ICOMOS Europe Group Annual Meeting 2023

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ICOMOS Estonia recently hosted the annual meeting of the ICOMOS Europe Group in Tallinn from 18 to 22 June. The event brought together Committees Presidents and experts from 30 European countries as well as President Teresa Patricio and four members of the Board. In addition,10 emerging professionals attended the meeting.


© Teresa Patricio

The event began in Tallinn with a special session on international cultural heritage cooperation in times of crisis, focusing on the ongoing war in Ukraine and the recent earthquakes in Turkïye and Syria. Estonia's Minister of Culture opened the meeting, which was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Following the special session, the annual meeting of the ICOMOS Europe Group took place in Southern Estonia. Lively and insightful discussions ensued, covering a range of common issues such as the impact of the European Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings, Heritage Alerts, the ICOMOS University Forum and various World Heritage concerns.

This was followed by a scientific symposium held at the Tartu University Library on the challenges and contradictions of preserving 20th century heritage. Presentations were complemented by an engaging tour of notable 20th century heritage sites, including well-preserved sports and cultural centres as well as more problematic sites such as Tallinna Linnahall (City Concert Hall) and Rapla KEK (Rapla Kolkhoz's octagonal Central Construction Office). Despite their emblematic architecture, these sites face challenges due to a lack of municipal and state support for their sustainable use.

Debates and discussions continued during visits to other heritage sites in Estonia facing problems. Notable among these was Estonia's only working historic watermill in Hellenurme, where there is a conflict between nature conservation objectives and the restoration of an 8 km long potential salmon breeding area. Additionally, ICOMOS experts visited the Estonian National Opera, an iconic building in the Tallinn Old Town World Heritage Site, to discuss concerns about the proposed extension that threatens to overshadow it and its impact on the integrity of the site.



ICOMOS Europe 3

© Raikküla Cultural Centre - Dumitru Rusu


ICOMOS Europe 2

© Tartu University Library - Celia Yanes Martinez


ICOMOS Europe 3

© Rapla KEK kolkhoz centre - Caroline Jäger-Klein


ICOMOS Europe 1

© Midsummer bonfire - Laure Marique


Click here to re-watch the discussion.

Click here for more information in Estonian

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