The winners of the 2020 European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards, Europe’s top honour in the field, were celebrated this afternoon with a virtual gathering that connected heritage lovers, professionals, volunteers and supporters from across Europe and beyond. Due to the safety precautions against COVID-19, the European Heritage Awards Ceremony was held entirely online for the very first time, with the virtual participation of Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, and Hermann Parzinger, Executive President of Europa Nostra. During the online ceremony, representatives from the European Commission and Europa Nostra proudly announced the three Grand Prix laureates and the Public Choice Award winner, which were selected from among this year’s 21 winning achievements from 15 European countries.
The 2020 Grand Prix laureates are:
1) the exemplary restoration of the Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio, L’Aquila (Italy), heavily damaged by the devastating earthquake of 2009;
2) the outstanding project Tramontana Network III (France, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain), dedicated to the research of the tangible and intangible heritage of Europe’s mountainous regions; and
3) the major exhibition Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away (Poland/Spain), marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the largest Nazi concentration camp.
“The 2020 winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards represent what Europe stands for: creativity, resilience, innovation, solidarity, talent and dedication. This makes me proud – as European Commissioner and as a European citizen. I sincerely thank each one of them for demonstrating yet again that Europe’s shared cultural heritage is not only part of our past, but a valuable asset for tackling our present day challenges and for ensuring a better future for all. With their work, they illustrate the great potential of cultural heritage for Europe’s socioeconomic recovery in the aftermath of the pandemic,” said Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.
“Honouring this year’s laureates of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards with a fully digital ceremony has been an exceptional and enriching experience. It has proved that excellence, commitment and perseverance in our heritage world know no limits. This is precisely what the 21 awarded achievements embody: these are stories of exceptional skills and teamwork, tireless dedication and bold action. On behalf of Europa Nostra, I wish to warmly welcome all of them to our ever-growing pan-European network of Heritage Excellence, which brings together the most captivating and outstanding heritage initiatives from across the continent. In the trying times we live in, might these heritage heroes inspire many others, in Europe and beyond, through the compelling power of their positive example,” stated Hermann Parzinger, Executive President of Europa Nostra.
The Public Choice Award went to the education, training and awareness-raising project The Ambulance for Monuments (Romania), which has rescued hundreds of heritage-listed buildings in the country through a large network of active heritage organisations. This project received the largest number of votes, cast via an online poll with the participation of over 12,000 citizens from all over Europe.
Klaus Iohannis, President of Romania, in a special message, read during the European Heritage Awards Ceremony, warmly congratulated the team that initiated this project and saluted the public that ranked The Ambulance for Monuments first in their choices. “I believe that many European citizens appreciated the Romanian project as a concrete expression of solidarity and an example for the appropriate use of the civic energies developed by culture and cultural heritage”, emphasised the President of Romania.
The European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards were launched by the European Commission in 2002 and have been run by Europa Nostra – The European Voice of Civil Society Committed to Cultural Heritage – ever since. The Awards have the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.