European Heritage Days (EHDs), a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, are the most widely celebrated participatory cultural events shared by the citizens of Europe.

The pan-European nature of the events contribute to bringing citizens together and highlighting the European dimension and the value of cultural heritage in 50 States, signatories of the European Cultural Convention. Over 70,000 events are organised every year in order to help raise awareness of Europe's common heritage and the continuous need for its protection, as well as to create shared cultural heritage experiences, promote inclusiveness and foster creativity and imagination.

The Council of Europe launched the initiative in 1985, and in 1999 was joined by the European Union to create the joint action, which has continued up to the present day. Conceivably, the Programme, which can boast up to 20 million visitors every year, generates the greatest value, Euro for Euro, of any “European” cultural project.

EHD events take place in the 50 countries party to the European Cultural Convention. During this time, doors are opened to numerous monuments and sites, allowing Europe’s citizens to enjoy free visits and learn about their shared cultural heritage and encouraging them to become actively involved in the safeguarding and enhancement of this heritage for present and future generations.

Aims of European Heritage Days

  • Raise the awareness of European citizens to the richness and cultural diversity of Europe.
  • Create a climate in which the appreciation of the rich mosaic of European cultures is stimulated.
  • Counter racism and xenophobia and encourage greater tolerance in Europe and beyond the national borders.
  • Inform the public and the political authorities about the need to protect cultural heritage against new threats.
  • Invite Europe to respond to the social, political and economic challenges it faces.