European Heritage Days are celebrated all over the Continent in order to mark European unity, share stories of common values, and to ensure that the past isn’t forgotten. In Berlin they are celebrated in September — and the “Day of the Open Monument” opening day is on September 9. This year the motto is “Discover what connects us.” The purpose is to encourage people to take interest in their heritage and take initiatives to preserve monuments.
European Heritage Days - History
Common European Heritage Days Theme
This was the year when a permanent slogan, “Europe, a common heritage” was created.
A Joint Effort
Scattered heritage events in various countries get united as European Heritage Days. The initiative was taken by the Council of Europe and supported by the EU.
First Heritage Days Held in France
Sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, this event first took place in France with La Journée Portes Ouvertes (Open House).
How to Observe European Heritage Days
1. Go for a guided tour
Conservators arrange special guided tours of ancient monuments while archaeologists and craftsmen demonstrate their work during this time. These special places are not open to the public during the rest of the year.
2. Make a donation
Conserving and restoring historical buildings is expensive and every little donation counts.
3. Organize a cultural event for your community
Want to help this cause? Take the lead and plan an event that brings awareness about European culture and unity.
5 Interesting Facts About European Heritage Days That Will Blow Your Mind
1. Millions participate
The Council of Europe initiative has a number of local events that attract about 20 million people every year!
2. One of the first UNESCO world heritage sites was in Germany
Aachen Cathedral in Aachen, Germany was inscribed in 1978. The cathedral dates back to 796 AD.
3. One person — hundreds of sites
It’s a record! Bill Altafeffer claims to have visited 720 World Heritage Sites.
4. In Germany it takes place only in September
For the past several years, European Heritage Days and Day of the Open Monument has been taking place only in September.
5. Experts give guided tours
Once a year, history buffs get this special treat. They don’t just get to see monuments that are usually closed to public, they also get to meet archaeologists, craftsmen, and conservators.
Why European Heritage Days is Important
A. It celebrates a shared cultural heritage
Fifty states in Europe, including Germany, participate because they believe that their shared European values can bind them together.
B. It preserves history
The past must always have a place in the future and so, during the Heritage Days, every country encourages people to embrace history and preserve their monuments.
C. It’s a chance to see famous monuments
In Germany as well as other places in Europe, some monuments are open to public only during the European Heritage Days.