The EU has made 2018 the European Year of Cultural Heritage to highlight the diversity, shared history and rich cultures that make Europe today.
Cultural heritage plays an important role in the history and identity of Europe’s countries and indeed of the continent as a whole. It is a vital part of Europe’s economy and promoting cultural treasures will help to boost growth and employment.
The European Year of Cultural Heritage aims to enhance the contribution of Europe’s rich cultural traditions to economy and society, and to promote culture as an important element of the EU’s international presence. The promotion of the value of cultural heritage is also a direct response to the deliberate destruction of cultural treasures in the Middle East of late.
Throughout the year thousands of activities will take place across Europe to involve people more closely with cultural heritage at local, regional, national and European levels. You can find the list of the events in your country here.
A European Commission study shows that an estimated 300,000 people work directly in the EU’s cultural sector and as many as 7.8 million jobs are created indirectly by the sector.
According to a Eurobarometer survey released on 7 December, more than eight out of ten Europeans think cultural heritage is important to them personally and to their local community. Eight out of ten think cultural heritage is important for the European Union. Almost eight out of ten respondents agree Europe’s cultural heritage or cultural heritage-related activities create jobs in the EU.
In April 2017 MEPs voted in favour of making 2018 the European Year of Cultural Heritage and secured a budget of €8 million from existing funds for promotional activities throughout the year.
Mircea Diaconu, a Romanian ALDE member and author of Parliament’s report on this initiative, said: “We want to bring cultural heritage back to the public consciousness, give it the dignity it deserves and strengthen our identity. At the same time, we can rediscover what makes us European.” He added that studies have shown that investing one euro in culture gives a return of more than €20.