In 1998, the Council of Europe entrusted to the European Institute of the Cultural Routes the task of monitoring the Cultural Routes program as a whole. This Atlas thus aims at presenting the themes elected by the Council of Europe and the various proposals under examination.
This Atlas also proposes a historical synthesis of the chosen topics, targeting the participating countries, the partners of the program, the promoters of new proposals, as well as researchers and students. It is supplemented by an updated database: bibliography, maps, actors...
an instrument for legibility
The cultural routes programme of the Council of Europe is an instrument for reading the European values that emerge from the complexity of the cultures and societies constituting Europe. It is based on themes representative for European values, which, moreover, are common to several countries of Europe. These themes are handled by multidisciplinary networks established in several Member States. They appear in a whole series of projects of multilateral co-operation. After ten years of research and development, in 1998 the Council of Europe wanted to set the project within a more formal co-operation framework by establishing some Regulations. These Regulations aim at specifying the criteria that guide the Council of Europe in electing a new theme, in establishing a network and evaluating its actions, and in registering each route in a category that grants it mention.
House of Europe Strasbourg. Photo MTP
The presentation on the Institute's web site of an Atlas that makes visible the totality of this European project at this stage of the programme's evolution answers several types of requests, in addition to those demanding summaries to concretise the singular breadth of this project:
The requests of the participating countries, who wish to make visible the reality of the implication of their countrie's operators;
The requests of the current partners of the project, who wish to reinforce among themselves working relationships and to create new conceptual and geographical relations while bringing other actions and other topics into the framework chosen by the Council of Europe;
The requests of the promoters of new proposals, who have to understand the originality of the reasoning done by the Council of Europe in relation to an increasing number of more local initiatives related to the success of cultural and thematic tourism;
The requests of researchers and students of various disciplines: management of cultural and tourist projects, economists, historians and geographers who wish to understand better the steps towards cultural co-operation implemented by the programme.
a tool for research
To take into account all these requests, this Atlas thus has several goals:
To describe in a whole series of static pages each selected theme and to give its geographical and historical breadth;
To offer further information in a database meant to:
European Institute of Cultural Routes, Luxembourg.
- describe each network with which the Institute works;
- specify the ensemble of initiatives undertaken by these networks in the various spheres of activity mentioned in the Regulations of the cultural routes;
- propose a collection of synthetic and detailed maps that make visible the geographical and historical extent of the topic, according to whether it is based on historical ways, local or cross-border ways and circuits, geographical networks or cultural networks;
To propose a description of all the new proposals submitted to the Institute for analysis and assessment.
It will also enable the actualisation of the project, topic by topic. Indeed, this actualisation is all the more necessary since the programme of the Cultural Routes, due to its changing nature, is in constant evolution, while at the same time it also has to take into account the evolution of the political priorities defined by the Council of Europe.
a list of criteria
Without repeating the whole text of the Regulations, it still seems necessary by way of introduction to reiterate the list of the criteria defined by the Council of Europe for the eligibility of themes.
In order for a theme to be retained in the programme, it must fulfil all of the following criteria:
The topic must be representative of European values and be common to several countries of Europe.
The theme must be the subject of a research and a development carried out by multidisciplinary groups of experts, coming from various areas of Europe, in order to illustrate it by actions and projects based on common argumentation.
The theme must be meaningful in terms of European memory, history and cultural heritage, must refer to at least one of the three large fields suggested by the programme (People, migrations, important movements of civilisation) and must contribute to the diversity of Europe today.
The theme must lend itself to cultural and educational exchanges for the young people and thus answer the thoughts and concerns of the Council of Europe in these fields.
The theme must allow for the rise of exemplary and innovating initiatives and projects in the field of cultural tourism and sustainable development.
The theme must enable the implementation of projects of multilateral co-operation in the long run in various spheres of activity through the constitution of multidisciplinary networks established in several member states of the Council of Europe.