Brussels / The Hague, 5 April 2017 - The European Commission and Europa Nostra revealed today the winners of the 2017 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards, Europe’s top honour in the heritage field. The 29 laureates from 18 countries are being recognised for their notable achievements in conservation, research, dedicated service, and education, training and awareness-raising. Among this year’s winners are two outstanding achievements from Croatia: in the category Conservation, St. Martin’s Chapel in Stari Brod, and in the category Dedicated Service to Heritage, the art historian Ferdinand Meder. Independent expert juries examined a total of 202 applications, submitted by organisations and individuals from 39 countries across Europe, and chose the laureates.
Citizens from around the world can now vote online for the Public Choice Award and rally support for the winning project(s) from their own or another European country. Voters have the chance to win a trip for two to Finland and be a special guest at the Awards Ceremony that will be held in the historic city of Turku on 15 May. During the ceremony, the seven Grand Prix laureates, each of whom will receive €10,000, and the Public Choice Award winner, chosen from among this year’s winning projects, will be announced.
"I congratulate all the winners. Their achievements demonstrate once again how engaged many Europeans are in protecting and safeguarding their cultural heritage. Their projects highlight the significant role of cultural heritage in our lives and our society. Especially today, with Europe facing many big societal challenges, culture is vital in helping us to raise awareness of our common history and values and to foster tolerance, mutual understanding and social inclusion. The European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018 will be an ideal opportunity to focus on what binds us together as Europeans - our common history, culture and heritage. The European Commission will continue to support this prize and other heritage projects through our Creative Europe programme,” said Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.
“I warmly congratulate this year’s winners and pay tribute to all those who made these exceptional achievements possible, thanks to their formidable talent, passionate commitment and great generosity. They are now among a select group of some 450 remarkable accomplishments awarded by Europa Nostra and the European Commission in the past 15 years. All our winners demonstrate that heritage is a key tool for sustainable economic development, social cohesion and a more inclusive Europe. EU leaders should seize the historic opportunity of the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018 to recognise the multiple benefits of heritage and its fundamental value in bringing countries, communities and cultures together in Europe and beyond,” stated Plácido Domingo, the renowned opera singer and President of Europa Nostra.
The winners of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards 2017 will be celebrated during a high-profile event co-hosted by EU Commissioner Navracsics and Maestro Plácido Domingo commencing in the late afternoon on 15 May at St. Michael’s Church in Turku. The European Heritage Awards Ceremony will assemble some 1,200 people, including heritage professionals, volunteers and supporters from all over Europe as well as top-level representatives from EU institutions, the host country and other Member States.
The winners will also present their exemplary heritage accomplishments during the Excellence Fair on 14 May at the Sigyn Hall of the Turku Music Conservatory, and participate in various events at the European Heritage Congress in Turku (11-15 May). Organised by Europa Nostra, the Congress will provide an inspiring platform for networking and debating the latest European developments related to heritage with a special focus on the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.
Applications for the 2018 edition of the Awards can be submitted from 15 May to 1 October 2017 through the dedicated website.
Joana Pinheiro, firstname.lastname@example.org, +31 70 302 40 55
Elena Bianchi, email@example.com, +31 70 302 40 58
firstname.lastname@example.org, +32 2 2967083
email@example.com, +32 2 2956184
St. Martin’s Chapel and Mr. Ferdinand Meder
Tajana Plese, firstname.lastname@example.org
385 1 4693 872, +385 91 4683 639
To find out more About each winning project:
2017 Award Winners
(listed alphabetically by country)
- St. Martin’s Chapel in Stari Brod, near Sisak, CROATIA
- Baroque Complex and Gardens in Kuks, Hradec Králové region, CZECH REPUBLIC
- Ancient city of Karthaia, Island of Kea, GREECE
- Bastion of the Grand Master's Palace in Rhodes, GREECE
- White Pyramid in Rome, ITALY
- The King’s Road across Filefjell, NORWAY
- The Clérigos’ Church and Tower in Porto, PORTUGAL
- Cultural Palace in Blaj, Transylvania region, ROMANIA
- Cap Enderrocat Fortress, Mallorca, SPAIN
- Roof for the ruins of the Monastery of San Juan in Burgos, SPAIN
- Cromford Mills: Building 17, Derbyshire, UNITED KINGDOM
- Rode Altarpiece Research and Conservation Project, Tallinn, ESTONIA
- ‘Carnival King of Europe’, San Michele all’Adige, ITALY
- Museum Piranesi’, Milan, ITALY
- Bosch Research and Conservation Project, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, THE NETHERLANDS
Category Dedicated Service
- Mr. Ferdinand Meder, Zagreb, CROATIA
- Mr. Jim Callery, County Roscommon, IRELAND
- The Norwegian Lighthouse Society, NORWAY
- Mr. Zoltán Kallós, Transylvania region, ROMANIA
Category Education, Training and Awareness-Raising
- Erfgoedplus: Online heritage platform, Hasselt, BELGIUM
- Centre of Visual Arts and Research, Nicosia, CYPRUS
- Educational programme for Czech cultural heritage, Telc, Vysočina region, CZECH REPUBLIC
- Paavo Nurmi Legacy project, Turku, FINLAND
- Heritage Crafts Initiative for Georgia, Tbilisi, GEORGIA
- Cultural Heritage and Barrier-free Accessibility project, Berlin, GERMANY
- ilCartastorie: Storytelling in the archives, Naples, ITALY
- Jewish Cultural Heritage: Educational programme, Warsaw, POLAND
- Advanced Master in Structural Analysis of Monuments and Historical Constructions, European programme coordinated in Guimarães, PORTUGAL
- SAMPHIRE: Maritime heritage project in western Scotland, UNITED KINGDOM
A Europa Nostra Award is also presented to remarkable heritage projects from two European countries not taking part in the EU Creative Europe programme.
- Category Conservation: Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam in Istanbul, TURKEY
- Category Research: Philippe Stern’s Collection of Timekeepers, Geneva, SWITZERLAND
St. Martin’s Chapel in Stari Brod, near Sisak, CROATIA
St. Martin’s Chapel in Stari Brod is an outstanding example of vernacular Croatian architecture. Stari Brod is one of many traditional villages with unique wooden churches, and though these structures were once numerous in the region, St. Martin’s Chapel is just one of around forty buildings dating between the 17th and 19th centuries which still survive in this area today.
Probably built in the early 17th century, with later additions from the 18th century, this small, traditionally constructed church has many charming features. Its most arresting detail is the Baroque interior decoration. All walls and ceilings are covered with 88 shallow wooden panels of varying sizes that are bordered by a decorative wooden frame. Panels are vividly adorned in paint with intertwined symmetrical ribbons, flowers and leaves. In their vibrancy, they are reminiscent of local folk embroidery. The altarpiece dedicated to St. Martin also reflects similar Baroque style.
Both, panels and the structure, were in an advanced state of deterioration before conservation works, which were coordinated and conducted by the Croatian Conservation Institute. Missing roof tiles led to leaks and water damage, and the extended exposure to humidity resulted in structural damage, as well as warping and weakening of painted panels. In order to tackle the work effectively, a comprehensive survey was carried out. Subsequently, panels and the altarpiece were removed for careful cleaning, restoration and retouching. The building underwent repairs to the compromised foundations and a new wooden roof with oak shingles was built. Throughout the work, wherever possible, traditional techniques and treatment of the materials were used.
St. Martin’s Chapel has a special significance to the population of the village of Stari Brod, and this was acknowledged in the presentation of the final result. Emphasis was placed on the chapel’s value and on raising awareness among the local community in order to encourage its protection in the future.
“This exemplary project has placed great importance in Croatia’s vernacular architecture, an aspect of the country’s heritage which has faced a decline in previous centuries. The delicate and fragile architecture has been respectfully and sensitively handled, and has enhanced the painted jewel-box like quality of this chapel”,said the jury.
“The excellent conservation of the painting is especially commendable, along with the way in which local craftspeople, the owners, and the community were encouraged to participate in the conservation process”,highlighted the jury.
Ferdinand Meder, Zagreb, CROATIA
Mr. Ferdinand Meder has dedicated his entire career, from 1970 until today, to the protection of Croatian cultural heritage. In this time, he has acted as the first response to numerous threats to Croatia’s heritage. As a conservator and art historian, Mr. Meder has spent his career working in the conservation and restoration of architectural and cultural heritage, in recording and documenting cultural monuments and in raising awareness of Croatian culture. Throughout his career he has served as director at some of the leading heritage institutions in Croatia. In these distinguished positions, Mr. Meder has used his influence to make a significant contribution to the improvement of the restoration and conservation professions. Internationally, he strove to create links with a variety of key international institutions in the world of culture and heritage including ICOM, ICOMOS, UNESCO and the Council of Europe.
His ingenuity in seeking solutions, when few resources were available, is evidenced by the extensive restorations that he enabled. His expertise and persistence were central to the restoration of Dubrovnik after the earthquake in 1979. In the early 1990s, during the period of military conflict, Croatia’s cultural heritage suffered extensive damage and destruction. Mr. Meder, in his role as Director of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments, worked to salvage and restore monuments that faced destruction and to draw the attention of the international community to the extent of the damage. These are just few of the countless actions he has taken throughout his career to serve cultural heritage.
Mr. Meder’s dedication to his profession was evident in the way he has fought to improve public institutions and services that enable the profession to function in the best way possible. For example, Mr. Meder contributed to the establishment of the first three restoration graduate studies in Croatia, developed and implemented state qualifying exams for conservation-restoration professionals.
“Mr. Ferdinand Meder has instituted the profession of conservation and elevated educational standards in his country. He sets a fine example for public service in conservation”,stated the jury.
“Mr. Meder has gone beyond the call of duty. Throughout the different eras of his country, he has adapted and has always worked in the interest of cultural heritage. Even in periods of conflict, he has exercised his unflinching dedication to the defence of heritage and has raised awareness in the international heritage sphere”, highlighted the jury.
EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards
The European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards was launched by the European Commission in 2002 and has been run by Europa Nostra since then. It celebrates and promotes best practices related to heritage conservation, research, management, voluntarism, education and communication. In this way, it contributes to a stronger public recognition of cultural heritage as a strategic resource for Europe’s economy and society. The Prize is supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.
In the past 15 years, organisations and individuals from 39 countries have submitted a total of 2,720 applications for the Awards. Concerning the number of entries by country, Spain is first in the ranking, with 498 projects, followed by the United Kingdom, with 286 applications, and Italy, with 278 entries. With regard to the categories, Conservation has had the most submissions (1,606). Next comes Education, Training and Awareness-Raising (457), then Research (340), and, finally, Dedicated Service to Heritage (317).
Since 2002, independent expert juries have selected 455 award-winning projects from 34 countries. In line with the number of entries, Spain tops the list with 61 awards received. The United Kingdom is in second place with 60. Italy comes third (37 awards), Germany fourth (29 awards), and Greece fifth (27 awards). Regarding the categories, Conservation has the most winners (267) followed by Dedicated Service to Heritage (67), Education, Training and Awareness-Raising (65), and, lastly, Research (56).
A total of 95 Grand Prix of €10,000 have been presented to outstanding heritage initiatives, selected from among the award-winning projects.
The EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards has further strengthened the capacity of the heritage sector in Europe by highlighting best practices, encouraging the cross-border exchange of knowledge and connecting various stakeholders in wider networks. It has also brought major benefits to the winners, such as greater (inter)national exposure, follow-on funding and increased visitor numbers. In addition, it has raised awareness of our shared heritage amongst the general public while highlighting its intrinsic European character. The Prize is therefore a key tool to promote Europe’s heritage.
Europa Nostra is the pan-European federation of heritage NGO’s which is also supported by a wide network of public bodies, private companies and individuals. Covering more than 40 countries in Europe, the organisation is the voice of civil society committed to safeguarding and promoting Europe’s cultural and natural heritage. Founded in 1963, it is today recognised as the most representative heritage network in Europe. Plácido Domingo, the world-renowned opera singer and conductor, is the President of the organisation.
Europa Nostra campaigns to save Europe's endangered monuments, sites and landscapes, in particular through ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ programme. It celebrates excellence through the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards. It also contributes to the formulation and implementation of European strategies and policies related to heritage, through a structured dialogue with European Institutions and the coordination of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3.
Creative Europe is the new EU programme to support the cultural and creative sectors, enabling them to increase their contribution to jobs and growth. With a budget of €1.46 billion for 2014-2020, it supports organisations in the fields of heritage, performing arts, fine arts, interdisciplinary arts, publishing, film, TV, music, and video games as well as tens of thousands of artists, cultural and audiovisual professionals. The funding will allow them to operate across Europe, to reach new audiences and to develop the skills required in the digital age.