The winners of the 2018 EU Prize for Cultural Heritage were announced today by the European Commission and Europa Nostra, a pan-European network of heritage NGOs. 29 laureates from 17 countries were recognised for their accomplishments in conservation, research, dedicated service, and education, training and awareness-raising. As a contribution to the European Year of Cultural Heritage, this year’s awards put special emphasis on the European added value of the selected heritage achievements.
The winners will be honoured at a high-profile award ceremony on 22 June in Berlin, during the first ever European Cultural Heritage Summit, where the top 7 of the winners will receive €10,000 each. The awards bring major benefits to all winners, such as international exposure, follow-on funding and increased visitor numbers.
Among the European heritage “success stories” awarded in 2018 are the rehabilitation of a Byzantine church in Greece, the development of a new method to conserve the heritage of Europe’s historic houses, and the dedication of an international network of NGOs committed to the protection of Venice for over 30 years.
The majority of the awarded projects are located in EU member states but projects in Georgia, Norway and Turkey were also awarded. A special project concerned the restoration of the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai dating from 565 BC. The work was carried out in collaboration between Egypt, Greece and Italy.
Belgium was also included among the winners in the Ief Postino project, an awareness-raising project addressing the history of migration in Europe, specifically between the Belgian province of Limburg and Italy. The project used traditional communication methods to revive the links between the communities in both countries.
“Our Award winners are living proof that our cultural heritage is far more than the memory of our past; it is key to understanding our present and a resource for our future,” stated Plácido Domingo, the renowned opera singer and President of Europa Nostra.
Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, added that, “Cultural heritage in all its different forms is one of Europe’s most precious assets… It is central to our identity as Europeans and also has a vital role in driving social and economic development.”
Independent juries of experts examined a total of 160 applications, submitted by organisations and individuals from 31 countries across Europe, and selected the winners.