Protecting our heritage

Lithuania, a country with a rich cultural heritage, is home to over 20,000 registered cultural heritage objects, ranging from small vernacular architecture to grand public and sacral buildings. Recognising the importance of preserving these cultural and architectural monuments, the FIXUS Mobilis project has emerged as an integral force to protect these pieces of history, supported by the EEA and Norway Grants. This initiative aims to enhance the management of cultural heritage through a proactive approach, emphasising preventive care and community involvement.

The FIXUS Mobilis approach

At its core, FIXUS Mobilis is designed to revolutionise the way Lithuania safeguards its cultural heritage, with a hands-on approach from skilled locals. The primary objective of the project is to establish a comprehensive system for preventive monitoring and maintenance of cultural heritage objects. This includes creating awareness among heritage managers and owners, empowering them with knowledge, and enhancing practical skills for the preservation of these historical assets.

Owners and managers of cultural heritage objects are instrumental in FIXUS Mobilis's success. They are encouraged to complete a detailed questionnaire, applying for free preventive maintenance services. Specialised mobile teams, referred to as 'heritage ambulances,' drive around Lithuania, conducting urgent repairs and preventing further decay in historic buildings and monuments.

FIXUS Mobilis car
A FIXUS Mobilis 'heritage ambulance'. ©FIXUS Mobilis

These 'heritage ambulances' offer a state-of-the-art service for cultural heritage owners, delivering skilled workers to address immediate needs. Beyond first aid, the teams inspect and assess cultural heritage sites, providing owners with a plan for necessary preventive interventions. The focus is on small-scale interventions that enhance a building's lifespan, reducing the need for major renovations in the future. This hands-on engagement ensures that heritage owners and managers are actively involved in the preservation process, fostering a sense of responsibility and ownership.
There are 3 mobile teams, each consisting of 3 members (architects, craftsmen, engineers, historians etc.). Additionally, there were two project leaders and coordinator and two specialists who worked in a lab. Therefore, there were 14 core persons in total caring for heritage buildings and other direct tasks such as education, public consultations etc. and a lot more helping to deal with administrative issues. In 3 years FIXUS inspected and carried preventive maintenance works in 200 heritage buildings. Another 350 will be helped during the 5 years of sustainability period.

FIXUS Mobilis is the work we all in the team strongly believe in. It helps to bring real and very positive change to Lithuanian heritage buildings. - Project Leads, Viltė Janušauskaitė & Erika Kielė  

The project is a collaborative effort involving three Lithuanian heritage institutions – the Cultural Heritage Center, the Cultural Infrastructure Center, and the Department of Cultural Heritage. The project includes two Norwegian partners: the Association for Employers in the Church of Norway and the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage. Drawing on experience from the Pro Monumenta project in Slovakia, funded by EEA Grants (2009-2014), they have initiated a pilot project in the municipality of Asker, Norway. The project is an excellent example of one of the many cultural initiatives supported by the EEA and Norway Grants.

Cost-effective and knowledge growth

Man working on restorations
FIXUS Mobilis helps with a variety of repairs. ©FIXUS Mobilis

There are several impactful outcomes of the FIXUS Mobilis project. The project significantly enhances the knowledge of cultural heritage owners and managers about their possessions and preventive maintenance practices. By addressing potential threats early on, major damages that might call for extensive restoration efforts in the future are prevented. This not only safeguards the physical integrity of cultural heritage objects but also minimises the financial burden associated with extensive restoration projects.

Swimming against the stream through the COVID years

“The most unexpected and very serious challenge came at the very beginning of the project in March 2020 when COVID-19 started in Lithuania. Due to restrictions, it was difficult to train selected employees and many public procurements also came late. As a result, the actual inspection and maintenance work began only in early 2021 thus all 200 buildings had to be inspected and reports written in 2 years instead of 3. It significantly increased work load for everyone in the team.” - Project Leads, Viltė Janušauskaitė & Erika Kielė

A group photo. FIXUS Mobilis crew and local community.
The FIXUS Mobilis team with local community. ©FIXUS Mobilis

Involved community

FIXUS Mobilis extends beyond the preservation of physical structures; it is about fostering a sense of community and shared responsibility for cultural heritage. The project includes a range of activities such as public presentations, consultations, seminars, and workshops tailored for communities and cultural heritage owners. These educational initiatives not only empower individuals with practical skills but also create a network of informed and engaged stakeholders dedicated to preserving Lithuania's cultural legacy.

It’s not just ordinary work, it’s a lifetime mission! - Project Leads, Viltė Janušauskaitė & Erika Kielė  

“FIXUS Mobilis is the work we all in the team strongly believe in. It helps to bring real and very positive change to Lithuanian heritage buildings. Every positive feedback by the owner, manager or local municipality heritage specialist stating that this is when they finally got some real help and, most important, advice what to do further, confirms that this work is very important and meaningful. From our professional perspective we also emphasise the importance of authenticity and doing necessary maintenance on time is definitely the best way to ensure that no more authentic details and materials would be lost. Finally, being heritage enthusiasts ourselves we are very happy to be able to visit and intervene in so many different types of heritage and solve so many different issues which is never boring and constantly broaden our professional knowledge. It’s not just ordinary work, it’s a lifetime mission!”  - Project Leads, Viltė Janušauskaitė & Erika Kielė

Ongoing renovation in a domed building.
Repairs and restorations have different challenges between heritage sites. ©FIXUS Mobilis

Preservation for a better Europe of tomorrow

The concept of regular inspections and preventive maintenance, originating 45 years ago in the Netherlands, has spread to Slovakia, Lithuania, and Norway with EEA Grants' support. This informal network facilitates the exchange of experience between these nations. 

Lithuania's success in preventive care sets a precedent for Europe, showcasing the effectiveness of a collaborative approach in safeguarding cultural landmarks. As FIXUS Mobilis unfolds, it promises a lasting impact on how Europe preserves its rich cultural legacy, contributing to a broader narrative of shared history and identity. The project benefits not only Lithuania but also plays a role in the collective effort to preserve Europe's cultural heritage.

Read more about the culture programme in Lithuania.

Project facts