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The Park Abbey
The Park Abbey, close to the city of Leuven, once was one of the most prominent abbeys in the southern part of the Low Countries; nowadays it is the best-preserved abbey in Belgium.

Photo provided by CRKC 

FRH Newsletter

November 2017

Dear Friends,
Welcome to November’s newsletter. This edition features the official launch of the Centre for Religion and Heritage at the University of Groningen. Professor Todd Weir addresses the urgently pressing need for a scholarly focus on the issue of religious heritage in the Netherlands.  

We are travelling through Scotland and through time with 13 Pilgrim Journeys aimed at connecting ancient traditions with contemporary life. Those of you who dare to embark on this adventurous journey will experience the historic sentiment of fine religious heritage in hidden places of peace and beauty.

The idea behind the project is to enable visitors and local communities to be able to access Scotland's wonderful range of religious heritage in a meaningful way, regardless whether the visit is occasioned by spiritual or heritage motivation. If you live too far away from Scotland, why not find out more about the 500 Places of Worship involved in the route.

Have you ever wondered about the deeper link between our heritage and the economy? Well, if you haven’t, don’t be surprised that the historic environment is intrinsically linked to economic activity, with a large number of economic activities occurring within it, dependent on it or attracted to it. Our Heritage supports thousands of jobs and contributes to national growth of economic activity in each EU member state.  Find out more from the latest study below. 

The European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH) 2018 is just around the corner and knocks on your door to get involved. Don't forget to subscribe to the monthly newsletter from next month to keep up with the latest events and updates.  

Also, explore our picture gallery on Flickr and find out what the FRH's Annual General Meeting, held last month in Leuven, brought to the world of religious heritage in Europe. Special thanks go to the Alamira Foundation and our local partner in Leuven, CRKC, for kindly hosting the event free of charge at the Park Abbey. 

Finally, have a look at UNESCO's exhibition - Shared Holy Places - which will be held in Paris from 24 October 2017 to 21 January 2018, at the Palais de la Porte Dorée.
Pilgrim Journeys: Exploring Scotland’s Sacred Places 
 St Columbia Journey © Photo: Pilgrim Journeys - part of Scotland's Churches Trust
Scotland’s Pilgrim Journeys connect ancient traditions with contemporary life. You experience historic pilgrim centres and hidden places of peace and beauty. Travelling with a purpose you discover the layers of meaning in Scotland’s landscape, and encounter Scotland’s sacred places at first hand. Follow the footsteps of many generations on a way of faith.

Finding a sense of purpose 

Scotland’s Pilgrim Journeys bring together the travels of Scotland’s Celtic Saints and Medieval traditions of pilgrimage with modern faith journeys.
A network of Pilgrim Journeys criss-crosses the whole of Scotland, encompassing many local routes and sites. Scotland’s network is part of a growing international renaissance of pilgrimage connecting us with the islands of Britain and Ireland, with Europe and with other continents...Continue reading
 St Andrew Journey © Photo: Pilgrim Journeys - part of Scotland's Churches Trust
Religion and Heritage Centre at the University of Groningen 

Author: Todd Weir, Director

On 25 October, we officially launched the Centre for Religion and Heritage (CRH) of the University of Groningen with the participation of F.J. Paas, the King’s Commissioner in Groningen. The Former Courtroom at the Faculty of Religious Studies and Theology in Oude Ebbingstraat was filled to capacity with students and scholars, but above all with representatives of the leading Dutch heritage organizations and museums. This was a testimony to the urgent need for scholarly focus on the issue of religious heritage in the Netherlands.
In the opening remarks, I laid out a vision for the Centre as a research hub that integrates professional training through a new master’s program and collaborates with those government offices, churches, museums and foundations that are grappling with the challenges facing the Netherlands. The CRH is the successor of the Institute for Christian Cultural Heritage, which has contributed to heritage work in the Netherlands over many years.

The new Centre will extend its research beyond Christian heritage to include ancient, Islamic, Jewish and Buddhist religious history. It will also examine the relationship of heritage to new forms of religion and to secularism...
 Continue reading
Religion and Heritage Centre at the University of Groningen
The San Giuseppe Church
European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018
In 2018 the European Union will celebrate the European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH). The year will be marked by events and initiatives across Europe to encourage people to explore and debate Europe's rich and diverse cultural heritage; celebrate, understand and protect its unique value and reflect on the place that cultural heritage occupies in European citizens' lives.

A network of EU cultural heritage Alliance, of which FRH is a selected stakeholder, will be coordinating and participating in events across Europe to promote its heritage, including more activities specially dedicated to the EYCH 2018.



Cultural heritage is present everywhere, from buildings in European towns and cities to natural landscapes and archaeological sites, literature, art and even food. It also helps people understand their past and get a sense of their future. The idea for a European Year of Cultural Heritage was first raised by EU ministers in 2014 and two years later the initiative received strong backing from MEPs.

What is next? 

During the year, the European Commission will focus debate on how cultural heritage helps to build stronger societies, creates jobs and prosperity, whilst highlighting its importance for EU relations with the rest of the world and what can be done to protect it.

Get involved

The Year's hashtag is #EuropeforCulture and is supported by the Creative Europe programme. The awards celebrate and promote best practices in heritage conservation, research, management, the work of volunteers, education and communication.

The Heritage Impact on the Economy 

 The heritage sector is an important source of economic prosperity and growth
Photo: Rafael-Miranda
The historic environment has a close connection to economic activity. A great many of our jobs and enterprises are dependent on, attracted to or based in historic buildings and spaces. 
Heritage and the Economy 2017 summarises findings from studies on heritage and economic activity and also introduces new research: the Heritage Economic Impact Indicator Workbook 2017.

The heritage sector is an important source of economic prosperity and growth. The historic environment is a significant contributor to the economy attracting domestic and international tourists. This in turn supports thousands of jobs and contributes to national growth of economic activity in each EU member state. 
UNESCO Exhibition: Shared Holy Places
The exhibition Shared Holy Places, organized under the patronage of UNESCO by the National Museum of the History of Immigration, will be held in Paris from 24 October 2017 to 21 January 2018, at the Palais de la Porte Dorée.
To highlight and relate what brings together the three monotheistic religions, this exhibition invites visitors on a contemporary journey across the Mediterranean region. The circulation and migrations of populations from one side of the Mediterranean to the other have encouraged, and even fostered, the development of common holy places, most of which are inscribed on the UNESCO's World Heritage List.
This event was announced in
2016, when UNESCO launched the Regional Thematic Consultation Round within the framework of the UNESCO Initiative on Heritage of Religious Interest. It provides an opportunity to recall the importance of dialogue between cultures and religions and to promote universal values, including those of World Heritage properties of religious interest located on both shores of the Mediterranean.
UNESCO Exhibition - Shared Holy Places: Coexistence in Europe and the Mediterranean
  Il était trois fois.... Source: Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration
FRH News

Future for Religious Heritage (FRH) was honoured to host its 6th Annual General Assembly at the Park Abbey in Leuven, a place where European heritage, art and culture meet.
The Assembly, which took place on 26th October 2017, saw members arriving from all parts of Europe to take part in what proved to be an interesting daily programme dedicated to the future of religious heritage.
FRH presented its achievements and outlined an ambitious future vision for the network in the run-up of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, including details about the launch of its new state-of-the-art website.
The meeting provided participants with the opportunities to network, share knowledge and benefit from mutual experiences at the world of Religious Heritage.

All participants had the chance to attend a Q&A session focused on the development of rural and religious tourism around churches. This opened a window of opportunities for members to share their current experiences in the field of religious heritage and tourism.

Participants enjoyed being one of the first visitors to discover the new museum Parcum, which opened on 25th October 2017. They were also introduced to the activities of The Alamire Foundation, International Centre for the Study of Music, based in the Abdij van Park. 
FRH and its French member and partner, La Sauvegarde de l'Art Français will hold 3-day European conference in Paris on 11th, 12th, 13th October 2018. Stay tuned on this announcement for more developments to follow.

Get involved
If you would like to contribute to the next issue, we’d love to hear from you! Let us know what you’ve been up to and what your ongoing projects are. You can also send us your photos at Pictures will be published on our official gallery.

Kind regards,

Milko Hadzhigenov
FRH Communication Officer
Future for Religious Heritage is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.
Copyright © 2017 Future for Religious Heritage, All rights reserved.

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