European Heritage Days

Journées européennes du patrimoine
Heritage Around Us: The spirit of European Heritage Days lives throughout the year in Slovenia

As part of the preparations for European Heritage Days (EHDs) 2016, in February and March, Slovenia held 11 regional conferences across the country alongside with a special conference for the Slovene community in Trieste (Italy). These conferences, which represent a non-formal expression of adult education, were attended by more than 500 participants from a wide range of organisations, from museums and non-governmental organizations to schools, and therefore represent an excellent opportunity for networking at the local level. More than 50 speakers took part.

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Crowded Hall in Velenje Museum: The responses of participants in the regional conferences are encouraging; the stories of the speakers were interesting, they received useful information and the meeting was informative and enjoyable.

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One of the Regional Conferences was organized in the Park of Military History Pivka. The most enthusiastic participants were rewarded with a dive in a real submarine. © IPCHS, Photo Nataša Gorenc

The aims of our conferences include audience development and engagement, informing local organisers about the annual EHD theme and sharing examples of good practice. Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia encourage the cooperation of the experts and general public in identifying, promoting and (occasionally) renovating cultural heritage. We take a holistic approach both from the point of view of heritage as an indivisible concept and with regard to the activity of people who develop their creativity in multiple spheres in order to work with heritage. One of our main commitments is the integration of the Slovenian cultural sphere even outside the borders of Slovenia and we strive to include the various ethnic communities living in Slovenia and attempt to fill the gaps created by the frameworks of institutional functioning. This innovative approach, which we have been using for the last three years, has proved to be a good incentive both for those who have traditionally cooperated with EHD and for those who join us for the first time.

The statistics show that more than half of the overall events held in Slovenia since the first EHD (25 years ago) have taken place in the last three years. Last year we recorded a total of 500 participating organisations, a third of which were schools or nursery schools. Many schools dedicated an entire week in September to Celebrations – last year's main theme alongside Industrial Heritage. This represents a remarkable success.

This year's theme, Heritage Around Us, addresses heritage communities and how we create heritage at home when we decide to conserve a valuable object, story or piece of wisdom for our descendants. One can easily see that the decision and agreement of a community on what is worth conserving for those to come after us are important factors in any environment. The task of all of us involved in heritage is to draw the attention of the young and the not so young to the fact that heritage is not just big, important buildings but can also be something small, something that is overlooked or apparently insignificant. We see in this year's theme an opportunity to draw attention to heritage that is at risk, to heritage that is disappearing – rural and industrial heritage and also a part of heritage that is still not recognised as such in the general public consciousness: the architecture of the twentieth century.

The enormous commitment, enthusiasm and belief in the EHD project and the positive attitude of the majority of participants from the various institutions are an assurance that EHDs will continue to grow in Slovenia.

Nataša Gorenc

EHD Coordinator for Slovenia

00386 1 400 79 72


This year's logo for the European Heritage Days speaks for itself. The shape of the square was chosen because of it contradiction with the circle. Symbolically, the circle encompasses the infinity of nature and the square allows for human intervention and inclusion of specific motifs and forms. There was also a play of words in action: »DedIŠČIna OKOli nas« translates to »Heritage Around Us«. In the Slovenian language »ded-IŠČI-na« means »heritage« and »išči« means »to search«. In everyday speech, »OKO-li« is used as »around«, but it also includes »oko«, meaning »an eye«. With this word play we encourage the public to search for the heritage not only with a watchful eye, but also with all of our senses in order to create a specific form of sensitisation of heritage. © IPCHS, created by Nuit d.o.o.

Regional conference in the former mining town of Mežica was exceptionally interesting. A special delight was presented by Mežica schoolchildren with a humorous sketch »Knaparija«. Even though we did not understand all of the Corinthian dialect and words representing mining terms, we have received a clear message: the mine has been closed for several years but the mining heritage is still alive and inspires the new generations.

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Last year´s EHD in the coastal medieval town Piran: wedding performance by Anbot NGO was so authentic that some Russian turiste gave to the bride amber necklace for a wedding present. © Anbot NGO, Photo: Photo Club Portorož