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European project HERITAGE HUBS wins European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award 2021!

Brussels / The Hague, 25 May 2021

The European Commission and Europa Nostra have just announced the 2021 winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards, the EU prize for cultural heritage funded by the Creative Europe programme. This year, Europe’s top honour in the heritage field goes to 24 exemplary achievements from 18 European countries (for the full list see below). Among this year’s winners is HERITAGE HUBS with a consortium composed of Finland, Spain, Serbia and Italy, in the category of Education, Training and Awareness-raising.The announcement of the Award winners 2021 has just been made at a live online event co-hosted by Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, and Hermann Parzinger, Executive President of Europa Nostra.  The Award winners were selected by independent juries composed of heritage experts from across Europe, upon evaluation of candidatures submitted by organisations and individuals from 30 European countries.


Heritage Hubs brought together young people aged 10-16 from Finland, Serbia and Spain in a twoyear programme aimed at exploring, presenting and sharing their own cultural heritage and interpreting the heritage of other countries through exchange visits and an e-learning platform. The project was coordinated by the Association of Cultural Heritage Education in Finland (AHEF) in collaboration with La Fundación San Millán de la Cogolla (FSMC) in Spain, Urban Development Centre (UDC) in Serbia, and VITECO e-Learning solutions in Italy.The project received funding from the EU Creative Europe programme as part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland, the Finnish National Agency for Education, the Serbian Ministry of Culture and Information, and the Serbian Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development.

In 2018-2019, Heritage Hubs pilot projects were organised in 11 primary and secondary schools in Finland, Serbia and Spain. These projects included teacher training and heritage workshops with pupils first engaged with their own cultural heritage.Then they were involved in testing, interpreting and presenting the heritage of other countries, both online and during exchange visits. To ensure an impact beyond the participating pilot schools, the Heritage Hubs organised external events, training an impressive total of more than 800 teachers.

The jury particularly appreciated the methodology of the project:“Heritage Hubs provided a solid methodology on heritage education, implemented by many schools. The programme partners are given the opportunity to develop their skills. Many materials were produced, also in digital format, tohelp the creative interaction with the wider community. This includes a combination of virtual and non-virtual heritage experiences through transmedia narratives and multisensory activities. The educational approach is based on the concept of learning from heritage: participants ‘exchange’ their heritage with others, learning through other cultures and experiences”. 

The project has enabled countless cultural discoveries by pupils, teachers and local communities. For example, pupils from Grocka, Serbia, presented the Serbian Orthodox festival ‘Slava’ to their partners in Kirkkonummi, Finland. These pupils came to see their heritage in a different light, thanks to the interpretation of ‘Slava’ by the Finnish pupils, who designed it in analogy to their Lutheran (but originally Catholic) tradition of St Lucia.
As well as helping the pupils to overcome pre-existing cultural prejudices and to increase their respect and curiosity towards the culture and heritage of their peers, the Heritage Hubs handbook was created, presenting the final format of the HH heritage education methodology and the practical ways of applying it. All the results were made available on the HH Virtual library, created by the Ignacio Larramendi Foundation and added to large European repositories, such as HISPANA and Europeana. “The network they have built is solid and reaches several countries in Europe. It is built on synergies with other European projects such as European Heritage Days and Europeana, thus increasing the impact achieved. There are also ideas for the future of the project that demonstrate its sustainability,” said the jury.

Speaking at the online event, European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel said: “The winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2021 are ambassadors of the beauty of heritage in Europe, whether it be traditions and know-how, breath-taking architecture or the way that heritage can unite communities and generations. I truly believe that the successful preservation of our tangible and intangible heritage depends on the commitment of the people behind it. With these awards, we therefore honour all those exceptional men and women, heritage professionals, architects, scientists and volunteers who bring our common heritage closer to our hearts. Their vision should be applauded.”  

Europa Nostra’s Executive President Hermann Parzinger stated: “Each year, the winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards exemplify the incomparable creativity and commitment of those who work to protect, valorise and pass on Europe’s precious inheritance to the next generation. This year’s laureates powerfully demonstrate how heritage offers solutions and paths to recovery in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges, as we take action for the climate, mobilise for sustainable urban and rural development and tackle the many threats to our core European values. We applaud their outstanding achievements: may they serve as inspiration and encouragement for future action for so many heritage professionals and enthusiasts across Europe and beyond.”

Heritage supporters and enthusiasts from across the world are now encouraged to discover the winners and vote online to decide who will win this year’s Public Choice Award. The Public Choice Award winner will be announced during the European Heritage Awards Ceremony, which will take place in the autumn of this year. The Grand Prix laureates, each of whom will receive a monetary award of €10,000, will also be made public on this occasion.

2021 Award Winners

Category Conservation  

Gare Maritime, Brussels, BELGIUM Fredensborg Palace Garden, DENMARK Vardzia Rock-Cut Complex, GEORGIA Haus Am Horn, Weimar, GERMANY Plaka Bridge, Epirus, GREECE 18 Ormond Quay Upper, Dublin, IRELAND Wooden Church of Urși Village, Vâlcea County, ROMANIA Besòs Water Tower, Barcelona, SPAIN Mas de Burot, Els Ports Natural Park, SPAIN

Category Research  

FIBRANET – FIBRes in ANcient European Textiles, DENMARK/GREECE Control Shift – European Industrial Heritage Reuse in Review, GREECE/NETHERLANDS ART-RISK – Artificial Intelligence Applied to Preventive Conservation, SPAIN

Category Dedicated Service to Heritage by Organisations & Individuals 

Gjirokastra Foundation, ALBANIA Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, CYPRUS Rita Bargna, ITALY GEFAC – Group of Ethnography and Folklore of the Academy of Coimbra, PORTUGAL

Category Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

Following in the Steps of Bulgarian Folklore, BULGARIA Heritage Hubs, FINLAND/ITALY/SERBIA/SPAIN The Invention of a Guilty Party, Trento, ITALY Holidays! In the East and West – The School Church, Groningen, THE NETHERLANDS European Solidarity Centre – Permanent Exhibition, Gdańsk, POLAND Morón Artisan Lime, Morón de la Frontera, SPAIN Archaeology at Home, UNITED KINGDOM Morus Londinium: London’s Heritage through Trees, UNITED KINGDOM


Europa Nostra Audrey Hogan, Programmes Officer, T. +31 70 302 40 52; M. +31 63 1 17 84 55

Joana Pinheiro, Communications Coordinator, M. +31 6 34 36 59 85

European Commission Susanne Conze, +32 2 2980236

HERITAGE HUBS Coordinator Kati Nurmi, +358 400 937 081