Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe – 7th Annual Advisory Forum

30 years of Cultural Routes: Building dialogue and sustainable development through the European values and heritage, 27-29 September 2017, Lucca, Italy.

A Europe rich in history, heritage and values: the Council of Europe Cultural Routes’ programme celebrates its 30th anniversary, on the occasion of the 7th Advisory Forum in Palazzo Ducale and Real Collegio in Lucca, with a special ceremony to highlight the relevance of Cultural Routes for the promotion of cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and sustainable tourism.

The 7th Advisory Forum is organized by the Council of Europe, in co-operation with the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, the Tuscany Region, the Lucca Province, the City of Lucca and the European Institute of Cultural Routes.

The first opening statement will be delivered by Deputy Secretary General Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni. The “Routes of the Olive Tree” will be represented at this important international meeting by Mrs. Zoe Kazazaki, President of the Scientific Committee and Mrs. Françoise Tondre, Vice-president of the Scientific Committee.

This year’s Forum “Building dialogue and sustainable development through European values and heritage” will provide a particular attention to the role of cultural routes in promoting Council of Europe’s values, local development and new spaces for intercultural dialogue.

Over three days of workshops and interactive debates, three main themes will be explored:

  • 30 years of Cultural Routes history, values and future perspectives;
  • Cultural heritage and sustainable tourism: democratic participation, local development and accessibility;
  • Promoting cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and the role of culture in international relations.

The Forum will discuss trends and challenges in relation to Cultural Routes, providing a platform for sharing experiences, reviewing progress, analyzing professional practices, launching new initiatives and developing partnerships across Europe and beyond. Participants range from managers among the 31 Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe to representatives of national ministries, European Union and International Organizations, academics, experts and tourism professionals.

Award ceremony

An award ceremony for the personalities who have marked the history of the Cultural Routes programme will be organized at Teatro del Giglio on Wednesday 27th (21h00), together with a ceremony for the certified Routes.


The Cultural Routes programme, launched by the Council of Europe in 1987, highlights the different contributions of countries and cultures of Europe to a common heritage, by means of a journey through space and time. From the legendary path of Santiago de Compostela Pilgrim routes and the historic journey along the Via Francigena to the cross border legacy of the Viking Routes and the nordic trails of Saint Olav’s Ways; from the art and architecture of Transromanica to the Art Nouveau style and to the footsteps in concert halls and opera houses of European Mozart ways; from the past glories of the Via Regia to the mythical and sacred Routes of the Olive Tree : 31 Cultural Routes going through 56 countries emphasising European richness in architecture, landscape, culture, society and religion.

The Enlarged Partial Agreement (EPA) on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, with headquarters in the Abbaye de Neumünster  in Luxembourg since 2011, seeks to reinforce the potential of Cultural Routes for cultural co-operation, sustainable territorial development and social cohesion, with a particular focus on themes of symbolic importance for European unity, history, culture and values and the discovery of less well-known destinations. It helps to strengthen the democratic dimension of cultural exchange and tourism through the involvement of grassroots networks and associations, local and regional authorities, universities and professional organizations. It contributes to the preservation of a diverse heritage through theme-based and alternative tourist itineraries and cultural projects. An evaluation of certified routes is carried out regularly by the EPA Governing Board. As of January 1st2018, 30 States will be members of the Enlarged Agreement.