culture, Athens, GREECE

Greek Paths of Culture is an integrated, multi-disciplinary programme of selecting, conserving, clearing, sign-posting and linking up public footpaths in areas of particular environmental or cultural importance in Greece. Its geographical scope is vast, with a total of 658 km of restored hiking and bicycle routes, many of them dating from ancient and medieval times, in no less than 13 regions across Greece. The programme, created by ELLINIKI ETAIRIA – Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage, has been realised with a relatively modest investment.  It brings together scientists from many fields (geographers, archaeologists, historians, teachers, ornithologists), institutional players and representatives of the business and tourism industries. Created in time of crisis to provide jobs in rural areas, it extends the tourist season, creates new jobs, improves the health and quality of life of local populations, and highlights the local produce of each community. The programme, in different areas of Greece, has been supported by the A.G. Leventis Foundation, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Phokion Potamianos & family, the Centre Culturel Hellénique in Paris, the “Walk with me” crowdfunding campaign, the Konstantinos K. Mitsotakis Foundation, Fthiotiki Anaptyxiaki, AEGEAN, ELMIN company and Lord Butler. In Naxos, the monetary prize of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award 2018 for the conservation of Hagia Kyriaki was used to fund the restoration of the Paths in the area.

A prerequisite for the programme to proceed is that the regional authorities or municipalities request the programme to be applied in their area. They usually offer their invaluable support, mostly in kind, until the completion of the project and they undertake its maintenance thereafter.

The efforts and the involvement of the local communities are key to the success of the project. Schools, young people and volunteers from all over Greece are invited, often through seminars and presentations, to use the paths and include them in educational activities. By ‘adopting’ one of the paths, they become deeply engaged with the history, maintenance and activities of the walking routes. “The project has a large community base, involving many local municipalities and local NGOs,” the jury noted, “the importance of communal maintenance of access ways is underlined and the contribution of this to the economic sustainability and the growth of local enterprises is reinforced.” Future plans include more public engagement including an emphasis on children with autism spectrum condition (ASC), as research has shown that they can benefit greatly from hiking activities.

Greek Paths of Culture is an excellent example of integrating cultural heritage and the surrounding natural landscape. As the jury stated: “The project blends the philosophy of well-being with history, heritage, biodiversity and landscape, and underscores important linkages between culture and nature. The old tradition of experiencing landscape on foot, in contrast to modern means of mobility, is referenced and the landmarks along the paths are carefully chosen to enable the exploration of both culture and nature. The different aspects of tangible and intangible cultural heritage assets are experienced in a holistic approach to cultural landscapes.”



European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards

The European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards were launched by the European Commission in 2002 and have been run by Europa Nostra ever since. They celebrate and promote best practices related to heritage conservation, research, management, voluntarism, education and communication. In this way, they contribute to a stronger public recognition of cultural heritage as a strategic resource for Europe’s economy and society. The Awards are funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.  

In the past 17 years, organisations and individuals from 39 countries have submitted a total of 3,032 applications for the Awards. Concerning the number of entries by country, Spain is first in the ranking, with 527 projects, followed by Italy, with 308 entries, and the United Kingdom, with 299 applications. With regard to the categories, Conservation has had the most submissions (1,744). Next comes Education, Training and Awareness-Raising (555), then Research (381), and, finally, Dedicated Service to Heritage (352).

Since 2002, independent expert juries have selected 512 award-winning projects from 34 countries. In line with the number of entries, Spain tops the list with 67 awards received. The United Kingdom is in second place (61 awards) and Italy comes third (45 awards). Regarding the categories, Conservation has the most winners (291) followed by Education, Training and Awareness-Raising (82), Dedicated Service to Heritage (76) and, lastly, Research (63).

A total of 116 Grand Prix of €10,000 have been presented to outstanding heritage initiatives, selected from among the award-winning projects.

The European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards highlight best practices, encourage the cross-border exchange of knowledge and connect various stakeholders in wider networks. The Awards bring major benefits to the winners, such as greater (inter)national exposure, follow-on funding and increased visitor numbers. In addition, the Awards foster a greater understanding of our shared heritage amongst the general public. The Awards are therefore a key tool to promote Europe’s heritage.

Εuropa Nostra

Europa Nostra is the pan-European federation of heritage NGOs which is also supported by a wide network of public bodies, private companies and individuals. Covering more than 40 countries in Europe, the organisation is the voice of civil society committed to safeguarding and promoting Europe’s cultural and natural heritage. Founded in 1963, it is today recognised as the most representative heritage network in Europe. Plácido Domingo, the world-renowned opera singer, is the President of the organisation.

Europa Nostra campaigns to save Europe’s endangered monuments, sites and landscapes, in particular through the 7 Most Endangered programme. It celebrates excellence through the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards. It also contributes to the formulation and implementation of European strategies and policies related to heritage, through a structured dialogue with European Institutions and the coordination of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3.

Creative Europe

Creative Europe is the EU programme that supports the cultural and creative sectors, enabling them to increase their contribution to jobs and growth. With a budget of €1.46 billion for 2014-2020, it supports organisations in the fields of heritage, performing arts, fine arts, interdisciplinary arts, publishing, film, TV, music, and video games as well as tens of thousands of artists, cultural and audiovisual professionals. The funding allows them to operate across Europe, to reach new audiences and to develop the skills required in the digital age.

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