The legacy of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage

During the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage, a plethora of activities took place all across Europe. On 27 November 2018, EU Ministers of Culture adopted conclusions on the Work Plan for Culture 2019-2027, highlighting the importance of ensuring the legacy of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage. The document, building on the previous multiannual plans of 2011-2014 and 2015-2018, defines working methods for policy collaboration on culture in the European Union.

To build on the momentum created during the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage, the European Commission presented on 7 December 2018 the European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage. Specifically, the Framework for Action aims to set a common direction for heritage-related activities at European level, primarily in EU policies and programmes. 

What is covered in the European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage?

The Framework for Action looks at cultural heritage as a resource for the future and emphasises the need for an integrated approach across different EU policies. In addition, the document  calls for evidence-based decision-making in the cultural heritage field and highlights the importance of multi-stakeholder cooperation when designing and implementing cultural heritage policies and programmes.

The Pillars

The Framework for Action is based on five pillars, and a limited number of clusters of actions corresponds to each pillar:

Pillar 1: Cultural heritage for an inclusive Europe: participation and access for all

  • The actions will be focused on improving accessibility and engaging the wider public, school children and young people, including via digital means.

Pillar 2: Cultural heritage for a sustainable Europe: smart solutions for a cohesive and sustainable future;

  • The actions will be dedicated to developing integrated solutions to urban and regional challenges, encouraging the restoration of heritage buildings, and improving policies on sustainable cultural tourism. These actions will also promote Europe's natural heritage.

Pillar 3: Cultural heritage for a resilient Europe: safeguarding endangered heritage;

  • The document entails actions aiming at fighting against illicit trafficking of cultural goods; raising the quality of physical interventions on cultural heritage and protecting cultural heritage against natural disasters and climate change.

Pillar 4: Cultural heritage for an innovative Europe: mobilising knowledge and research

  • The actions under this pillar will aim at capitalising on technological tools for innovation on cultural heritage; fostering social innovation; and strengthening skills in the field of cultural heritage.

Pillar 5: Cultural heritage for stronger global partnerships: reinforcing international cooperation.

  • The actions will target geographical zones and aim at strengthening international cooperation on heritage.

A detailed description of all the clusters of actions, and the activities that they comprise, can be found in the Annex which is an integral part of the document.

While the European Commission has the lead for the implementation of the activities, the success of the European Framework for Action will depend on the engagement of other EU institutions, the EU Member States, local and regional authorities, cultural heritage organisations and citizens. The Framework for Action can also serve as an inspiration for regions and cities in Europe when developing their own actions on cultural heritage.