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About us….

Heritage EuropeHeritage Europe was formed asThe European Association of Historic Towns and Regions”  by the Council of Europe in October 1999 as part of the initiative “Europe – A Common Heritage”.

We aim to promote the interests of Europe’s historic cities through international cooperation between heritage organisations and historic towns - sharing experience and good practice and promoting the sustainable management of historic areas.

We have members in 32 European countries and through our membership arrangements represent over 1200 historic towns and cities.

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New Projects

"ARCH" - Adaptive Re-use of Cultural Heritage

Heritage Europe is a partner in a new  5m Euro project proposal under the Horizon 2020 programme under the call SC5 - 22 - 2017. The project will address the challenge of re-use and care of historic assets. ARCH will focus on two categories of heritage asset - churches and military fortifications - both fundamental to the character and appeal of many of Europe’s settlements and citizen’s sense of pride of place and both struggling to find viable re- use strategies in the changed social and economic context of today. The key challenges to be addressed are how cultural heritage is valued, how innovative new financing strategies can be devised and how relevant governance models  can be developed and adopted.

The project duration, if the bid is successful, will be 3 years with a start date in 2017.


"RUVIVAL" - Revival of Rural Communities through Heritage.

Heritage Europe is a partner in this proposal under the Horizon 2020 programme - call SC5 - 21 - 2017 - cultural heritage as a driver for sustainable growth. The first stage of the 2 stage process has been completed with the initial proposal submitted.The consortium brings together 31 partners across 11 countries.

The proposal "RUVIVAL" aims to devise a new paradigm of heritage-led rural regeneration through implementing innovative actions and solutions to address both the safeguarding of cultural heritage and the urgent need to establish new pathways for sustainable rural regeneration and enhancing rural wellbeing.

The project duration, if successful, will be 4 years with a proposed budget of 10m Euros.



LIFE+PERHT Project. FINAL Conference "Smart Mobility in Small and Mid-Size European Towns"

The final conference of the Life+Perht project took place in Treviso (IT) on Thursday March 17th 2016. Heritage Europe's Secretary General, Brian Smith, presented to conference on the topic of "Sustainability in European historic towns". For the full conference programme and final project news click on the project logo (see below under "Projects"), and follow the links on the project website.



European project results demonstrate

cultural heritage does count for Europe’s sustainable development

Heritage Europe and partners of the EU-funded project 'Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe' (CHCFE) coordinated by Europa Nostra have published the main findings and strategic recommendations for tapping into heritage’s full potential by providing compelling evidence of the value of cultural heritage and its impact on Europe’s economy, culture, society and the environment. The project’s key findings and recommendations were presented by Heritage Europe's Secretary General Brian Smith on behalf of the project partners at the CHCFE concluding conference held on 12 June at the University of Oslo and organised in conjunction with Europa Nostra’s Annual Congress 2015.

Download the project Final Report and Executive Summary

For further information on the project and the concluding conference visit the project website www.encatc.org/culturalheritagecountsforeurope


HORIZON 2020 - EU Commission Expert Group on "Cultural Heritage Research and Innovation".

'Getting cultural heritage to work for Europe’ - Final report available now (Download the Final Report here)

News Alert! European Commission – Directorate General for Research & Innovation

 'EU to increase funding for cultural heritage research and innovation'

In 2016-17, over €100 million for research and innovation in the field of cultural heritage will be available under Horizon 2020, the EU's research funding programme.

This increase in funding recognises cultural heritage as an investment opportunity where research and innovation can make a difference. This is one of the main conclusions of the report 'Getting cultural heritage to work for Europe’ which was handed over to Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation at a meeting in Brussels by the Expert Group including Brian Smith Heritage Europe's Secretary General.

More information: http://ec.europa.eu/research/index.cfm?pg=newsalert&year=2015&na=na-190615


EU Council Conclusions on Cultural Heritage adopted

For the first time ever, the Council of the European Union has adopted Conclusions on cultural heritage as a strategic resource for a sustainable Europe.

Under the leadership of the Hellenic Presidency of the European Union, the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council adopted these historic conclusions at its meeting on 21 May in Brussels. The conclusions call for more resources to be invested in cultural heritage and for the mainstreaming of cultural heritage in national and European policies. Member States are invited to consider including cultural heritage in the framework of the next Council Work Plan for Culture which will be implemented from 2015 onwards. 

Photos: © Council of the European Union

Here are the texts of the conclusions and the European Commission's full communication "Towards an integrated approach to cultural heritage for Europe"


European Capital of Culture2020 - Dubrovnik shortlisted

Dubrovnik City Council adopted a decision approving the candidature of the City of Dubrovnik for the  European Capital of Culture 2020 in November 2014. Following the recent meeting of the selection panel for the pre-selection phase of the competition in Croatia, Dubrovnik has been shortlisted from the original 9 cities to submit its revised application for final selection. The final selection meeting will take place in Zagreb at the end of January 2016.



Workshop “Sustainable Management Solutions / Sustainable Transport Solutions” - Dubrovnik 11-12 September 2014                                   

The 2 day workshop, hosted by the city of Dubrovnik and co-organised by the Croatian Association of Historic Towns and Heritage Europe with the support of partners “Adriatic IPA”, project “Ex. PO AUS” and projects ENCLOSE and LIFE+ PERHT, was held in the World Heritage City of Dubrovnik 11-12 September 2014. The workshops began with a press conference hosted and chaired by the Mayor of Dubrovnik Dr Andro Vlahusic with introductions from the speakers’ panel - Brian Smith Secretary General Heritage Europe, Giorgio Ambrosino project leader ENCLOSE, Jean-Michel Galley ANVPAH French National Association of Historic Towns, Christian Andexer Architect World Heritage

City of Graz, Austria.

Download the presentations


HISTCAPE - Final Conference

The HISTCAPE project’s final Open Conference took place at the Podsreda Castle, Slovenia on 16th September 2014 hosted by project partner the University of Ljubljana.

This international open event served as a conclusion to the project, but the HISTCAPE project does not finish here, it goes further. The title of the conference “The Legacy of the HISTCAPE Project” gives an indication of the commitment to build on the project and its findings in disseminating and sharing the good practice identified over the course of the project life.

Download the Final report and Good practice guide 

For information on the conference and summary of the project results visit: www.histcape.eu



European Heritage Alliance 3.3

Heritage Europe is working with Europa Nostra and a wide range of European heritage organisations in the newly formed European Heritage Alliance 3.3.

Heritage Europe's Secretary General Brian Smith said, speaking at the launch conference in Amsterdam in June 2011- "the time is now right for European heritage organisations to work together to ensure future EU policy reflects the needs of cultural heritage and historic towns".


A working group, including Heritage Europe, has been established and met for the first time in Brussels on September 7th 2011 with further meetings taking place in 2012 and 2013.The aim is to produce a strategy document to directly influence future EU policy on cultural and natural heritage.

A letter setting out the Alliance's aims, co-signed by Heritage Europe's Secretary General Brian Smith and Europa Nostra's Secretary General Sneska Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic, has been sent to European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou along with the first jointly produced document "Towards an EU Strategy for Cultural Heritage - The Case for Research"

Read more... Members... Letter...

As part of this new joint approach Heritage Europe is backing the "we are more" campaign launched by Culture Action Europe in partnership with the European Cultural Foundation.For more information on the European Heritage Alliance 3.3 and to give your support to the campaign - click here

For more information on the European Heritage Alliance visit the website www.europeanheritagealliance.eu


Creative Europe

Creative Europe replaces the MEDIA, MEDIA Mundus and Culture programmes. With a total budget of € 1.4 billion (2014 – 2020), Creative Europe represents a budget increase of 9 % compared to the previous programmes. A political agreement was reached, the European Parliament approving the new programme on 19 November, and  adopted by the Council. Creative Europe entered into force in January 2014.

Creative Europe will build on the successes of the previous programmes. The aim is to further strengthen cross border cooperation between the creative sectors within the EU and beyond. Through Creative Europe the cultural and creative sectors will contribute to cultural diversity as well as to growth and jobs in Europe in line with the "Europe 2020 Strategy" for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

Latest information can be found at the website


Dates for your Diary….


31st August 2016 Berlin, Germany.Expert Workshop "THE EUROPEAN CITY AND ITS HERITAGE - HISTORICAL LAYERS OF THE EUROPEAN CITY".The workshop is organised by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety and the German Cultural Heritage Committee. For more details contact nicola.halder-hass@complangmbh.de

22-24 September 2016 Dubrovnik,Croatia. The Best in Heritage. 2016 sees the 15th edition of the Best in Heritage awards which takes place in the Unesco World Heritage Site of Dubrovnik. For more information contact info@bestinheritage.com

7 December 2016 Brussels, Belgium. Policy seminar and workshop'CULTURAL HERITAGE, DISASTER RESILIENCE AND CLIMATE CHANGE:THE CONTRIBUTION OF EU RESEARCH AND INNOVATION' The event is organized by the European Commission - DG Research and Innovation, to discuss how to increase disaster resilience of cultural heritage sites in the face of climate change and natural hazards.Detailed programme, list of speakers and registration will be available shortly through the link http://europa.eu/!Jy84Pr

8-9 December 2016 Berlin,Germany.The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety will be hosting the 2nd European Congress “European Cities and their Heritage” on the topic of “The Faces of History in European Cities” in Berlin on 8 and 9 December 2016. Further information about the congress and information on how to register can be found on the website www.kongress-erbe-der-stadt.de.


PERHT –this project comes under the LIFE + 2011programme “Environmental Policy and Governance”. Aimed at small to medium sized historic towns it aims to look at issues related to transport (people and goods) and mobility in their historic urban centres.

Heritage Europe is a partner in this European project which was approved for EU funding at the beginning of October 2012. The project "kick off" meeting was held in Treviso Italy on the 22nd October 2012.

Click here for the project outline

For more details and up to date information on the project's progress go to www.perht-lifeplus.org



ENCLOSE: An IEE (Intelligent Energy Europe) programme project looking at logistics problems facing small and medium size historic towns.

Targeted actions are proposed to increase the energy efficiency of freight distribution in historic urban areas.


The Final ENCLOSE International Conference “Planning energy efficient city logistics policies and measures in small and mid-sized European cities" was held on the 22th of October 2014, in Brussels (Belgium).The event, hosted by the Permanent representation of Spain to the European Union, was a great success due to the high number of participants from all over Europe. 
During a networking cocktail, participants were introduced to the ENCLOSE project towns and other project partners. A dedicated poster session organised at the start of the conference offered a good networking opportunity for delegates and an introduction to the ENCLOSE project’s activities.

The purpose of the event was to network and disseminate results of the 9 small and medium-sized European cities of the ENCLOSE project and to share other’s experiences on sustainable city logistics within Europe. The workshop/conference discussed common issues, challenges and results with a number of European stakeholders and Municipalities.

Visit www.enclose.eu for project details and updates and for the latest project newsletter click here



Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe (CHCFE)

The project aims to raise greater awareness on the multiple benefits of cultural heritage and present policy recommendations for tapping into the full potential of heritage. This cooperation project brings together 6 organisations representing 4 different countries (Belgium, The Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom). Through the extensive European networks of all partners, and in particular through the close involvement of the policy grouping “European Heritage Alliance 3.3.” with its 29 participating European or international networks active in the field of heritage, the project will mobilise participation from all over Europe and thereby take on a truly pan-European scope. The project’s work will result in a European mapping of both qualitative and quantitative evidence-based research carried out at the European, national, regional, local and/or sectoral levels.

Information on the project and latest newsletter can be found on theprojectwebsite-



SHUC- A Sustainable Future for the Historic Urban Core” a JPI - JHEP JOINT PILOT TRANSNATIONAL CALL for Joint Research Projects on Cultural Heritage.

The project proposes to establish a collaborative network of researchers with a common interest in changing practices in urban planning and management of historic cities. It brings together research on planning practices for the historic urban core from three countries to apply a common theoretical framework.


The project held its first workshop and seminar on the 6th November 2014 in Newcastle, UK.

As part of the workshop presentations were given by project partners from Delft and Dublin on the issues in their countries along with supporting case studies as well as case studies from each of the project’s English partners.

Click here for the workshop programme and download the workshop presentations.


Read the full project proposal here



HISTCAPE: "HISTorical assets and related landsCAPE"

This INTERREG IVC project will focus on small historic towns and the preservation of rural historic assets. Heritage Europe is one of 12 partners in this project representing 12 regions spread over 11 EU countries. The geographical spread will enable the project to address shared problems at local, regional, national and European levels.

HISTCAPE aims to arrest the decline of historical assets in rural areas. It plans to do this by developing sustainable management solutions to help responsible bodies develop a more dynamic view of cultural heritage assets in rural areas.

For the project overview -

Latest news on the project and activities can be found at                     www.histcape.eu


HerO Project

HerO logo.TIFHerO - “Heritage as Opportunity” was an Urbact II project looking at a methodology for a more integrated approach to the management of historic towns.In particular it showed how historic towns can benefit from EU structural funds. The project partners worked closely with Heritage Europe in the development and production of the final documents.The 'Road to Success' reports now published provide details about the project (the HerO Brochure). Policy recommendations are aimed at the Mayors and decision makers of Europe's historic cities. The Guidebook shows how to deliver a more integrated approach to the sustainable mangement of historic towns and is aimed at practioners. Flagship projects list succesful projects that have attracted significant funding form the European Structural  Funds and the Good Practice compilation sets out a wide range of case studies from the partner cities. Lastly the Strategy Paper aims to influence future EU policy presenting the case for more priority to be given to realising the untapped potential of cultural heritage in the period 2014 -2020. Download your copies nowclick on the individual reports here:


The HerO Brochure  

The Policy

The Guidebook   Flagship Projects
The Good Practice
  The Strategy Paper


For more information on the HerO Project visit www.urbact.eu/hero .

Printed versions of all documents are also available – please contact via e-mail to: welterbe@regensburg.de


INHERIT - Investing in Heritage

A Guide to Succesful Urban Regeneration

'Investing in Heritage – A guide to successful Urban Regeneration' presents a powerful and convincing analysis of good practice with clear recommendations aimed at local and regional authorities across Europe, on how to successfully regenerate cities through investing in heritage.

The full report is now available on-line.

Full Report pdf (2.69mb)


Sustainable Cultural Tourism - Guidelines

Heritage Europe set up a working group of experts to produce the Sustainable Cultural Tourism Guidelines which were completed in 2010.

The purpose of these guidelines is to show
how cultural tourism can be developed to
realise its economic and social potential but
in a more sustainable way.
The guidelines aim to achieve an integrated
and consistent approach to promoting
cultural tourism.

The Guidelines are intended for use principally by policy makers and practitioners within municipalities and those governmental agencies best placed to influence more sustainable approaches to cultural tourism.
They are designed to help decision makers openly assess their current approach and to develop a clear plan of action relevant to local circumstances.


The Sustainable Cultural Tourism Guidelines are available as a download in both summary and full versions. Printed copies of the summary are also available in both English and French – please contact the Secretariat at: - european-association@historic-towns.org



New Members

Heritage Europe's campaign to attract new members continues with particular emphasis on individual towns/cities. Go to Members to see the full listing.


        Heritage Europe - Join Us

                 By working together you can help us represent the vital interests of
                                       European Historic Towns and Regions.

To “Join Us” E-mail your details TODAY to:




Historic Towns Working Together

Visit: www.historic-towns.org

Email: european-association@historic-towns.org

Secretariat: EAHTR, The Guildhall, Gaol Hill, Norwich, NR2 1JS, UK

Norwich City Council             

This website has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein."

The European Association of Historic Towns and Regions Ltd (EAHTR) is a ‘Public Equivalent Body’, a ‘not for profit’ legal entity . Its company number is 4411400 registered under UK law. The name ‘Heritage Europe’ is used for the purposes of marketing and publicity as provided for under item 1.1 of the EAHTR Constitution agreed by its General Assembly in September 2004.


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