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08 setembro 2021
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European Heritage Days 2021: heritage for all

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After the long closing period of cultural places due to the health crisis, the French Ministry of Culture confirmed that the customary European Heritage Days will indeed take place on 18 and 19 September. This new 38th edition will be an opportunity to meet and gather around the theme “Heritage for All”, a theme that will shed the light on the history of rail, but also on all the “inclusive” aspects of heritage.

 

The Heritage Days were created in 1984 at the initiative of France, and became European in 2010. Since this date, about 50 countries in Europe participate in these Days, dedicated to opening the national heritage, monuments, churches, theatres, palaces, private mansions, but also institutional buildings such as universities, City halls, prefectures or Tribunals to the general public.

 

European year of the rail

 

The European Commission has designated 2021 as the European Year of Rail, and the Heritage Days naturally honour the French rail heritage for this new edition.

As the French Minister of Culture wrote in her presentation of the event, “this year, we pay a special tribute to the rail heritage of our country, on the verge of celebrating the 40 years of our TGV”. According to the Minister, “the adventure of the rail led to unprecedented development in our country, while deeply marking our literature and collective imaginary”. Thanks to the Heritage Days, “anyone can feel this mark by discovering the railway stations, trains, legendary locomotives that marked our history”.

 

Federative ambition and inclusive spirit

 

In addition to railway stations and trains, numerous locations will this year be open to the general public again. According to the organisers of this edition, the concept of the Heritage for all is aimed at having “all the federative ambition of the event” and its “inclusive spirit to invite everyone to celebrate the richness of our national heritage”.

In concrete terms, in mainland France and overseas territories, public and private managers and owners of historical monuments, heritage conservation and promotion NGOs, curators of heritage goods, and guide speakers “will answer the call to welcome the public, while observing barrier measures”.

 

Heroes of inclusion

 

It’s in this “spirit of inclusion” that many locations will be promoted under various forms, a series of portraits under the banner of “heroes of inclusion”. The most prominent of these “heroes” will be without a doubt Marie Curie. First female teacher and head of a faculty at the Sorbonne University, holder of two Nobel prizes, Marie Curie contributed to the “inclusion of women in education and science”.

Other French figures, less know but just as important in their filed and for mankind will also be honoured: George Sand, female writer in the 19th century, Olympe de Gouges, revolutionary feminist, but also the abbot de l’Epée, benefactor of the deaf and hearing-impaired in the 18th century, or Valentin Haüy, one of the very first to work for the social and cultural inclusion of blind people.

 

Many others are registered in the programme of these Days that mark, more than even, according to the Ministry of Culture and its partners, the perfect moment “to meet, share, learn and marvel together”!

 

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