European cultural convention

Culture and heritage

There has always been recognition of the major role performed by culture in the progress of social knowledge, understanding of others and transmission of values. Together with democracy and human rights, it constitutes a precondition for a satisfying life, and a source of fulfilment.

The Council of Europe from its creation has been aware of the role of culture and education in encouraging respect for cultural diversity while furthering common values.

Adopted on 19 December 1954 , the Cultural Convention is the foundation for European co-operation in the fields of culture, education, youth and sport. Its aim is to encourage cultural co-operation in all its manifold forms, to foster understanding and knowledge between European countries, and to preserve their cultural heritage and treat it as an integral part of a broader "European" heritage.

Over 50 years after its adoption, the Cultural Convention remains true to these goals. Following the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe (Warsaw, 2005), one of the Organisation's priority actions is the promotion of intercultural and interfaith dialogue.

There are now 50 signatories to the Cultural Convention: the 47 Council of Europe member states together with Belarus, the Holy See and Kazakhstan.

Cultural Routes: Tracking Europe’s past and future

The Council of Europe’s 24 Cultural Routes offer a voyage of discovery through Europe’s identity, celebrating both the traditions and the peoples who have made us who and what we are.

Launched in 1987 with the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage trail, the routes zigzag their way through Europe, following the steps of traders, artisans, religious orders, musicians and inventors and marking important economic and social steps – from the harvesting and marketing of wine and olives, to the march of industry and the development of the spa for recreation and health From the Hansa traders of the middle-ages, to the history of the Roma, the routes show the meaning of diversity, and how it can benefit society by fostering stable and prosperous societies.

Attracting more than 6 million visitors a day, the routes are an important reminder of the fact that our cultural heritage is an important part of our identity; and that respecting that culture is a right.

30th Council of Europe exhibition "Art since 1945"

This diptych exhibition will be number 30 in the series of pan-European exhibitions, established in the mid 1950s to increase knowledge and appreciation of European art and demonstrate the historic unity of European culture.It will unfold over the period from 2012 to 2014.

"Art since 1945" attempts to deal with aspects of art in Europe, as a whole, encompassing many of the 47 member states that are signatories to the European Cultural Convention. It focuses for the first time on the common roots of European cultures and ideologies in the Enlightenment and offers, not only a new interpretive key, but also a new geography of the art produced in all European countries, both central and peripheral, and from different historical and cultural traditions in the North, South, East and West.