Diversity & Cultural Heritage – Engine for Economic Growth

Cultural heritage as a factor in economic development

Cultural heritage is widely recognised across Europe as a vehicle of cultural identity. How much people know about cultural heritage depends both on what is done to promote it and also on the capacity of Europeans to become familiar with and appreciate their own culture and those of the other EU Member States. Europe’s cultural heritage is a precious asset in economic terms too, and therefore the Commisssion is supporting projects in the field of vocational training, regional development and the use of digital content relating to culture.

As a valuable resource shared by everyone, cultural heritage is protected at both national and European levels. The Danube region is characterised by a broad heritage of dense and diverse histories, cultures, ethnicities, religions, markets, societies and states. The implementation of priority 3 of the Strategy is following a series of specific actions oriented on preserving and enhancing the common heritage of the Danube Region.

Actions Planned

– “To build on cultural diversity as strength of the Danube Region

This can be done by:

  • Protecting the Danube region’s cultural values: cooperation in the protection of values and heritage, joint scientific research, exchange of experiences, courses, conferences, events, traineeships; preservation of military memorial sites;
  • Increasing human contacts, promoting inter-cultural dialogue, inter-religious dialogues, language exchanges etc.
  • Improving conditions for youth exchanges;
  • Organising joint (cultural) events, festivals, scholarship programmes;
  • Establishing a network of ‘creative forces’ which includes actors in the artistic field. This network can build on the experience of the various festivals in the Danube Region;
  • Promoting cultural exchange and exchange in the arts. Cultural activities (e.g. films, documentaries, entertainment games/shows referring to the Danube Region) can contribute significantly to awareness-raising for the Danube Region;
  • Supporting contemporary art in the region;
  • Supporting modern entertainment enterprise, including contemporary TV, movie, music and interactive games;
  • Establishing a data-base gathering data on cultural assets and cultural activities.

Examples of projects:

– “To strengthen the Danube regional potential through cultural cooperation

– “To ensure the restoration and maintenance of the sites of historical and cultural importance, conservation and protection of both tangible and non-tangible cultural heritage and providing the access to common cultural heritage”.

– “To develop the Balkan Incentive Fund for Culture

– “To strengthen centres for tolerance and reconciliation

– “To further support actions for specific demographic groups, e.g. Danube-Networkers”. This facilitates joint activities of older adults from the neighbouring states along the river Danube and seeks to develop links to other groups working on similar themes.

– “To enhance cooperation and contacts between people of different origins, to encourage creativity, and provide a driving force for cultural innovation and economic development, based on heritage, traditions and tourism”. This can benefit from a good balance of tradition and modernisation. A diverse intercultural approach also helps to enhance the attractiveness of a region for the local population and tourists. This can include:

  • cooperation for promotion and publicity;
  • international exhibitions and events;
  • exchange in the fields of literature, music and art;
  • cooperation in research and innovation on heritage, cultural and touristic themes;
  • cooperation in field of the preservation of historical monuments.

Danube Alliance Magazine No. 3 – June-September 2011

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