Two sites in Romania, among the 2024 Winners of Europe’s top heritage awards


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The European Commission and Europa Nostra today announced the 2024 winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. This year, Europe’s most prestigious awards for heritage go to 26 outstanding winners from 18 countries across the continent.

The 2024 Awards count an impressive range of winners across its five categories. From a unique renovation project led by former miners in Poland; to an innovative AI research project for improving access to Europe’s newspaper heritage; from a successful training programme revitalising traditional craftsmanship for contemporary construction needs in Greece; to a visionary community-driven effort reclaiming urban heritage in Ghent, Belgium; and a civil society association that has raised awareness of the importance of the cultural heritage of the World Heritage City of Dubrovnik, Croatia, for more than 70 years. This year’s winners exemplify the dynamism, diversity and innovation demonstrated across Europe in efforts to safeguard and promote our rich heritage.

Iliana Ivanova, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “Our cultural heritage is our collective treasure, a bridge connecting our past, present and future. It holds a special place in our hearts and daily lives, fostering a sense of belonging and identity. The European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards highlight the crucial role of exemplary projects and individuals dedicated to preserving and promoting our rich heritage. I warmly congratulate this year’s winners on their outstanding achievements.”

Cecilia Bartoli, the world-renowned mezzo-soprano and President of Europa Nostra, stated: “My heartfelt congratulations to this year’s winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards on their well-deserved recognition. By honouring these fantastic creative projects, we also demonstrate our great commitment to protecting our shared cultural heritage, which is vital for building a more united, sustainable and beautiful Europe. May their inspiring examples be followed by many citizens – heritage professionals, volunteers and lovers – public organisations and private companies across our continent and beyond.”

The winners will be celebrated at the European Heritage Awards Ceremony 2024 on 7 October at the Romanian Athenaeum, the most prestigious concert hall in Bucharest, Romania, which recently received the European Heritage Label in recognition of its European significance. This high-profile event will be co-hosted by the European Commissioner Iliana Ivanova and Europa Nostra’s Executive President Hermann Parzinger. During the ceremony, the Grand Prix laureates and the Public Choice Award winner, chosen from among this year’s winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards and entitled to receive €10,000 each, will be announced.

The ceremony will be a highlight of the European Cultural Heritage Summit 2024, which will take place on 6-8 October in Bucharest. The Summit, co-funded by the European Union, is organised by Europa Nostra in close cooperation with heritage organisations and partners, both public and private, in Romania.

Heritage supporters and enthusiasts are now encouraged to discover the winners and vote online to decide who will win the Public Choice Award 2024, entitled to receive a monetary award of €10,000. You can cast your vote until 22 September.

Winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2024 in five categories:

Conservation and Adaptive Reuse

Royale Belge Building, Brussels, BELGIUM

This Modernist building, completed in 1970 as the headquarters of the Royale Belge insurance company, now incorporates a mix of uses, including conference facilities, offices, co-working spaces, a health club, and a hotel. Its rehabilitation project is of remarkable scale and quality, and showcases a strong commitment to sustainability.

Schulenburg Mansion, Gera, GERMANY

The Schulenburg Mansion was built in 1914 by Henry van de Velde. Its restoration project stands as a shining example for the conservation of 20th-century architecture. Ambitiously comprehensive, it meticulously considered materials and maintained coherence with the building’s aesthetic, spanning interiors, furniture, and the garden.

Ignacy Historic Mine, Rybnik, POLAND

This is a unique renovation project on the site of a former coal mine, one of the oldest in Poland, which was founded in 1792. Thanks to the joint efforts of the former miners, the City of Rybnik, the Polish state and EU funds, the complex has been saved and adapted to new functions as a cultural and recreational centre. It serves as an inspiring example for other coal mines in Europe that will face closure.

Saxon Church in Alma Vii, ROMANIA

This project restored a cultural landmark that symbolises centuries of history and craftsmanship in the picturesque village of Alma Vii in Transylvania. The comprehensive restoration not only preserved the church’s architectural and historical integrity but also empowered the local community and fostered sustainable tourism development.

St. Michael’s Church, Cluj-Napoca, ROMANIA

Nestled in the city’s vibrant centre, St. Michael’s Church is a gem of European Gothic architecture. The church embarked on an extensive restoration journey from 2016 to 2022. Beyond mere structural reinforcements and façade revivals, the project also encompassed the refurbishment of the interiors and modern enhancements.

Snow Wells, Sierra Espuña, SPAIN

Dating back to the 16th century, these wells served as ice factories, storing winter snow for summer ice production. Two of the most significant Snow Wells in Sierra Espuña have been comprehensively restored as part of a wider effort to conserve their rich cultural legacy for future generations.


NewsEye: A Digital Investigator for Historical Newspapers, AUSTRIA/FINLAND/FRANCE/GERMANY

This innovative research project improves access to the early European press (1850 to 1950). Using 15 million pages digitised by the national libraries of Austria, Finland and France, it developed automatic tools for character recognition, analysis of newspaper structure and multilingual content processing, based on artificial intelligence.

Education, Training and Skills

Teryan Cultural Center – Empowering Armenian Refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh, Yerevan, ARMENIA

Since 2002, the Teryan Cultural Center has been committed to the study and preservation of Armenian and Artsakh culture. Following the armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020, the Center has provided a wide range of training activities to aid displaced individuals in adapting to their new lives in Armenia.

Boulouki – Travelling Workshop on Traditional Building, GREECE

Boulouki is a versatile collective of architects, engineers and heritage professionals dedicated to revitalising traditional craftsmanship for contemporary construction needs. They employ an itinerant approach, travelling around Greece, to conduct training workshops that draw from, and respond to, the characteristics of every place.

Traditional Farm Buildings Scheme, IRELAND

The main objective of this nationwide scheme is to help farmers recognise the cultural value of traditional farm buildings. Participants are supported in acquiring skills to enable them to carry out repairs to return the buildings to functional use on the farm. Over 1,000 buildings have been repaired since the creation of the scheme in 2008.

Serfenta Crafts Revitalisation Model, Cieszyn, POLAND

Designed and implemented by the Serfenta Association, this model was created over 15 years, with the craft of basketry at its core. In cooperation with craftsmen, designers, and people of every age and all backgrounds from Poland and other European countries, the Serfenta team tested new ways to successfully transmit this heritage.

White Carpentry School, Narros del Castillo, SPAIN

Founded in 2014, this is the only training centre in the world dedicated exclusively to teaching white carpentry. White carpentry is a technique that from the 13th century to the 18th century made possible the construction of the roof trusses and wooden coffered ceilings that are present in thousands of buildings in Spain.

Citizens’ Engagement and Awareness-raising

The Square Kilometre, Ghent, BELGIUM

For the past five years, a ‘historian in residence’ has been travelling the most diverse parts of Ghent. Per ‘square kilometre’, she has invited locals to bring forth ‘hidden histories’. Each residency culminates in an exhibition within STAM Ghent City Museum and numerous heritage guides where the narration is shaped by the locals.

The Silence that Tore Down the Monument, Kamenska, CROATIA

The anti-fascist “Monument to the Victory of the People of Slavonia” in Kamenska, created by renowned artist Vojin Bakić from 1958 to 1968, was destroyed in 1992, during the 1990s’ wars in former Yugoslavia. This project resurrected the monument through Augmented Reality technology, a pioneering approach in the heritage conservation field.

Preserving the Community Halls for Local Civil Society Activities, FINLAND

This project is a model where state subsidies for sustainable repairs and renovations of community halls are allocated to local associations via an NGO. The model is innovative because of the strong role of citizens’ engagement at many levels in preserving the community halls, an essential part of Finnish heritage.

Fortified Castles of Alsace Association, FRANCE

In the French region of Alsace, there are over a hundred castle ruins on the Alsace side of the Vosges mountains. The aim of the association Fortified Castles of Alsace, created in 2013, is to underline the importance of this remarkable heritage, through a range of different initiatives, such as the Alsace Fortified Castles’ Trail.

Citizens’ Rehabilitation of the Tsiskarauli Tower, Akhieli, GEORGIA

Over three years, 46 Georgian and international citizens worked alongside technical experts and traditional craftspeople to restore the Tsiskarauli Tower. The project brought much-needed attention to the remote community of Khevsureti, and raised awareness of the value of Georgian heritage within Europe’s heritage.

International Festival of Classical Theatre for Youth, Syracuse, ITALY

Since 1991, over 50,000 young students from around the world have converged at the Greek Theatre of Akrai to reinterpret classical Greek and Roman texts. This annual festival celebrates Europe’s rich classical heritage while boldly forging ahead into the future. The festival’s dedication to educational outreach and inclusivity is exemplary.

Foundation for the Conservation of the Historical Estate Ockenburgh, The Hague, THE NETHERLANDS

This foundation represents over 150 local volunteers who spent a decade working to renovate the Ockenburgh Estate, founded in The Hague in 1654. Volunteers still play a big role at Ockenburgh, maintaining the villa and its gardens, and organising many cultural events throughout the year.

Heritage Champions

Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities, CROATIA

Since 1952, this civil society association has financed and completed research and conservation projects of Dubrovnik’s landmarks, including the City’s Walls. The Society was closely involved with the inclusion of the Old City of Dubrovnik on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979. Ever since, it has played a vital role in ensuring the safeguarding and enhancement of this exceptional site.

Else “Sprossa” Rønnevig, Lillesand, NORWAY

Over five decades, Else “Sprossa” Rønnevig spearheaded the rescue of old windows, halted the replacement of valuable historic windows, and established clearer regulations for its protection, transforming Norway’s approach to cultural preservation.

Piotr Gerber PhD, Wrocław, POLAND

Piotr Gerber has dedicated his life to the protection of post-industrial heritage. In both Poland and abroad, he has played an influential role in raising public awareness and understanding of the importance of technical and technological development.

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