What is a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe?
The Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe are an invitation to travel and to discover the rich and diverse heritage of Europe by bringing people together in networks of shared history and heritage. The certified Cultural Routes cover a range of different themes, from architecture and landscape to religious influences, from gastronomy and intangible heritage to the major figures of European art, music and literature.
A European Cultural Route is a route through one or more countries and/or regions that deals with topics that are European because of their historical, artistic and social interest, not only because of the geographical route or the content and importance.
What is the Cultural Routes Program?
The Cultural Routes Program was launched in 1987 by the Council of Europe. It recognizes European networks that develop routes to make our shared cultural heritage a tourist experience. The networks work together interdisciplinary in the fields of culture, tourism, education, heritage, economics, research and the arts. The Council of Europe’s Cultural Routes program is of great importance to the process of unifying Europe, with the aim of making the value of experience of the common “European cultural area” more visible, more valuable and more alive in daily life.
They put into practice the values of the Council of Europe: human rights, cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and mutual exchanges across borders. The European Institute on Cultural Routes in Luxembourg supervises the program and the networks. Founded in 1949, the Council of Europe is the oldest international organization in Europe. It is the intention of the members to establish and safeguard the ideals and principles that are their common heritage, in accordance with the Statute of the Council of Europe. Today the Council of Europe is one of the most important human rights organizations in Europe.
How to become a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe?
The certification “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” is a guarantee of excellence. Once a year, the certification is awarded to legally constituted networks focussing on an European theme and implementing activities in at least three Council of Europe member States.
The certification gives visibility to European initiatives which bring to life Council of Europe values, such as cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and mutual exchanges across borders. Through the Cultural Routes programme, the Council of Europe offers a model for transnational networks working on the promotion of European heritage. The Cultural Routes bring together, to name only a few, heritage sites, universities, national, regional and local authorities and socio-economic actors such as SMEs and tour operators.
Developing a Cultural Route requires to:
- Defining a theme
- Identifying heritage elements
- Creating a European network
- Coordinating common activities
- Creating common visibility
The rules for the award of the certification as “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” are defined in the Committee of Ministers CM/Res(2013)67.
Only networks that deal with a European theme (I), comply with the priority fields of actions (II) and are presented by a single network (III) will be considered for certification.
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