The Liberation Route Europe

2019 Cultural Route of

the Council of Europe

In May 2019, the Liberation Route Europe became a certified Cultural Route of the Council of Europe, joining 37 other European cultural routes with this prestigious designation.

This decision was taken in April by the Governing Board of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe (EPA) in Luxembourg. In 2019, the Liberation Route was one of five newly certified “Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe.”

We will be present at an official award ceremony that will take place in October at the 9th Annual Advisory Forum of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe in Sibiu, Romania.

What is the Council of Europe?

The Council of Europe was established after World War II in 1947 as an intergovernmental organisation with the aim to promote greater unity among European member states. Initially, only Western European and the Nordic countries were members of the Council of Europe. With the fall of the iron curtain and communism in 1989, the Council of Europe has grown to include almost every country in Europe. Throughout its history, the organisation has promoted human rights, democracy, and the rule of law on the continent. Its headquarters are located in Strasbourg, France. The Council of Europe should not be confused with the European Council or the Council of the European Union - two separate institutions.

History of the Cultural Routes Program

In 1987, the Council of Europe launched the Cultural Routes program with the Declaration of Santiago de Compostela – named after the pilgrimage routes of Santiago de Compostela, which became subsequently the first “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe”. The aim of the Cultural Route program is to promote cultural tourism and sustainable development as well as to encourage Europeans to reflect on shared basic aspects of their identity (Pennet et al., "The Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe: A new category of cultural good").

The Cultural Routes program is administered by the European Institute of Cultural Routes, established in 1998 as a joint initiative between the Council of Europe and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The institute is located in Luxembourg. They work with the Council of Europe Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes to assist candidate routes during the certification process and to implement various European projects.

Certification Process

To become a certified Cultural Route of the Council of Europe, an organisation (such as the Liberation Route Europe) has to meet a certain number of criteria, including missions who reflect the values of democracy, human rights, cultural diversity, and intercultural exchange. The Council of Europe recognizes these organisations and networks for their work in five main priority fields of action:

  • Cooperation in the field of research and development
  • Improvement of knowledge and dissemination of memory, history and European heritage
  • Cultural and educational exchange for young Europeans
  • Contemporary cultural and artistic practices
  • Cultural tourism and sustainable cultural development

Every cultural route undergoes a re-evaluation process every three years to reobtain the certification, taking into account the organisations work in these five priority fields of action. Our next evaluation will be in 2022.

Other Cultural Routes

With the addition of the Liberation Route Europe and four other routes in 2019, the total of Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe rose to 38 routes. Each route, like The Liberation Route Europe, is dedicated to a specific theme that links multiple European countries. Some notable routes include The Vikings, Réseau Art Nouveau Network, The Iron Curtain Trail, and more.

For the complete list of Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe and more information on the program, visit the website of the Council of Europe.

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