From Left to Right standing: Walter Zampieri, Brian Smith, Sneska Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic, Prof. Jacek Purchla, Former Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou, Prof. Koen Van Baelen, Denis de Kergorlay, Irene Braam, Piet Jaspaert
From Left to Right kneeling: Danae Anastopoulos-Chaimowicz, Aziliz Vandesande, Louise van Rijckevorsel
Photo: Detlef Grosse

Keeping the momentum for cultural heritage that has been so visible in Europe for the past two years with the adoption of major policy documents by all EU institutions, and most recently by the European Parliament with the adoption on 8 September of the Resolution of the European Parliament “Towards an integrated approach to cultural heritage for Europe”, members of the Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe consortium organised a special networking event to officially present the CHCFE final publication in Brussels. Led by the CHCFE project leader, Europa Nostra and its corporate partner Bertelsmann, the event was held on the evening of 22 September 2015 at the Bertelsmann’s Brussels Office.

The event was attended by former European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou, as special guest, as well as by officials of various European Commission Directorate Generals, representatives of the Permanent Representations of EU Member States and Members of the European Heritage Alliance. The directors of the two research partners, Professor Jacek Purchla of the International Cultural Centre in Krakow and Professor Koen Van Baelen of the Raymond Lemaire Centre for Conservation, briefly presented the Full Report ‘Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe’. The Report is the result of a two-year project supported by the Culture Programme of the European Union which provides compelling evidence of the impact of cultural heritage on the economy, society, culture and the environment.

In their presentation, they highlighted some key findings which are particularly relevant for EU policy circles: first, that cultural heritage represents a great potential for return in investment in fields as varied as employment and job creation, regional attractiveness, quality of life, climate change, education, lifelong learning and social cohesion; second, that cultural heritage can become a major driver of sustainable development when policies and investments related to all these fields are well coordinated; and third, that until now this full potential still remains largely untapped.

Following the presentations, former European Commissioner, Androulla Vassiliou, warmly thanked the researchers for producing such an important document, which provides relevant, factual information necessary to substantiate heritage policies across policy fields, thereby contributing to the implementation of a truly integrated approach to cultural heritage at all levels of governance.

Irene Braam, Senior Vice-President Government Relations and Head of the Bertelsmann Brussels Liaison Office, was delighted to host this event. “Bertelsmann is very proud to be the corporate partner of Europa Nostra. We also congratulate the authors of the important book “Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe” to the printing of which Bertelsmann was glad to contribute”.

The holding of this event was particularly timely, one week prior to the debate organised by the Italian and Spanish Permanent Representations on the proposal to establish 2018 as the European Year of Cultural Heritage entitled ‘A European Year of Cultural Heritage: sharing heritage, a common challenge’ (on 28 September 2015) and one month before the European Culture Forum was scheduled to be held by the European Commission (which was unfortunately cancelled due for security reasons).