European Heritage Days are celebrated all over the Continent in order to mark European unity, to share stories of common values and to ensure that the past isn’t forgotten. In Berlin, these special days are celebrated in September — and the “Day of the Open Monument” opening is on September 13. The goal of this day is to encourage Europeans to take interest in their heritage and to undertake initiatives to preserve historical monuments. Use European Heritage Days to learn more about all the interesting countries and people in Europe.
European Heritage Days timeline
Common European Heritage Days' theme
A permanent slogan, “Europe, a Common Heritage,” is created.
A joint effort
Scattered heritage events in various countries come together as "European Heritage Days." The initiative is spearheaded by the Council of Europe and supported by the European Union (EU).
First Heritage Days held in France
Sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, this debut event is initiated in France with La Journée Portes Ouvertes (Open House).
How to Observe European Heritage Days
Take a guided tour
Conservators arrange special guided tours of ancient monuments while archaeologists and craftspeople demonstrate their work during this time. These special places are closed to the public during the rest of the year.
Donate to preserve history
Conserving and restoring historical buildings is important work. The double whammy of hordes of tourists and disruptive climate change makes preservation work even more urgent. It's very expensive and your donation can make all the difference in the world.
Organize a cultural event
Lots of Americans are enthralled by the beauty, history and culture of Europe. You can educate your friends and have a great time by planning a special European Heritage Days event. Plan a talk or have a luncheon with miniature flags from each featured country as part of the decorations. Keep it festive yet educational!
5 Cool Things To Spark Your Interest In Going To European Heritage Days
The Council of Europe initiative has a number of local events that attract about 20 million people every year!
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 AD 796.
One person — hundreds of sites
It’s a record! Bill Altafeffer claims to have visited 720 World Heritage Sites.
You get only one month in Germany
For the past several years, European Heritage Days and Day of the Open Monument have been taking place only in September.
Get an extended history lesson
History buffs flock to Germany to see rare artifacts, hear ancient songs and see unique dances during European Heritage Days.
Why European Heritage Days is Important
It celebrates a shared cultural heritage
Fifty states in Europe, including Germany, celebrate European Heritage Days. In a world that grows more fractious every day, shared European values can bind people together.
It preserves history
The past must always point to the future. During the Heritage Days, every country encourages people to embrace a shared history and culture and, at the same time, to be open to the new and the different.
It’s a chance to see famous monuments
In Germany, as well as in other European cities, history-defining monuments are open to the public only during the European Heritage Days.