Thousands of events organised across Europe as part of European Heritage Days
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Thousands of events organised across Europe as part of European Heritage Days

The home of the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region once housed the Provincial Council of Brabant and its administrative staff, © Brussels Parliament

The European Heritage Days, a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Commission since 1999, are the most widely celebrated participatory cultural events shared by people living in Europe and will start in September.

The pan-European programme brings citizens together and highlights the European dimension of cultural heritage in the 50 signatory States of the European Council Convention. Up to 70,000 events are organised each year to help promote this common heritage and the need for its preservation for present and future generations.

This year will celebrate Inclusive and Diverse Heritage to encourage broad engagement with culture, foster and celebrate diversity, and emphasise the benefits of interacting with individuals and communities from different cultural backgrounds.

After a year marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the European Heritage Days (EHD) will celebrate the re-opening of heritage sites and will offer everyone an opportunity to meet and share. A wide range of cultural events taking place mostly in September and October will include exhibitions, workshops, performances, guided tours and many other activities.

Breaking down barriers will be at the heart of this year’s events, from ensuring that they can be enjoyed by people with a sensory or physical disability to linking inclusive heritage to railway heritage with a view to encouraging travel across regions and improving accessibility of EHD events for persons with reduced mobility in the context of the 2021 European Year of Rail.

Two European cross-frontier co-operation initiatives are also being implemented to promote inclusion and diversity. The project “Heritage, Women’s Legacy” led by Spain in partnership with France, Italy, Romania, Slovenia and England, aims to achieve greater equality between men and women and greater presence and visibility of women’s contributions to common European cultural heritage.

Another initiative, “Our queer cultural heritage”, led by Scotland in collaboration with partners in Germany and Ukraine, seeks to highlight the history of access and participation in the world of sports.

For Belgium as many as 1142 events can be found in the EHD portal.

The current health crisis has underlined the importance of meeting physically to discuss and share experiences. In the Brussels-Capital Region, the Heritage Days this year are dedicated to the theme “Meeting Points”. The events/meetings will take place on 18 – 19 September.

To ensure that the Heritage Days in Brussels can go ahead as safely and seamlessly as possible, visits to sites and participation in activities must be booked in advance. Bookings can be made online from 1 September on this website.

The Brussels Times