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European culture comprises a wide range of values such as knowledge systems including languages, religions, heritage values, social interactions, and amenity services such as aesthetic enjoyment, recreation, artistic and spiritual fulfilment, and intellectual development. According to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (UNEP 2005) many cultural and amenity services are not only of direct and indirect importance to human well-being (in terms of improved physical and mental health and well-being), they also represent a considerable economic resource. However, compared to other social impact areas, the many facets of European culture are only partially addressed by concrete policies such as the preservation of cultural heritage which includes access to and restoration of built objects, but also the cinematic and photographic heritage. Another field of community action has been the promotion of a multilingual economy, giving citizens access to European Union information in their own languages and the launch of the internet library, 'Europeana', giving access to hundreds of thousands of books, paintings, music, maps, manuscripts and newspapers were also put online. In addition, the European Union promotes cultural diversity through different initiatives such as the yearly designation of the Cultural Capital of Europe, the Eurovision Song Festival and many other European-wide events. The preamble of the European Landscape Convention (Council of Europe 2000) states that “landscape contributes to the formation of local cultures and that it is a basic component of the European natural and cultural heritage, contributing to human well-being and consolidation of the European identity.” At the global level, the European Union and its Member  States are actively contributing to the nomination of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites which include both the build and non-build environment as well as cultural landscapes.

This impact area is further specified by the taxonomy terms: Cultural Heritage, Cultural Diversity, Citizens´ Access to Cultural Resources.

Relevant Policies

European Union
European Heritage Label (2010)
Resolution of 26 June 2000, on Europe's cinematic heritage
MEDIA programme (2001-2005) supporting the European audiovisual industry
Culture 2000 programme supporting cooperation projects in the heritage field
Council Regulation (EC) No 116/2009 on the export of cultural goods


Council of Europe
Architectural and Archaeological Heritage including the Granada Convention and Valletta Convention on the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe
European Heritage Network (HEREIN)including a Database
European HeritageDays
Values for Societyon the Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (Faro, 2005)
Spatial planning (CEMAT) e.g. on the Rural Heritage Guide
European Landscape Convention (Florence 2000)
United Nations
UNESCO to preserve cultural and world heritage e.g. within the HeritageNet project

Legal Basis for the Commission to Act

Article 151 of the Treaty stipulates that the Community must support and supplement action by the Member States in order to conserve and safeguard cultural heritage of European significance. The action initially taken by the Community was limited to supporting the restoration of "built heritage", such as the Acropolis in Athens and the Chiado historic centre in Lisbon.

Web Resources  on protected foodstuff (various culture related assessments)


Please link to relevant Directorate General Contact Details.

Cultural Heritage

Cultural Diversity

Citizens´ Access to Cultural Resources

Publications and applications

Content for this term

Title Type Updated date
Culture Impact Area 2013-11-01 15:12