Brussels / The Hague, 13 June 2023
The European Commission and Europa Nostra have announced today the winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2023. This year, 30 outstanding heritage achievements from 21 countries have been awarded Europe’s top honour in the field (see the full list below). Among this year’s winners is Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online, an initiative launched on 1 March 2022. SUCHO quickly garnered the support of approximately 1,000 volunteers within the first week of its launch to safeguard the digital cultural heritage of Ukraine amidst the ongoing Russian invasion.
The 30 winners were selected by the Jury, composed of heritage experts from across Europe, upon evaluation by the Selection Committees that are responsible for examining award applications, which this year were submitted by organisations and individuals from 35 European countries.
Cecilia Bartoli, the world-renowned mezzo-soprano and President of Europa Nostra, stated: “I warmly congratulate this year’s winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards on their well-deserved recognition. They are inspiring examples which truly contribute to building a more beautiful, sustainable and inclusive Europe. Their success stories demonstrate how adversity can be overcome through pooling expertise, dedication, creativity and innovation. I look forward to meeting them in person and celebrating all the winners at the European Heritage Awards Ceremony in our beloved World Heritage City of Venice”.
The winners will be celebrated atthe European Heritage Awards Ceremony on 28 September in the Palazzo del Cinemain Venice. This prestigious event will be honoured with the participation of Cecilia Bartoli, President of Europa Nostra. Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission, is also expected to attend this high-level event.During the ceremony, the Grand Prix laureates and the Public Choice Award winner, chosen from among this year’s winners and entitled to receive €10,000 each, will be announced.The ceremony will be a highlight of the European Cultural Heritage Summit 2023, organised by Europa Nostra with the support of the European Commission, on 27-30 September in the World Heritage City of Venice.
Heritage supporters and enthusiasts are now encouraged to discover the winners and vote online to decide who will win the Public Choice Award 2023, entitled to receive a monetary award of €10,000.
Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online (SUCHO) is an extraordinary initiative to safeguard the digital cultural heritage of Ukraine amidst the ongoing Russian invasion. Anna Kijas (Tufts University, US), Quinn Dombrowski (Stanford University, US) and Sebastian Majstorovic (European University Institute, Italy) launched the initiative on 1 March 2022. SUCHO quickly garnered the support of approximately 1,000 volunteers within the first week of its launch. Unlike other rapid-response projects, SUCHO stands out due to its remarkable scale and scope.
While the preservation of physical cultural heritage in Ukraine received considerable media attention, the vulnerability of digital cultural heritage became increasingly apparent. Digitised content and born-digital materials, including photographs and other files stored on servers, faced the risk of destruction or corruption during attacks or power outages. Even websites hosted outside of Ukraine were in jeopardy, if the websites owners were unable to meet their hosting expenses. Hence, the primary objective of SUCHO from the outset was to safeguard Ukraine’s digital cultural heritage, with the intention of restoring the preserved files and data to their original institutions after the war.
By June 2022, SUCHO volunteers successfully web archived over 50TB of data encompassing more than 5,000 websites. This vast collection offers a rich and diverse representation of Ukraine’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage. The archived websites span a wide range of institutions, from local museums, music academies and theatres to monasteries, archives, libraries and programmes dedicated to children’s and local history. In addition, SUCHO curated selected materials into a publicly accessible gallery, while also amassing a collection of war-related memes enriched with metadata for future historical research.
As a grassroots effort, SUCHO relied on the dedication of volunteers and the tools developed by the open-source community. The initiative also forged critical partnerships with organisations and institutions providing technological and financial support. SUCHO also raised considerable funds to supply cultural heritage institutions in Ukraine with physical digitisation equipment, addressing the urgent need to digitise objects at risk of damage or looting. Furthermore, it facilitated the creation of training materials and compiled existing resources in Ukrainian or with Ukrainian subtitles, ensuring the effective use of digitisation equipment during emergency situations.
“Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online is a remarkable initiative that goes far beyond the usual scope of the initiators’ work. It has garnered extensive support from a large number of volunteers from across the world and demonstrates that individuals can take real steps to protect cultural heritage in a crisis situation, even from a distance”, the Awards’ Jury commented.
“Although still a relatively young project, SUCHO already represents a significant and admirable achievement in ensuring the safety of a large amount of digital cultural heritage of Ukraine. This rapid response via collective action, achieved with limited resources, sets a commendable example for future emergencies of similar nature. Theirs is a timely and innovative response to a difficult challenge. It also demonstrates the importance and power of heritage in international relations”, the Jury stated.
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(The winners are listed alphabetically by country)
Conservation & Adaptive Reuse
Education, Training & Skills
Citizens’ Engagement & Awareness-raising
Europa Nostra Awards 2023 for outstanding projects from the UK
This year, Europa Nostra Awards go to two remarkable heritage projects from a European country not taking part in the EU Creative Europe programme.
Two decades of showcasing heritage-related excellence in Europe
The European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards were launched by the European Commission in 2002 and have been run by Europa Nostra ever since. For 21 years, the Awards have been a key tool to recognise andpromote the multiple values of cultural and natural heritage for Europe’s society, economy and environment.
The Awards have highlighted and disseminated heritage excellence and best practices in Europe, encouraged the cross-border exchange of knowledge and connected heritage stakeholders in wider networks. The Awards have brought major benefits to the winners, such as greater (inter)national exposure, additional funding and increased visitor numbers. In addition, the Awards have championed a greater care for our shared heritage amongst Europe’s citizens. For additional facts and figures about the Awards, please visit the Awards website.
The Call for Entries for the 2024 edition of the Awards is now open. Applications can be submitted online through www.europeanheritageawards.eu/apply. Submit your application and share your know-how!
Audrey Hogan, Programme Officer, email@example.com, T. +31 70 302 40 52
Joana Pinheiro, Communications Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, M. +31 6 34 36 59 85
Sonya Gospodinova, email@example.com, T. +32 2 2966953
About each Award winner:
Europa Nostra is the European voice of civil society committed to safeguarding and promoting cultural and natural heritage. It is a pan-European federation of heritage NGOs, supported by a wide network of public bodies, private companies and individuals, covering over 40 countries. It is the largest and the most representative heritage network in Europe, maintaining close relations with the European Union, the Council of Europe, UNESCO and other international bodies. Founded in 1963, Europa Nostra celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.
Europa Nostra campaigns to save Europe’s endangered monuments, sites and landscapes, in particular through the 7 Most Endangered Programme. It celebrates and disseminates excellence through the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards. Europa Nostra actively contributes to the definition and implementation of European strategies and policies related to heritage, through a participatory dialogue with European Institutions and the coordination of the European Heritage Alliance.
Since 1 May 2023, Europa Nostra has led the European consortium selected by the European Commission to run the European Heritage Hub pilot project. Europa Nostra is also an official partner of the New European Bauhaus initiative developed by the European Commission, and is the Regional Co-Chair for Europe of the Climate Heritage Network.
Creative Europe is the EU programme that supports the cultural and creative sectors, enabling them to increase their contribution to Europe’s society, economy and living environment. With a budget of €2.4 billion for 2021-2027, it supports organisations in the fields of heritage, performing arts, fine arts, interdisciplinary arts, publishing, film, TV, music, and video games as well as tens of thousands of artists, cultural and audiovisual professionals.