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Celebrating Europe’s ‘cultural routes’ as a way of promoting cohesion and diversity

PACE’s Culture Committee is encouraging member states to join the Council of Europe “Cultural Routes” programme – 48 different itineraries spread across Europe which introduce Europeans to the continent’s cultural treasures and highlight the links between heritage, human rights and democracy.

The programme, which was created in 1987, has seen the establishment of routes dealing with different areas of culture such as architecture, landscape, religious influences and gastronomy, or the lives of major figures in European art, music or literature.

Approving a draft resolution based on a report by Andries Gryffroy (Belgium, NR), the committee encouraged countries to join the enlarged partial agreement on Cultural Routes, which “connect local heritage with a broader historic exchange of ideas and skills across Europe” and encourage grassroots initiatives.

Such routes should “encourage a diversity of views on history with a wide range of heritage sites, illustrating ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious diversity”, the parliamentarians said.

They also urged the promotion of artistic projects as “a creative means to address sensitivities and emotions that are associated with dissonant heritage”.

The report is due for discussion at a future plenary session of the Assembly or its Standing Committee.