Council of Europe marks end of its campaign in Riga

  • 2000-12-07
STRASBOURG(BNS) - The Council of Europe is to mark the end of its "Europe, a common heritage" campaign - designed to enable countries to get to know and understand each other's heritage better - with a look at all the contributions from different European countries. The event will take place in Riga Dec. 9.

Over 50 countries were involved in the campaign, showing their determination to use cultural heritage not for nationalistic ends, but to promote the idea of a shared Europe. The European Union, international governmental and non-governmental organizations, and local authorities took part in the campaign, which involved a total of over 1,100 projects.

Projects launched as part of the campaign have helped to create a new dynamism in Europe. They've allowed dialogue on cultural and religious issues between those in charge of cultural heritage and leaders of the monotheistic religions.

New cultural routes, such as the Balkans route, a network of old universities and of decorative arts workshops, were set up. Studies on traditional music, the heritage of wood, industrial heritage and minorities were carried out. Discussions were also held on social issues, such as the growing involvement of civil society in cultural heritage and the role of voluntary organizations.

The campaign also led to the opening for signatures to the CE's landscape convention in Florence, in October 2000. The convention has led to the setting up of a planned-to-be-held-annually landscape competition, the prize for which will be awarded for the first time at the Riga Conference to the "local and regional authorities" project "Landscapes working for the Vale of Glamorgan" (Wales) and the "associations" project "A sustainable village : Gšz-mšrzšlšs" (Hungary).

Latvia contributed to the campaign by restoring the ancient synagogue in Sabile in the Abava valley some 120 kilometers from Riga. Transformed into a sports hall in the communist era, it will now house a cultural center, part of which will be set aside as a monument to the old synagogue and its original community.

The ceremony closing the campaign will take place on Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. at the Latvian National Opera House in the presence of Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga and Council of Europe Deputy Secretary General Hans-Christian KrŸger. The ceremony will also launch the celebrations for the 800th anniversary of the city of Riga.