Today, the recipients of the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage and Europa Nostra Awards were announced. The Estonian Open Air Museum has won a prestigious award in the category of education and training programs and raising awareness with the training program aimed at the owners of country cottages.
Minister of Culture Indrek Saar said that being awarded the Europa Nostra award is a great honour for Estonia, it is the highest international recognition for preserving one’s cultural heritage. “It is delightful that namely our local and unique heritage was noted, he stressed. “I would like to congratulate and give recognition to the Estonian Open Air Museum and the Centre of Rural Architecture, in particular, that reaches everywhere in Estonia with its extensive training program encouraging the owners of rural houses to take care of those and thus preserving a very essential part of our national identity,” said the Minister of Culture.
The Centre of Rural Architecture of the Estonian Open Air Museum has implemented the project “Practical trainings for the owners of rural houses” since 2008. According to Elo Lutsepp, Head of the Centre of Rural Architecture, a strong network has been developed within the framework of the project enabling cooperation to preserve rural farm houses.
“The Europa Nostra Award is an honour not only to us, but also to all our cooperation partners, craftsmen, specialists and also the owners of the houses who have allowed us to carry out activities in their yards,” stressed Elo Lutsepp. “Similarly to other European countries, also Estonian rural architecture has been mostly deprived of national protection and support. We believe that our activities have given help and support to many owners of rural houses. We also hope that our experiences can be an inspiration for our colleagues in other European countries,” noted Elo Lutsepp. “We call upon all the citizens of Estonia to contribute to the promotion of our work by voting for our project in the Europa Nostra Public Choice Award competition that lasts until 31 May, at the address vote.europanostra.org,“ said Elo Lutsepp.
The European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage and Europa Nostra Awards are the highest recognition in Europe in the field of heritage protection. In 2015, a total of 28 projects out of 263 candidates were selected and received recognition. The awards were given in four categories: preservation of cultural heritage, research activities and digitization, dedicated service in maintaining cultural heritage and educational and training projects and raising awareness. Estonia has previously received the prestigious Europa Nostra Award five times: for educational video “Kalamaja. Possibility of a Wooden Town”, Jaan Vali for the research about Estonian historical lighthouses and also for excellent restoration of Tammekannu Villa, Tallinn Town Hall and the seaplane hangars at the Seaplane Harbour.
Estonian Open Air Museum was founded in 1957 as a central museum of Estonian rural architecture. In more than 55 years, the Museum’s exposition has expanded significantly, several working directions have been added. In 2008, a training program for the owners of rural houses was launched and thus the museum was given an opportunity to expand beyond its territory and reach all over Estonia. Courses are based on specific objects where the participants learn by themselves through practical activities thus contributing to the preservation and maintenance of rural architecture at different places in the country. Since the beginning of the training program, the Museum has carried out more than 80 practical workshops and information days hosting more than 1.700 people.
The Award Ceremony of the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage will beheld on 11 June in Oslo Town Hall, the awards are handed over by Fabian Stang, the Mayor of Oslo, Tibor Navracsics, the Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Commissioner in the European Commission and Plácido Domingo, the President of Europa Nostra. Seven winners will receive main award along with financial bonus in the amount of €10,000. There will be also given a Public Choice Award on the basis of the internet voting organised by Europa Nostra.
More detailed information about the activities of the Centre of Rural Architecture of Estonian Open Air Museum is available here. You can find further information about the award-winning training program here.
Additional information about the winners of Europa Nostra Award is available here.