Opening up new collaborations between cultural heritage and tourism


Cultural tourism represents 40% of tourism in Europe, and as travel inspiration and sources for new immersive experiences, digital cultural collections certainly contribute to sustaining and increasing this share. Some recent examples from Europeana include our Discovering Europe season, which aimed to highlight Europe’s rich natural beauty and cultural heritage to inspire travel to local and alternative destinations, as well as Generic Services projects, such as Jewish History Tours.

In 2022, a new collaboration with the Cultural Routes of Europe initiative makes the promise for diverse and exciting reuse opportunities of cultural heritage. Launched in 1987, Cultural Routes of Europe is a program of the Council of Europe and currently presents 48 certified cultural routes on various topics, from Jewish heritage to Vikings and Santiago de Compostela routes, that illustrate European memory, history and heritage and contribute to an interpretation of the diversity of present-day Europe. The routes are seen as key resources for responsible tourism and sustainable development.

First success stories

Europeana works closely together with the Cultural Route of Jewish Heritage, run by the project partner AEPJ, within the Jewish History Tours Generic Services project. This project aims to aggregate and enrich content on Jewish life in Europe across times and locations and use it as material to create engaging, high-quality digital tours on pan-European topics, such as multiculturalism, persecution and migration. The tour production is supported by several innovations, including a platform for creating tours, an Artificial Intelligence recommendation system for authors, and a semi-automatic geographical enrichment and machine translation for multilingual tours. The tours are published by well-known tourism platforms, such as Clio Muse Tour and izi.TRAVEL with more partnerships coming up. You can take a peek at the first published tours in Berlin, Barcelona, ​​and Salonica.

A further collaboration with the Cultural Routes is the virtual exhibition Napoleon and urbanism in the 19th century, which was published on Europeana website in May 2022. The exhibition was created by the European Federation of Napoleonic Cities – Cultural Route Destination Napoleon as part of Destination Napoleon European Week 2022 and has registered over 8,000 visits so far. Europeana and the Destination Napoleon route are currently exploring ways to expand the collaboration into education and tourism (using the platform created within the Jewish History Tours project).

scaling up

At Europeana, we consider the collaboration with the Cultural Routes of Europe a strategic partnership, especially in the light of the future efforts on strengthening the relation between the data spaces on cultural heritage and tourism. We are exploring ways to raise awareness about our two initiatives and facilitate the connections and future partnerships between the Routes’ representatives and cultural heritage institutions.

First steps in this direction were taken at the 9th Training Academy of Cultural Routes of Europe in the beginning of June 2022 in Fontainebleau, France. I presented the Europeana Initiative, the expectations for the data space on cultural heritage and possible areas of collaboration. This presentation was complemented by the case study of Jewish History Tours given by Pavel Kats, Director of Jewish Heritage Network, and Victor Sorenssen, Director of AEPJ. The event allowed for informal networking with other Routes representatives and for initiation of strategic talks with Stefano Dominioni, Director of the European Institute of Cultural Routes.

Join the special session at Europeana 2022

As a next step, Europeana, AEPJ and the Jewish Heritage Network invite you to join the dedicated Culture & Tourism session at the Europeana annual conference, 28-30 September in The Hague, the Netherlands. The session will run as a joint co-creation workshop where the project partners will use their experience to suggest synergies between the Cultural Routes of Europe and the Europeana Network in the context of the emerging European ecosystem of common data spaces.

The session will run in a hybrid format in the afternoon of September 28 and you can join it (and the rest of the conference) free of charge online. Secure your place by registering here.

We look very much forward to welcoming you at the conference and create together new opportunities in the intersection of cultural heritage and tourism.

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