The European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards were launched by the European Commission in 2002 and have been run in partnership with Europa Nostra ever since. The Awards are supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. Countries associated with the Creative Europe programme receive the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards.

The Awards celebrate and promote the highest standards in heritage interventions, research, and education, training and awareness-raising, as well the longstanding dedication of professionals and volunteers. The achievements recognised throughout the lifespan of the Awards scheme are a testament to the dynamic and vibrant heritage of Europe and of the dedication with which it is celebrated and cared for across the continent.

            A stepping stone to further success

For the laureates

The laureates of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards become part of a pan-European network, promoting knowledge sharing and trans-frontier exchanges. They have reported a multitude of short and long-term benefits, such as increased networking and professional opportunities across Europe; increased footfall to the heritage sites that they manage; and funding and other development opportunities.

The Awards are recognised as Europe’s most prestigious honour in the heritage field. As a result, the Awards bring local, national and European visibility and recognition to the winners. And not just to the award-winning projects themselves but also to their countries and local communities!

The Awards encourage follow-on projects and further funding. For example, for some projects, receiving an Award has facilitated participation in EU-funded projects, high-level conferences, receiving other Awards and recognitions, and eventual listing as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In conclusion, the Award itself is not the final destination: it can also be a stepping stone for the receiver to further develop the awarded project!

For the heritage sector

The Awards provide a wide-ranging portfolio of high-quality examples which help to illustrate best practices and promote the exchange of ideas and approaches. The Awards scheme constitutes a rich database of best practices in heritage, which are geographically and thematically diverse. This database is also widely used for research purposes.

For policy-makers

Best practice heritage projects which operate at local/national level and have a high social value are key to building a narrative on how cultural heritage contributes to Europe’s most pressing challenges. This is particularly important in these times of unprecedented crisis, where the heritage sector must, once again, assert a solid case to prove its value.

The awarded projects feed into wider policy debates, including in terms of support for campaigning for heritage protection, and supporting education and training in the cultural heritage sector. Many of them are made possible thanks to EU funding, which is also interesting in policy terms.

Europe’s top honour in the heritage field

Hermann Parzinger

Executive President