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The Voice of Cultural Heritage in Europe
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History print

Milestones in Europa Nostra's History

1963 - Europa Nostra founded by a group of heritage Non-Governmental Organisations, headed by Italia Nostra, in the Office of the Council of Europe in Paris (F).

1969 - Lord Duncan Sandys (UK) becomes President of Europa Nostra.

1975 - Europa Nostra actively participates in the European Architectural Heritage Year.

1975 - Europa Nostra sponsors the production of an award-winning film "The Wheels of Time" (produced by World Wide Pictures).

1978 - Setting up of the Europa Nostra Awards Scheme.

1983 - Europa Nostra honoured by the Olympia Award by the Onassis Foundation in Athens (GR).

1984 - Hans de Koster (NL), former Dutch Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, becomes President of Europa Nostra.

1985-1987 - Europa Nostra undertakes a survey of attitudes and reactions to the conservation of the European heritage in town and country upon request from the Sub-Committee on the Architectural and Artistic Heritage of the Commission on Culture and Education of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

1987-1988 - Europa Nostra invited by the European Commission to organise a Special Award Scheme for conservation by local authorities throughout Europe to mark the European Year of the Environment (EYE), also in the framework of the Council of Europe's European Campaign for the Countryside.

1989 - Europa Nostra actively participates in the organisation of the 6th European Symposium of Historic Towns, in conjunction with the Historic Towns Forum.

1990 - HRH the Prince Consort of Denmark becomes President of Europa Nostra.

1991 - Merger between Europa Nostra and the International Castles Institute (IBI) takes place in Dublin (IRL).

1992 - Daniel Cardon de Lichtbuer (B), former Chairman of the Banque Bruxelles Lambert, and former Vice-President of the International European Movement, becomes Executive President of Europa Nostra.

1994 -1998 - Europa Nostra acts as a co-ordinator of the European Heritage Group.

1997 - Europa Nostra produces, together with other members of the European Heritage Group, a report on "Built Heritage and Employment".

1998 - Europa Nostra recognised by the European Commission as a pan-European umbrella organisation in the field of cultural heritage.

1999 - Experimental cuts in VAT for heritage restoration and repair works allowed by European Union, as a result of Europa Nostra's campaign.

2000 - Europa Nostra holds its Millennium Congress in the heart of Europe, in the city of Prague (CZ), one of the European Cultural Capitals for the year 2000. On this occasion, the General Assembly adopts the Europa Nostra revised Statutes, which reaffirm the specifity of Europa Nostra as the pan-European Federation for Heritage.

2002 - the European Commission launches the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards, as its flagship programme for the promotion of excellence in heritage conservation practice, as part of the implementation of the Culture 2000 Programme. Europa Nostra was selected to run this Awards Scheme, on the basis of its long experience in publicly recognising – on a European level – individual or joint excellence in the heritage field.

2003 - Europa Nostra celebrates its 40th anniversary at the Palais de l'Europe, Strasbourg (France) by invitation of the Council of Europe.

2004 - Europa Nostra expresses its consternation and condemnation of the large-scale and deliberate destruction of invaluable cultural heritage in Kosovo as part of the wave of violence. See Campaigning for Endangered Heritage.

2005 - Europa Nostra holds a major policy Forum "Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe".

2006 - Europa Nostra is selected as the new Liaison Office for the co-ordination of the European Heritage Days, a joint action of the Council of Europe and the European Commission.


Dr. Andrea H. Schuler (CH), lawyer and former representative of Patrimoine Suisse/Schweizer Heimatschutz and Domus Antiqua Helvetica in the Council, becomes Executive President of Europa Nostra

2007 - HRH The Infanta Doña Pilar de Borbón is elected President of Europa Nostra.


2009 - After a deep reform of the Europa Nostra Governance system and Statute, Denis de Kergorlay (F) becomes Executive President and John Sell, CBE (UK) Executive Vice-President of Europa Nostra. Denis de Kergorlay is Administrateur of “La Demeure Historique” and the President of “French Heritage Society”. John Sell is architect and former Chairman of the “Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings”. Both have been members of the Council and the Management Committee for years.


During its Annual Congress in Taormina (Sicily), Europa Nostra calls for European action and adopts its new policy paper “Why Cultural Heritage Matters for Europe”. During the same Congress, Europa Nostra organises, in collaboration with Italia Nostra, a major Forum on the safeguard of Europe’s historic small towns and villages and their surrounding landscape and adopts a Declaration on “Saving Europe’s Memory and Identity”. A few months later, in September, Europa Nostra signs a Memorandum of Understanding with INTO, the International National Trusts Organisation.

2010 – On 1 March, Europa Nostra opens its liaison office in Brussels, in the heart of the European area, opening a new phase in the relationship with the European Union institutions.


On 9 June Plácido Domingo is elected by acclamation as Presiden of Europa Nostra during the Annual Congress in Istanbul. In his acceptance message he said: "I am very honored that my presidency follows the great work of Her Royal Highness the Infanta Pilar de Borbón. Europa Nostra is the Voice of Cultural Heritage in Europe and I am very proud, as their President, to be their voice”. 


2011 - An audience of 1600 guests attend the European Heritage Awards Ceremony co-presented by Maestro Plácido Domingo and European Commissioner responsible for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassiliou at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. 


Launch of the European Heritage Alliance


Declaration of Amsterdam on Volunteers


2012 - Annual Congress in Lisbon (Portugal) which was broadcasted on RTP

Launch of the Public Choice Award


2013 - Annual Congress in Athens (Greece) with an audience of more than 4500 in the Odeion of Herodes Atticus.

Launch of the Helena Vaz da Silva Award for Raising Public Awareness on Cultural Heritage with the CNC in Lisbon

Participation in the New Narrative for Europe initiative

Launch of the 7 Most Endangered programme for endangered heritage with the EIB Institute


2014 - Annual Congress in Vienna (Austria) with an audience of more than 1500

Presentation of Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe research project with many European Partners

Declaration ‘Towards an integrated approach to cultural heritage in Europe’ by the European Commission

Publication of the New Narrative of Europe book ‘The Mind and Body of Europe’


2015 - Annual Congress in Oslo (Norway) in the Oslo City Hall, home of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Plácido Domingo is re-elected President of Europa Nostra

Presentation of the full report of Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe research project together with the European Heritage Alliance


2016 - Annual Congress in Madrid (Spain) in the Zarzuela Theatre

Announcement of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, proposed by the European Commission