EuNIC-Europe: European Information Center for Culture

Cultural Heritage

Cultural heritage refers to the past. It refers to the achievements and efforts of the people in our culture. It can be seen all around us, as well as in literature and movies. Now that the EU has reached a state of maturity, we are able to enjoy the culture of others and cooperate fully, whilst at the same time retaining a little bit of our own cultural heritage. Cultural heritage is part of our future and our present, which is why the European Union has set up schemes such as the “heritage label,” and why it supports regional cultural heritage maintenance and construction.

Countries have to arrange their own intercultural meetings and set up culture sharing scenarios, so that they may learn from each other. American institutions have loosened the restrictions on scholarships for learning within international cultures that are largely unexplored by Americans. German institutions offer very good scholarships to German students who are willing to learn in Japan, so that they may share in its culture and return a portion of it to Germany.

Many countries work to expose their citizens to other cultures so that they may become inspired by them. Food and supermarket products were some of the first modern pioneers for integrating parts of other cultures into their host’s culture. Cultural heritage and its exchange and mutual understanding is helping to mould Europe into a more cohesive union that is socially and economically sustainable.

Social and economic development may be aided through the sharing of cultural heritage. This is why four of the 2020 Europe flagship initiatives involve plans for cultural globalisation, so that European jobs and skills may be shared more freely. Moves for deliberate European culture exchanges will help to bring this to fruition with far less resistance, meaning that talented people may share their talents with the whole of the EU community–instead of only within their own country.

The European Union does have guidelines to protect the cultural heritage of each country, but they are very generalised and vague, because the protection of cultural heritage cannot stand in the way of progress. This is why the EU has set up European Culture principals, which act as a framework for the implementation of different cultural schemes and for cooperation on cultural policy.

It is the job of the EU to promote the protection of cultural heritage and to encourage the member states to cooperate. Any further action would probably meet with resistance, since all countries are the owners of their own cultural heritage, and therefore are the only ones qualified to control its future.