Europe in thirty‑eight scenes – Marek Świdrak

The now ending year 2018, which by the decision of the European Union became a year of celebrating European Cultural Heritage, is the right moment to take a look at the most important EU projec in this area, the European Heritage Label (EHL).

This programme has its roots in a 2007 intergovernmental initiative of seventeen countries, which was a response to the difficulties in deepening European integration. Cultural heritage was then recognised as a valuable tool which could help consolidate the European community. In 2011, the European Heritage Label became a programme of the European Union, and n 2018 it is five years since the first four EHL titles were awarded. This was how the campaign to build a common European cultural narrative was launched, supported by the Brussels House of European History since 2017. Initial years of EHL’s existence clarified its nature and produced the first successes, but also disappointments. Conceptually stable, but also territorially limited and poorly recognisable, this project requires new instruments for its development and incentives for potential new objects to participate in it. But what has already been achieved and how is the flagship project to extend European integration to the field of culture now faring?

Its substantive and procedural framework has been outlined by the European Heritage Label Expert Panel. According to the criteria prepared by this international team with changing membership, the candidate object for the title of EHL must meet specific technical and substantive requirements. Above all, it is necessary for it to be a bearer of “symbolic European values.” This property, which is difficult to define, may manifest itself in its supranational and preferably pan‑European significance, playing an important role in European history, preferably in terms of (not only EU) integration, and finally in the context of the development and promotion of community values. The conception of the EHL object, as the overview below will show, is very broad. The objects can be natural, archaeological, industrial or urban, they can be monuments, cultural landscapes or objects of culture. It is not necessary for a  candidate to have a long pedigree, given the relatively short history of the European Union itself. Contemporary buildings are also fully accepted – among the places which have been awarded the EHL title, almost half are from the 20th century, and more than 20 percent are related to events from the second half of the 20th century. An additional requirement for candidates is to provide a project highlighting and presenting their European dimension to European audiences. Candidates are required to demonstrate that they have the operational capacity to carry out the project. This requirement demonstrates the  high expectations as to the effectiveness of the Labels in the implementation of the project’s main idea. Meeting the above criteria obliges the Expert Panel to approve the candidacy – hence the far‑reaching typological diversity between particular Labels and their resonance. The nature of the requirements for candidates clearly differentiates this programme from the UNESCO World Heritage List. The European Heritage Label, although apparently similar to the WHL, neither is a  „beauty contest”, nor makes protection of the objects its main objective. Preservation of these depositaries of the past for future generations is the task of their host countries. By adopting a  pragmatic approach to the objects in order to incorporate tchem into the mechanisms of politics, the character of the Label places them on the lieux de mémoire level. The European Heritage Label focuses on making use of their wealth of symbolic meanings and not on their material aspect. Incorporating a  given object in the EHL system is thus a cultural regulation which highlights its specific meaning by legitimising a rigorous interpretation. From the point of view of the evaluation possibilities now available, the difference in the recognisability of EHL and the UNESCO list is illusory. It should be remembered that the list of world heritage sites was implemented six years after the Paris Convention was drawn up and only gained a wider reputation in the 1980s. Seven years after the adoption of the EU initiative, the list of Labels includes 38 sites. Due to the short existence of the project, far‑reaching geographical disproportions can be seen – the objects are located in 18 EU Member States, with the majority of countries having just one site, while the countries leading in terms of the number of objects, that is Poland and France, have four. This distribution, which is due to expand significantly, raises high hopes for reversing anti‑community tendencies and overcoming European cultural prejudices. But does the existing list already embody the maxim of pluribus unum and does a coherent narrative, visible for everyone, emerge from the objects? This question cannot yet be answered unequivocally. It is certain, however, that the search for the answer should start with getting acquainted with the objects already recognised as European Heritage Labels.

In order to avoid misunderstandings, the catalogue presented below is based on the chronological criterion, that is the time of the creation of a given site or the occurrence of a given event. For it should be noted that a categorisation based on their substance or merits would of necessity be arbitrary and blurred. Of course, this does not undermine the fact that many clearly defined groups can be distinguished among the EHL. Using various systems, one could point at such categories as documents, war locations, places connected with political breakthroughs, or objects relating to with the history of the European Union. The characteristic diversity of the Labels also concerns the emotions associated with their most frequent connotations. A significant number of objects evoke difficult moments in the history of the continent. However, this certainly helps to build a more balanced message, highlighting both the successes and failures of Europe and its peoples.

Translated from the Polish by Tomasz Bieroń

Marek Świdrak – lawyer and art historian, employee of the ICC, researcher of modern Central European architecture and cultural heritage rights.

1. Krapina Neanderthal Museum, Croatia

The Croatian Neanderthal Museum is the only European Heritage Label object to date related to prehistoric times. The museum, located near the town of Krapina in the Hrvatsko Zagorje region, presents discoveries made during the archaeological excavations which lasted from 1899 to 1905 at the Hušnjakovo brdo mountain. The Neanderthal bones found there form the most numerous set in the whole of Europe. The age of the remnants was estimated in the 1990s at about 125 thousand years. By becoming the subject of intense scientific research, this discovery gave us the opportunity to significantly develop our knowledge about the functioning of the oldest human groups in the Old Continent. Located on the site of former excavations, the multimedia museum presents a wide range of issues related to evolution and the Neanderthal man – from the history of the first discoveries associated with this species of humans, through 19th century interpretations, to most recent scientific findings.

2. The heart of ancient Athens, Greece

The extensive Athens entry to the programme embraces a grouping of more than a hundred open‑air objects, including: the Acropolis, the religious centre of the city with its slopes, the Pnyx, where the citizens gathered in assembly, the agora, Hadrian’s library and the Keramejkos Cemetery. Art and architecture, political thought, literature, drama, historical thought, medicine and science, cultivated and developed there to the glory of ancien Athens, made this place the cradle of European civilisation. The most iconic and recognisable monuments of ancient Athens invoke, perhaps more than all other objects on our list, the achievements, events and people fundamental to the formation of one of the cores of European civilisation, which is particularly important from the point of view of the EHL – they remind us of the birth of democracy.

3. Carnuntum Archaeological Park, Austria

Located in north‑eastern Austria, ten kilometres from the border with Slovakia, the archaeological park presents Roman monuments from the castrum (military camp) on the Danube, the former capital of the Roman province of Upper Pannonia. Located at the crossroads of the amber route and the limes protecting the Empire from the north, Carnuntum was a strong centre spreading Roman culture far and wide. Mentioned for the first time in 6 A.D., it flourished in the second and third centuries, when it was inhabited by as many as forty thousand people, but it fell into decline in the 4th century. Only a  small part of the original area of about ten square kilometres has been uncovered and made available to visitors. Most of the area is covered by the remains of the foundations, but a special attraction of Carnuntum are buildings reconstructed with the use of techniques and materials characteristic for the Roman era. These facilities (public baths, a villa and the house of the famous merchant Lucius) are arranged and equipped in such a way as to familiarise the visitors with the reality of life in the Roman Empire.

4. Cluny Abbey, France

Founded in Burgundy in 910 by the Duke of Aquitaine, William the Pious, the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter and Paul in Cluny was once the largest and most important monastic centre in Europe. It played an extraordinary role in many fields, changing the cultural landscape of the turn of the millennium. It was the centre of political thought, influencing, among other things, the crusade movement. The Cluny reform, an attempt to renew monastic life, took its name from the abbey. The changes in liturgy it introduced were a strong stimulus for the development of artistic craftsmanship and fine arts, which provided an appropriate visual setting, as well as a musical culture with polyphonic choirs. The abbey was also a centre for the development of European architecture for more than two hundred years. The dynamically growing number of monks required larger and larger churches – the first was consecrated in 927, the second in 981, and the third in 1135. The last of them, the five‑aisled basilica with two transepts, a gem of late‑Romanesque architecture, remained the largest church in Europe until the time the new Basilica of St. Peter in Rome was erected. The abbey was closed during the French Revolution and in 1811 it was almost completely demolished.

5. The Přemyslid Castle and the Archdiocese Museum in Olomouc, Czech Republic

The Olomouc Archdiocesan Museum presents thousands of years of Christian culture and art in Moravia. As a religious centre since the Greater Moravian times, this place, thanks to the patronage of successive rulers, became a treasure trove of art, in the Czech Republic surpassed only by the riches of the National Gallery in Prague. The museum is located in the former palace of the Cathedral Chapter, including the 12th‑century Romanesque Bishop’s Palace adjacent to the cathedral, once considered to be the seat of the Přemyslid dynasty. The adaptation of the building carried out in 1998–2006 showed its multi‑layered character. The exhibited collection, including numerous pieces of medieval and modern art, proves the importance of the Přemyslid and Luxembourg dynasties ruling Moravia, as well as the remarkable effects of the patronage of the local archbishops and nobility.

6. Leipzig Music Trail, Germany

The Leipzig European Heritage Label is related to the musical culture of the city. The nine locations of the route document its development from the 13th century to the present day. Along the trail, you will find a variety of buildings: the churches of St. Nicholas and St. Thomas, concert halls, museums, research institutions, a conservatory and composers’ houses, all documenting the long musical tradition of the capital of Saxony. These places are connected with the life and activity of historical figures who had an overwhelming influence on the development of European musical culture: Johann Sebastian Bach, Felix Mendelssohn-Bertholdy, Robert and Clara Schumann, Richard Wagner and Edvard Grieg. The route is not only about history, however, but also about the world‑famous Gewandhaus Orchestra and the St. Thomas Choir, which keep up the genius loci of Leipzig.

7. Archive of the Crown of Aragon in Barcelona, Spain

The Archive of the Crown of Aragon in Barcelona was founded in 1318. A significant increase in bureaucratic and administrative activity during the reign of James I the Conqueror, as well as the takeover of the Templar Order’s archive in 1307, resulted in James II the Just designating two rooms in the Barcelona castle for storing documents (the archive was located in these rooms until 1770). Initially collecting only decrees and administrative records, the archive was quickly extended to include all documents related to the ruling dynasty and the court: treasury accounts, court cases adjudicated by court judges, reports of deputies, or family correspondence. The archive soon ceased to be private property of the king, becoming an administrative institution of the kingdom. It continued to gather documents until 1727, and in the 19th century its collection became publicly accessible. Operating continuously for 700 years, the archive has one of the largest and most valuable collections of documents in Europe, mainly related to the Middle Ages. Due to the role played by the rulers of Aragon and their extensive contacts, the archive contains documents concerning not only Spain, but also Italy, Portugal, France, England, Germany, Central European countries, the Balkans, Greece, Turkey and other Muslim countries.

8. Great Guild in Tallinn, Estonia

The building of the Great Guild houses a branch of the Historical Museum of Estonia. Originating from 1410, it was raised for the Great Guild – an organisation of German merchants operating in the Hanseatic League. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the League brought together practically all the cities on the shores of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Thus, it was not only one of the most important initiatives in the history of economic integration in Europe, but also a platform which allowed the spread of cultural patterns, as exemplified by the architecture of the Great Guild. Today the Guild building, the pearl of Tallinn Gothic architecture, houses an interactive museum, which presents 11,000 years of history of the area of today’s Estonia. The exhibition places particular emphasis on Hanseatic issues, presenting not only the local, but also the European context of international trade development in the late Middle Ages.

9. Sagres Point, Portugal

Sagres Point forms an extraordinary natural landscape of great historical significance. Rising in fifty‑metre high cliffs above the place where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean, it had an important religious function already in the Stone Age, preserved also in later times (its name comes from the term Sacrum Promontorium – the sacred cape). Considered for a long time to be the westernmost place inhabited by man, it was chosen as the location for the school of cartography and astronomy – the first maritime academy in the world, founded by the Portuguese Infant Henry the Navigator, who died there in 1460. Today, there is a fortress on the cape, rebuilt after the earthquake of 1755, which also houses older monuments – a 16th‑century observation tower and the Church of Our Lady of Grace. Near the fortress, in the 1990s, a huge rose of winds with a diameter of 43 meters was discovered, probably dating back to the Times of Henry the Navigator. Sagres Point played a key role in the history of geographical discoveries which shaped the fate of Europe and the rest of the world in the modern era.

10. University of Coimbra General Library, Portugal

Founded before 1513, the library was incorporated into the university after its transfer from Lisbon to Coimbra in 1537. The institution quickly gained public status – already its statute from 1571 defined it as “a library for teachers, students and all other people.” It owes its international fame mainly to the impressive Baroque building, put into use in 1728. This so‑called Joanine Library still serves as one of the buildings of the University library, storing publications dating back to 1800. Surprisingly, the building continues to benefit from traditional insect control – every night bats are let into its rooms to eat insects. The library was one of the first to make subject catalogues available (1748). The institution never yielded to censorship, and all its collections were accessible even under the dictatorship of Salazar. Operating for more than 500 years, the library, with its world‑class collections of books, is one of the leading European examples of the development of this type of institution. 

11. Hofburg – palace of the rulers of Austria, Vienna, Austria

The Hofburg Palace was founded around 1280 as the seat of the Austrian princes. Transformed and extended many times, it became the seat of the Habsburg Dynasty, and at the same time the main centre of power of the Holy Roman Empire and, until 1918, of the Austrian Empire. At present, the palace continues to serve as the seat of the Head of State, housing the office of the President of Austria. This gigantic complex of buildings played a significant role in the history of Europe – it was the centre of management of a multinational and multi‑religious state, which in its heyday covered most of Central Europe, was one of the main centres of Counter‑Reformation, and was the venue of the Congress of Vienna, as a result of which a new political order was established on the Old Continent. The palace also bears traces of the work of outstanding architects, including Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt, Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach and Gottfrie Semper. In this vast edifice there are also many world‑class museums, including the Albertina, the Museum of Art History, and the Museum of Natural History.

12. The Union of Lublin, Poland

The Lublin European Heritage Label consists of three sites: the Castle Chapel of the Holy Trinity, the Dominican Monastery complex and the Union of Lublin Monument. Altogether they constitute a  reminder of the agreement signed on 1 July 1569 between the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, establishing a union between these countries, and thus giving rise to the Commonwealth of Two Nations. This political entity, which was to last more than 200 years, was the largest state in 17th‑century Europe, and a democracy of the nobility emerged in its multi‑ethnic area. Due to the extreme ethnic diversity, the functioning of monetary union and the involvement of citizens in state governance, the Union of Lublin Act is considered to be a milestone on the path of European integration, and as a kind of predecessor of the European Union.

13. Münster and Osnabrück – venues of the Peace of Westphalia, Germany

The European Heritage Label title shared by Münster and Osnabrück commemorates the conclusion of the Peace Treaties of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). In both cities, the objects which were granted the EHL are the town halls, where the four‑year negotiations were held, ending one of the most bloody armed conflicts in the history of Europe. The Thirty Years’ War, caused by religious conflicts, involved, directly or indirectly, almost all European countries, and more than eight million people, mainly civilians, died during the war. The final act was of key importance for the development of international law and the organisation of European countries. As a result, the balance of power in Europe was reshaped – France became a Continental hegemon, the position and area of Sweden, Saxony and Brandenburg significantly increased, independence of Switzerland and Holland was recognised, and the Augsburg Peace Treaty was extended to Calvinists. So the Westphalia Peace profoundly transformed the European order, establishing a new geopolitical settlement, many of its provisions remaining stable to this day. 

14. Constitution of 3 May 1791, Warsaw, Poland

The Constitution of 3 May 1791, stored in the Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw, was awarded the European Heritage Label in recognition of its pioneering character. Adopted during a  session of the Sejm of the Great Polish‑Lithuanian Commonwealth in Warsaw, it was the first constitution in Europe, and the second in the world, after the American one. The Constitution, although remaining in force for less than 15 months, was a revolution in the history of European political systems. Separation of powers, freedom of religion and solutions aimed at abolishing the subjugation of peasants were expressions of the then prevailing philosophy of European Enlightenment. The adoption of this act occupies a prominent place among the most important steps towards the creation of modern Europe which rejects the reign of absolute monarchies. The aspects of justice and democratisation contained in the law, as well as the peaceful mode of its adoption are perceived as constitutive for contemporary European values.

15. Tartu University complex, Estonia

Tartu University was founded in 1632 by King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden. Later it was moved temporarily to Parnava and in 1802, on the order of Russian Tsar Alexander I, it returned to Tartu. It was then that a large university campus complex was created. The motto accompanying the design and construction of the campus was “University in the city – university in the park.” According to this concept, a unique complex of University buildings with sophisticated classical architecture, located in park areas in the heart of the city, was created. The academic practice there had been shaped according to the Enlightenment concept of the university, combining research and teaching. Throughout its history, Tartu University has been a centre of education for students from many countries, also after the liquidation in 1831 of the universities in Vilnius and Warsaw, when it became the most popular place of study for Poles from the Russian partition. The University campus, home to the oldest art museum in Estonia, is strongly symbolic – it forms a visual emblem of the city and emphasises its European identity.

16. Hambach Castle, Germany

The beginnings of the history of Hambach Castle are lost in oblivion. However, it is known that this fortress located in the eastern Rhineland became the property of the bishops of Speyer and remained in their hands until the end of the 18th century. The most important event in the history of the castle, which was the basis for awarding it the title of European Heritage Label, was a convention combined with a demonstration organised there on 27–30 May 1832. This short festival brought together thirty thousand Germans from all estates, as well as representatives of France and Poland, who united in joint demands for freedom, equality, tolerance and democracy. The participants of the demonstration also postulated the unification of Germany and expressed solidarity with Polish emigrants who fled after the defeat of the November Uprising. This festiwal was the first event in the history of German republicanism, which became a symbol of efforts aimed at the unity of Germany, but also of Europe, as well as an icon of the German democratic movement.

17. Great Synagogue complex in Budapest, Hungary

The Great Synagogue in Budapest, at Dohány Street, is the largest of its kind in Europe and the third largest in the world, which testifies to the size of the pre‑war Jewish community in the Hungarian capital. The building was designed in the characteristic Neo‑Mauritanian style of synagogue architecture in the 19th century and raised in 1854– 1859. From its inception, this place was a centre of neo‑Judaism. The synagogue was blown up by one of the Hungarian pro‑Nazi groups before the outbreak of the Second World Was in February 1939. Its reconstruction was completed in 1996. The complex also includes: the Jewish Museum with its archives; a monument to Hungarian Jewish soldiers, victims of the First World War; a garden; and a park dedicated to the memory of Raoul Wallenberg, in recognition of his efforts to save Jews from the Shoah. This centre now serves both as a place of worship and site of memory, and in accordance with the doctrine of neological Judaism promotes integration and openness to dialogue.

18. Fort Cadine, Trento, Italy

Located in Trento, Fort Cadine has functioned as a military, memorial and cultural arena in its more than 150‑years‑long history. It was built in 1860–1862 as part of a wide network of border forts of the Austrian Empire. Disarmed in 1915, it served as a warehouse for the Italian army as a result of a shift of borders. During the Second World War it was occupied by Nazi Germany’s troops. Since 2014, it is a cultural venue focusing on artistic events and issues related to the history of fortifications, the phenomenon of borders and the history of the First World War. As a European Heritage Label object, Fort Cadine, which is part of an extensive system of border fortresses, serves as a memento of historical divisions, armed conflicts and changing borders, forming part of a narrative highlighting the value of open borders and free movement of people, which is at the heart of the European Union.

19. Charter of Law of the abolition of the death penalty, Lisbon, Portugal

The 1867 Charter abolishing death penalty for civil crimes, stored in the National Archives of Torre do Tombo, Lisbon, bears witness to one of the first permanent abolitions of this form of repression introduced in European national law (in the 18th century death penalty was temporarily abolished in Russia and Tuscany. The first permanent abolition of death penalty in Europe was introduced in San Marino in 1848). The initiator of the new law, King Luis I Bragança of Portugal (reigned from 1861 to 1889), was motivated by humanitarian ethics in this matter. The act of 1867 was preceded by the abolition of death penalty for political crimes in 1852. Death penalty for war crimes was finally lifted in 1976. The abolition of death penalty, part of a wider spectrum of human rights, is a key element of EU policy. On the pan‑European level, it is reflected in the Protocols to the European Convention on Human Rights and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

20. Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary

Founded by the genius composer and pianist in 1875, the Conservatory, which over time developed into a powerful and multi‑purpose institution of global renown, was originally housed in Liszt’s own home. Since 1907, the seat of the Academy has been the building designed by Flóris Korb and Kálmán Giergel, an important example of Hungarian Art Nouveau. The Academy is a leading music school hosting more than 600 concerts a year, a research institution and a museum. Just like Liszt’s own activity, the university has an avowedly international character, from the very beginning promoting openness, creativity and innovative approaches using the universal language of music. It’s great contribution to world music teaching is the promotion of Zoltán Kodály’s revolutionary method, which the artist developed when lecturing at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music.

21. Mundaneum, Mons, Belgium

Mundaneum, founded by Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine, was established in 1910 in Brussels as an initiative aimed at collecting and classifying all human knowledge. Regardless of the medium in which it was recorded, knowledge was ordered using a system developed by them, called universal decimal classification. The authors of the Mundaneum were guided by noble causes, for which the system they were developing was only a tool. The utopian idea of identifying and making available all human knowledge was to lead to a deepening of interpersonal understanding and thus contribute to the promotion of world peace (incidentally, Henri La Fontaine was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1913). The institution they founded was a milestone in the development of collection and management of scientific information, thus making a significant contribution to the development of European civilisation in the 20th century. In its present form, Mundaneum is an institution based in Mons (Wallonia) documenting and presenting the achievements of this innovative and revolutionary initiative.

22. Residencia de Estudiantes, Madrid, Spain

Residencia de Estudiantes (Student Residence) was founded in 1910 as an attempt to implement a  model university college in Spain. Combining academic, cultural and scientific institutions, it played an important role in the education of the intellectual and artistic elites of Spain. Its students included Salvador Dalí, Luis Buñuel and Federico García Lorca. The Residencia organised numerous lectures and seminars, to which the most eminent figures in Europe were invited, including Maria Skłodowska‑Curie, Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Igor Stravinsky and Albert Einstein. Re‑opened in 1986, it continues the tradition developed before the Spanish Civil War. Hosting prominent researchers and artists from all over Europe, organising conferences, workshops, discussions and exhibitions, it is a leading Spanish institution supporting open exchange of views, creativity and a critical view of contemporary scientific and artistic trends.

23. Peace Palace, The Hague, Holland

In 1899 the First World Peace Conference was held in The Hague. Although its main objective – an agreement on disarmament – could not be achieved, the conference concluded that international conflicts should be solved in the future through legal rather than armed means. This idea resulted in the creation of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), which came into being in 1902. The Peace Palace, founded by Andrew Carnegie and built as the seat of the court, was opened in 1913. In later years, this magnificent building became the seat of further institutions created as a result of the development of international law. At present it houses, in addition to the PCA, the International Court of Justice, the Hague Academy of International Law and the Library of International Law. The Peace Palace has been the venue for many discussions on international treaties, with the 1954 Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict at the forefront. The Peace Palace is widely regarded as the epicentre of the development of international law and provides an eloquent symbol of international cooperation for the establishment of universal world peace.

24. Memorial Church of the Holy Spirit on the Javorca plateau, Tolmin, Slovenia

The memorial Church of the Holy Spirit on the Javorca plateau in the Triglav National Park in Slovenia was financed and built in 1916 by the Austro‑Hungarian 3rd Mountain Brigade to commemorate the soldiers killed in the battles on the Soča (Isonzo, 1915– 1917). Completed in just seven months, when fighting was still going on, it was erected in a prominent place, both visible to soldiers and providing them with safety against fire. The designer of the church was a Viennese painter and architect, Lieutenant Remigius Geyling, who took part in the nearby battles. The building was raised in a style combining local traditions with Viennese Art Nouveau, which is mainly manifested in the multi‑coloured interior decoration. The church commemorates soldiers of different nationalities and religions who died in the area. The names of 2564 of them can be seen on wooden plaques inside the building.

25. War Cemetery No. 123 – Łużna‑Pustki, Poland

War Cemetery No. 123, established in 1918 on the Pustki hill, is a place of remembrance of one of the biggest battles of the First World War on the eastern front, fought between Austria‑Hungary and Germany, and the Russian army – the battle of Gorlice, called the Verdun of the East. It is one of more than 400 Western Galician war cemeteries built by the War Graves Division of the Imperial‑Royal Military Headquarters in Kraków. The cemetery is a burial place for soldiers of different religious and cultural identities, coming from places which today lie on the territory of Austria, Hungary, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, and Slovenia. The cemetery was designed by Jan Szczepkowski and Dušan Jurkovič. It is located on a steep hillside and topped with a monumental wooden shingle‑roofed chapel. The Łużna‑Pustki Cemetery is a place of remembrance reflecting the idea of egalitarianism through equal commemoration of fallen soldiers, regardless of their military, ethnic or religious affiliation.

26. Kaunas 1919–1940, Lithuania

The only Lithuanian European Heritage Label so far was awarded to the legacy of Kaunas from the 1919–1940 period, when the city was the temporary capital of the Republic of Lithuania. This situation led to a dynamic urban and architectural growth of the city – in this previously provincial town more than 6,000 new buildings were built in such a short period, 42 of which are EHL objects. The conviction that the capital city status of Kaunas was only temporary (according to the Lithuanian constitution the capital was Vilnius, at that time outside the country) led to the development of architecture for residential, cultural, educational, commercial and religious rather than political purposes. The designers of the new Kaunas had received their education at numerous foreign universities, which produced an architectural polyphony – although it is true that the architecture represents mostly different types of interwar modernism, other stylistic tendencies are also present, from classicism to Art Déco. The townscape is a testimony to strong ties of Kaunas with leading architectural centres and is an outstanding legacy of the interwar period.

27. Camp Westerbork, Holland

Located in the northeast of Holland, Camp Westerbork was established in the summer of 1939 as a  refugee camp for Jews fleeing from Central Europe, it was later changed by the Nazis into a transit camp, from which 107,000 Jews were deported to concentration camps. Immediately after the Second World War, it was filled with Germans and their collaborators awaiting sentences. In the 1960s, this place became a refuge for Dutch people who had to leave West Indies due to decolonisation. The complex was demolished in 1971 and in 1983 the commemoration of its history began. At present, it houses a museum dealing with the key issues of occupation, persecution, migration, decolonisation and multiculturalism.

28. Former concentration camp Natzweiler‑Struthof including satellite camps, France and Germany

The former concentration camp Natzweiler‑Struthof, together with 14 satellite camps on both sides of the Rhine, is the only cross‑border European Heritage Label to date. Functioning in 1941–1944, the camp was a prison for dissidents and resistance movement activists from various European countries, especially Poland. The Natzweiler was a forced labour camp, a transit camp and a place of execution. Of the 52,000 prisoners who ended up in this group of camps, about 22,000 died. Since 1965, there has been a museum devoted to the history of the camp, and in 2005 a European Centre for Deported Members of Resistance Movements was established. The places included in the Label perform an educational and commemorative function, emphasising not only the execution of prisoners, but first of all their heroic attitude, putting actions consistent with their beliefs above their own safety.

29. Franja Partisan Hospital, Slovenia

Located in the Slovenian mountains, the Franja Partisan Hospital from the Second World War was awarded the European Heritage Label title in recognition of the medical and humanitarian campaign of the Yugoslav partisans. This complex, consisting of several wooden buildings, was hidden from the German occupants by placing it in a remote woodland locality, making it accessible only through bridges which could be retracted and blindfolding patients transported there. The unit functioned from December 1943 until the end of the war, largely thanks to the help of the inhabitants of the surrounding villages. The international hospital crew helped all those in need – not only the Allies, but also the soldiers fighting for the Axis Powers. The institution owes its name to Franja Bojc Bidovec, a  doctor working there. Today, the former hospital houses a museu which promotes solidarity, democracy and human rights.

30. Memorial Site to the Victims of Communism and Resistance Movement, Sighetu Marmației, Romania

In August 1948, under the Stalinist regime in Romania, the Sighetu prison was filled with members of the anti‑communist resistance movement, mainly students and peasants. In 1950, the profile of prisoners changed – dissidents were joined by representatives of Romania’s social elite, including all members of the interwar Romanian government, scientists, military men, journalists, and clergy. In 1955, after the adoption of the Geneva Convention and Romania joining the UN, some prisoners were released and some were transferred to other detention centres. In 1977, the prison was closed. In 1993, the former prison building was purchased by a private Civic Academy Foundation, which adapted it for a museum. At present, each of the sixty cells is a room dedicated to a separate issue related to the development of the communist system and repressions in Romania and other Eastern European countries. The museum is complemented by the International Centre for Studies into Communism, responsible for conducting and disseminating the results of scientific research.

31. European Quarter, Strasbourg, France

Located in the heart of Alsace, Strasbourg has long been the home of numerous European cooperation organisations, and as such it deserves to be called the capital of Europe. Their growing number finally led to the creation of a “European Quarter”, where institutions embodying the idea of cooperation and integration between the countries of the Old Continent are located. The seats of international organisations and institutions located in the historic urban landscape include: the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine, which was established in 1815; the buildings of the Council of Europe and its specialised organisations: the Palace of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and the European Audiovisual Observatory; the European Parliament with its various agendas, such as the European Information Centre and European Documentation Centre; numerous independent institutions based on the principle of international cooperation, such as the Assembly of European Regions or the International Institute for Human Rights.

32. Robert Schuman’s House, Scy‑Chazelles, France

Located in Scy‑Chazelles, the EHL commemorates the two‑time French Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Finance and Justice, Robert Schuman. Schuman (1886– 1963) was one of the key figures in shaping post‑war European and transatlantic relations, recognised as one of the fathers of the European Union, the Council of Europe and NATO. It was at his home in Scy‑Chazelles that the so‑called Schuman Declaration was signed, and it included the plan to create a supranational international organisation, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). Later he also played an important role on this arena. For example, following the transformation of the ECSC Assembly into the European Parliament under the Treaties of Rome, he served as its first President for two years. Schuman is one of the most celebrated figures of European politics of the second half of the 20th century – throughout the European Union there are many institutions or schools bearing his name, and in 2004 the Catholic Church began the process of his beatification.

33. Bois du Cazier, Marcinelle, Belgium

Bois du Cazier is a memorial and museum complex of a former coal mine located in Wallonia. The fate of Belgian miners, depicted by van Gogh, since the 19th century increasingly concerned economic immigrants. In the middle of the 20th century, they constituted the majority of the crews mining the “black gold” for the European Coal and Steel Community. A key moment in the history of the Bois du Cazier was the catastrophe that took place on 8 August, 1956. It killed 262 miners from 12 different countries. 136 victims of this tragedy were Italian. The mine was closed down in 1967. Its complex has been included on the European Route of Industrial Heritage of the Council of Europe and on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Granting the European Heritage Label to the mine was due to its international context, which is directly linked to the history of the European Community. Moreover, its history is an eloquent symbol of an attitude to occupational safety which is crucial for the European Union.

34. Museo Casa De Gasperi, Pieve Tesino, Italy

Museo Casa De Gasperi in Pieve Tesino, Trento, was granted the European Heritage Label for its role in the commemoration of Alcide De Gasperi. Born in 1881, when Trento belonged to the Habsburg Empire, De Gasperi received his education in Vienna, where he was a deputy to the Austrian Parliament from 1911 to 1918. After the end of the First‑ World War, he became an Italian member of Parliament. In 1927 he was imprisoned by the Fascist regime. After the war, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs of both the United Kingdom of Italy and the Italian Republic. Later, as Italian Prime Minister, he contributed to the founding of the Council of Europe and the European Coal and Steel Community. In 1993, the process of his beatification was opened. The motto “United in Diversity” promoted by De Gasperi was adopted in 2000 by the European Union as its official motto, outlining a vision of the need for a united Europe to work together to ensure its prosperity and peace.

35. The Historic Gdańsk Shipyard, Gdańsk, Poland

The Gdańsk Shipyard, named after Lenin in 1967, was the site of events of national and European import. It was there that the brutally suppressed protests of December 1970, which accelerated the development of the democratic opposition, took place. The monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers of 1970, unveiled on the 10th anniversary of the massacre, was the first official monument dedicated to the victims of communism which was erected in the Soviet bloc. And finally, the shipyard was the site of the great strike in August 1980, which after three days was transformed into a nationwide protest of the society against the communist regime. The agreements concluded in Gdańsk led to the emergence of the first free trade union NSZZ “Solidarność”, headed by Lech Wałęsa. The activities of Solidarity, which turned into a mass social movement, led in 1989 to the collapse of communism and the political transformation of the whole Central Europe. The historic Gdańsk Shipyard granted the EHL includes the Health and Safety Hall, Gate No. 2, the Solidarity Square with a monument and the European Solidarity Centre.

36. Schengen, Luxembourg

In 1985, the town of Schengen on the Moselle in Luxembourg became the place where the countries of the Benelux Economic Union, France, and Germany signed an agreement on the abolition of border control between them. The association of states created in this way was a milestone on the road to one of the most important achievements of the European Union – the establishment of free movement of people within the Community. This place has thus become a symbol for the establishment of one of the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Treaties establishing the European Communities. The Schengen Agreement currently includes 22 EU Member States, plus Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway. You can find several objects commemorating the conclusion of the agreement in Schengen. The most important of these is the European Schengen Centre and its museum, the institution responsible for communicating the history of the agreement concluded there, as well as for promoting the vision of Europe without borders.

37. Pan‑European Picnic Memory Park in Sopron, Hungary

The park commemorating the Pan‑European Picnic of 19 August 1989 is located on the outskirts of Sopron near the Hungarian‑Austrian border. Thousands of people came there to take advantage of the three‑hour opening of borders between two countries on opposite sides of the Iron Curtain. Organised by the Hungarian democratic opposition and Otto Habsburg’s pan‑European movement with the consent of the Hungarian authorities, the Picnic became one of the catalysts for the fall of the Iron Curtain. Thanks to the opening of the gate, which had been closed for 40 years, 600 citizens of the German Democratic Republic fled to the West, starting a wave of emigration of another 50,000 Germans who left East Germany within three months of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Sopron European Heritage Label is a symbol of a community of nations not separated by borders, which is very important for European memory.

38. Maastricht Treaty, Holland

Maastricht in Holland, located at the borders with Germany and Belgium, in 1991 became the site of negotiations leading to the signing of the Treaty on European Union a year later. The Convention introduced instruments to strengthen the economic and social cohesion of the Community, created the Economic and Monetary Union, provided for the future introduction of the euro as a common currency of the Union, and established the citizenship of the European Union. The Treaty was the first important act of reorganisation of the European order after the fall of the Iron Curtain. The decisions contained in it based the functioning of the European Union on three separate pillars, introducing its new structure, including the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Commission of the Regions, the Court of Justice, and the European Court of Auditors. The Treaty is a milestone in the development of the European Community, being a source of principles constitutive for it.