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Frontpage News 2009 Preserving our common European cultural heritage


Preserving our common European cultural heritage

Through the EEA and Norway Grants close to 200 cultural heritage projects receive support from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The support goes to renovation of historical monuments, arts and documents, making these available to the public and future generations.

Central and Southern Europe are home to unique and irreplaceable parts of our shared European cultural heritage. Many of the projects now underway have been victims of a long period of neglect, and the EEA and Norway Grants are saving and restoring important works and monuments from what would otherwise have been irreversible decay. This conclusion is supported by a new review on the support to cultural heritage projects in the Czech Republic.

By the end of March 2009, the support amounts to nearly €200 million through 179 projects and funds. As alternative funding sources are hard to come by, the EEA and Norway Grants become all the more important. The Structural Funds of the European Union do not have cultural heritage as a significant priority, and in the current economic climate, public finances and private sources of funding are strained. This leaves the EEA and Norway Grants as a vital source of support for many deserving cultural heritage projects throughout Central and Southern Europe.

Historical monuments, arts and documents
Around 80% of the support is dedicated to the conservation of immovable cultural heritage, such as the renovation of historical buildings, fortresses, manor houses, religious monuments and historical urban areas. The support is also often aimed at making restored monuments and documents open to the public. Around 100 cultural sites will be made available to the public due to the EEA and Norway Grants.

One example from Poland, is the restoration of the Rogalin Palace, a part of the National Museum in Poznań. The palace, which served as the seat of the aristocratic Raczyński family until the Second World War, will be restored and its historic interiors and surroundings recreated.

The EEA and Norway Grants also provide substantial support to the conservation of movable cultural heritage, meaning historical documents and pieces of art like paintings, sculptures and other artifacts. Supported projects will lead to the conservation and restoration of 1000-1500 such cultural heritage items.

In addition, three funds with a total allocation of €5.2 million exist in the Czech Republic and Poland. Most notable among the funds is the €4.4 million Cultural Exchange Fund in Poland, supporting partnership projects with the donor states. The fund awards grants to activities furthering the countries' cooperation within the field of cultural heritage.