European Heritage Days

European Heritage Days

European Heritage Days (EHD) is a joint action of the Council of Europe and the European Commission involving all 49 signatory states of the European Cultural Convention under the motto, "Europe: a common heritage". The annual programme offers opportunities to visit buildings, monuments and sites, many of which are not normally accessible to the public. It aims to widen access and foster care for architectural and environmental heritage. These events are also known as Doors Open Days and Open Doors Days in English-speaking countries.

The event began in France in 1984, with "La Journée Portes Ouvertes", sponsored by the Ministry of Culture. In 1985, in Granada, at the 2nd European Conference of Ministers responsible for Architectural Heritage, the French Minister of Culture proposed that the project be internationalised under the Council of Europe. The Netherlands held their first "Open Monumentendag" in 1987. Sweden and the Republic of Ireland joined in 1989, and Belgium and Scotland in 1990.

In 1991 these events were united as European Heritage Days at the initiative of the Council of Europe, supported by the EU. By 1996, 40 countries in Eastern and Western Europe were involved, including the rest of the United Kingdom, and in 1997 the largest state in Europe, Russia, joined. In 2000, for the first time, all 47 signatory states of the European Cultural Convention took part in European Heritage Days, with the arrival of Azerbaijan. In 2003, the number of signatories and participants rose to 49 with the inclusion of Serbia and Montenegro.

The Directorate General IV – Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport of the Council of Europe, in close cooperation with the Directorate General for Education and Culture of the European Commission, ensures the general orientation, definition and execution of the tasks to be achieved within the framework of the EHD. The Secretariat of the EHD is carried out by the Directorate of Culture and Cultural and Natural Heritage, under the responsibility of the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee for Cultural Heritage.

The idea has been taken up outside Europe, too, with similar schemes in Canada, the USA, Australia, and other lands, at different times of year.

See also

* European Heritage Open Days

External links

* [ European Heritage Days] — includes links to the national sites of all participants

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