Cultural Route of the Council of Europe
The term Cultural Route refers to “a route that crosses one or more than one Country or Region, and which is based on themes of European historical, artistic and social interest, both due to its geographical setting and to its content and meaning”.
The Cultural Routes Program was born in 1987 from the awareness of the existence of important European cultural attractions and of their role in the cultural valorisation of free time, gained within a Core working group of the Council of Europe. It leads to the idea of fostering the rediscover of the European cultural community also in the Countries of Central and Eastern Europe through the journey. Landscapes and routes are deeply connected: the European Landscape Convention also promotes the values of the Council of Europe by defining the landscape as an integral part of local identities and of the European collective identity.
The actual development of the itineraries depends mainly on the concrete initiatives taken by national, regional and local authorities, as well as private operators in each Country. Among these operators, an arrangement on the lands is possible for the implementation of the routes, the highlighting of the paths, the realisation of complementary infrastructures, where needed, the awareness of citizens through documents and publications, the advertising campaign with mass media, the meetings with young people.
In order to implement and develop the Program, in 1998 the European Institute of Cultural Routes (IEIC) has been established as part of a political agreement between the Council of Europe and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, which regulated the action of this institution in the 49 countries signing the Convention and, according to the geographical and historical necessity of the themes, in the countries that had and still have direct relations with the European continent. The Institute – which owns prestigious venues to welcome project promoters, researchers, students and all stakeholders – is also in charge of participating in European training, research and analysis programs focusing on cultural tourism for both the Commission European and for Governments and those responsible for public and private projects.
The first Route launched by the Program was “the Santiago de Compostela Routes”, later expanded into the “Pilgrim Routes in Europe” that also includes the “Via Francigena”. Afterward, other themes of cooperation have been proposed to the European Institute of Cultural Routes, up to the current 31 (“Architecture without borders”, “The Silk – The Textile”, “The Baroque”, “The Monastic Influence”, “The Celts”, “Parks and Gardens”, “The Vikings”, “Iter Vitis”…).
In 2005 the IEIC created the European Group of Economic Interest “Culture Routes Europe” (GEIE), which groups together the networks responsible for the implementation of the various itineraries.
European Institute of Cultural Routes
Abbaye de Neumünster, Bâtiment Robert Bruch
28, rue Münster, L-2160 Luxembourg (Grand Duchy of Luxembourg)
Tel: +352 24 12 50
www.coe.int/routes – firstname.lastname@example.org