Newsletter SUMMER 2014


LANDENTWICKLUNG STEIERMARK, STYRIA (Austria) welcomes you to the latest edition of the HISTCAPE Newsletter. 

landen logo

The Landentwicklung Steiermark (Association for Rural Development of Styria) recently held an International Conference on ‘Revitalisation of Historic Town Centres in Rural Areas’ on the 22nd May 2014 at Castle Laubegg in Styria, Austria. The main topic of the conference was how to foster the development of vital town centres and how to cope with vacancy in rural municipalities.

Models and effective strategies for the preservation of the historic centres of small towns and villages in rural areas were discussed at the conference. The HISTCAPE partner regions presented successful models of vacancy reduction and revitalisation of town centres and gave participants the possibility to learn from their good practice examples. Sandra Höbel, director of Landentwicklung Steiermark, emphasized the importance of exchange of experience to foster the development of new and innovative concepts for rural areas. The event helped to deepen the understanding of the good practice examples from different European regions and allowed participants to connect problems and solutions.

team Laubegg

 HISTCAPE partners and speakers at the International Conference at Castle Laubegg in Styria, Austria

80 participants from ten different countries attended the conference and shared their experiences. The international conference aimed to show research and knowledge associated with topics of rural landscape, heritage in rural areas and small historical centers, as well as management experiences. Among the presented projects  there were innovative examples from Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany; the Region of Western Macedonia, Greece and Northern Portugal. Special focus was on the safeguarding of assets and economic sustainability.

      majors        team Wildon

 The mayors of the municipalities Mautern and Wildon presented their good practice. 

HISTCAPE partners visited the municipality Wildon to investigate the results of the civic participation process.

Successful models of civic participation in cultural heritage and landscape protection were presented from Marche Region in Italy and from Styria in Austria. The Landentwicklung Steiermark presented new participatory strategies to combat vacancy in rural town centres. Three HISTCAPE Pilot Action municipalities - Murau, Mautern and Wildon - reported on their activities and showed how vacancy can be successfully and sustainably reduced through civic participation and new business models.

The international conference ended with a study visit to the municipality Wildon, where HISTCAPE partners had the chance to investigate the local strategy on safeguarding cultural heritage assets and the results of their civic participation process.

The full report on the conference can be downloaded here.


 FINAL CONFERENCE, 16th September 2014.

Podsreda Castle, Kozjansko, Slovenia



University of Ljubljana as partner of the HISTCAPE project is hosting the final open conference. It is entitled “Legacy of the HISTCAPE Project”, and  will present final results to the greater public. 


The Final Conference will take place in the medieval castle Podsreda, which was first mentioned in 1213 and is considered as one of the best preserved Romanesque castles with outstanding Renaissance elements in Slovenia. The international participants will be treated to remarkable scenery accompanied by music performances, medieval cuisine and permanent exhibitions in and around the castle's premises.  

Registration for the conference is free of charge. To register, please, send an e-mail, entitled »REGISTRATION« to:

 More details can be found here.

Project Update

The HISTCAPE project is in its last year. During this year Partners are involved in the implementation of practice interchange through describing their lesson learned and the synergies of other experience outside the project.

The Project Guidebook as well as the brochure will be finished in the coming season. It is designed to relate the partners´ experiences, lessons learned and guidance for decision makers in other regions of Europe outside the project. This book will feature Good Practice from each region that describes the difficulties, barriers and solutions to issues in rural development related to historic towns and landscapes. The 10 Good Practice from the project partners were evaluated through extensive evaluations. There will also be a chapter on the methodology used during the project, bibliography section of further reading, contact details and an appendix.  This publication will have a limited edition print run and will be distributed to key decision makers, libraries and the project partners. But it will also be made freely available via the project website in digital (PDF) form.


Cover of the forthcoming Guidebook

Overview of Exchange of Experiences Component

After a project of two and a half years activities regarding the exchange of experiences component has come to an end.

This component has been the core of the project. This component focused on enhancing integration of both the regional and local authorities regarding cultural heritage and territorial development. Under this component a common methodology was defined based on the identification and analysis of Good Practice Examples  with the collection related to six Thematic Topics discussed on the Interregional Workshops. The selected Good Practice Examples were transferred to a common methodology for developing policy recommendations for the protection of rural assets. General guidelines for implementation were agreed upon to ensure the project results as the base to define ten regional Implementation Plans.

Under this component a Kick Off Meeting and eight Interregional Workshops were held which allowed for the effective exchange of experiences.  In addition nine Study Visits were held to provide first-hand information about specific good practices.

Castilla & Leon Regional Authority has been the partner responsible for this component which has conducted every interregional workshop and has developed its work methodology. Now that the end of the project in near, excellent results under this component were achieved that fill the team  with pride and satisfaction


 Update on Pilot Actions

A brief resume of the Pilot Actions is done in this paraghraph, much more detail will be given in the forthcoming Guidebook.

Western Macedonia, Greece

The Pilot Action for Western Macedonia was to ¨spread the word¨ about Greece´s industrial areas: To attract possible investors, awake scientific interest and educate the community to their unique industrial cultural heritage.Their Pilot Action was to create a dynamic website, which is described later in this Summer 2014 Newsletter, to be available on-line but also on smartphones. 

Regione Marche, Italy

The Pilot Action for the Marche Region of eastern Italy set out to assess, direct and communicate their landscape protection plan. During their Pilot Action they held community meetings and held structured and non-structured interviews with numerous stakeholders, experts, policy makers and interested citizens.  They reached out to specific organizations that are involved in landscape protection including the Castle Committee and the Regional Government. They also conducted workshops and mapping sessions to discover the relationships between communities and their landscape, potentials of the region and recorded knowledge of landscape resources. The Pilot Action led to three proposals for development action:

1) Walking places of the Arcevia Castles – to extract local tacid knowledge from the network of paths that link castles in the regions.

2) The Award ¨I take care of the Arcevia Landscape¨ a public ceremony that recognizes individuals or organizations that play a significant role in protecting the Marche Landscape.

3) Testimonials of the Landscape – oral stories from older citizens will be gathered their knowledge of the rural landscape.


The protection measures for landscape and historic assets are well defined in this World Heritage site along the Rhine River in western Germany. However two issues were recognized that needed to be addressed – that there are a large number of government agencies and that owners and managers of historic structures require professional assistance. The partner from Rhineland-Palatinate realized that long-term maintenance and a registry of architectural documentation was an absolute necessity.

Therefore the Pilot Action included the good practice: Tools for Vertical Governance and Identifying with the Landscape Plan from the Regione Marche.

The team learned that working with a large address database of stakeholders is highly necessary to reach as multiple relevant political fields as possible. This is the basis for cross-sectorial projects and transferring any new measure that is aiming for a change on a higher political level. Moreover, the interconnection of projects on national level has proven to be successful.


Styria, Austria

The partner in Styria directed their Pilot Action toward the development of a management strategy for the preservation and revitalization of historic centers of small towns and villages through strategic planning and innovative management concepts for these historic communities. They searched outside the partnership for unique a new good practice in Europe that could better address their problems and assets: the good practice of the Guardian House Concept of Leipzig. To implement their Pilot Action they created a Regional Steering Board; they included three pilot municipalities: Wildon, Vordernberg and Murau; and they held workshops and meetings with these communities and eventually developed a Master Plan for the city of Murau including a long-term vision, strategic coals and measures based on all strategic planning documents. 

They realized that a good practice cannot be transferred entirely but must be evaluated, adapted and combined with other good practice for the regional context before attempting to transfer into policy.

Saaremaa Local Government Association

¨Mapping the Status and Terms of Protection of Geological and Historic Sites¨ was the Pilot Action of the Saaremaa (Estonia) Local Government Association.  In order to link together these two elements they conducted a series of workshops, seminars dedicated to nature tourism and development of a unique park – the Saarte Geopark.  They also began to collect information data on the cultural and heritage sites from the whole island.  This involved communities, experts and the partners from the HISTCAPE project.


During this Pilot Action the Saaremaa Local Government Association learned of the large number of cultural and natural sites and their associated values in Saare County.  They also learned that there are many protection plans that overlap each other and require review and consolidation.  In addition, they realized during the process of mapping that many of the sites are poorly maintained, there is a lack of owner interest in maintenance as they are faced with financial difficulties and that knowing the stakeholders is essential to explain their activities and possible change.  But they recognized that the process of implementing the Pilot Action was a good opportunity to test new solutions for the region – even given the short time frame.


Regional Authority of Castilla & León

The regional authority needed to assist rural communities with the protection of their cultural heritage so they prepared Guidelines.  Their Pilot Action highlights these common Guidelines, to facilitate the drawing up of a plan to be cost-effective. It is considered that the future implementation of these Guidelines will lead to increase the number of Special Protection Plans, which is the target for the implementation.



Partner News



The previously mentioned Pilot Action of Arcevia, in the Marche region, stems from an innovative idea on a landscape-based development approach and foresees an extremely interesting methodological approach to attract and motivate local people to participate in the protection of their landscape. Results from  the Arcevia action will be embedded in the Strategic Agenda of the Marche Regional Landscape Plan and this approach has therefore the potential to be transferred to other Marche contexts and beyond. The most important aspect of the action is that it is focused on participation of local people and this  should be at the core of every  landscape and rural area based development strategy.  


University of Ljubljana is particularly interested in the social involvement aspect and thus believes that the Arcevia pilot action is highly eligible to be a example that other may learn from in terms of social participation methods and tools.


In May 2014  two HISTCAPE partners the University of Ljubljana and Marche Region, carried out a bilateral exchange of experience and knowledge in Italy. A study visit with participants from the  University of Ljubljana to the  Marche Region turned out to be an extremely positive experiment, giving added value to both partners by offering an example of potential permanent cooperation between partners in future projects.


The objectives of the study visit were:

  • Discover place-based planning of landscape and heritage centred development;
  • Define specific values of a certain region/place/site (methods, involvement of people…);
  • Improve  knowledge on the methodology of the Arcevia pilot action;
  • Carry out and learn from comparative analyses of relevant sites;
  • Disseminate and exchange the Slovenian experience and knowledge with Marche Region and vice-versa.


San Settimio: Colony of artists with the support of local foundation Operazione Arcevia and owners of the tourist and congress resort San Settimio invite visitors to experience different understanding and interpretation of the landscape through the art installation (photo B. Vodopivec)

The Study Visit took place from the 5th until the 11th of May 2014 and it was attended by representatives of the University of Ljubljana from Slovenia and representatives of several Italian institutions:  Marche Region, IRS Milano, eco&eco Bologna, University of Ancona along with representatives from a number of local organizations. In fact, University of Ljubljana joined field research work of the Marche Region´s pilot action.


Added value of the study visit for the HISTCAPE project and beyond:

Marche Region and the University of Ljubljana agree that the study visit proved added value also to the  HISTCAPE project, as well as to the future regional cooperation, offering a good practice example of bilateral joint cooperation between  two partners, their exchange of knowledge, ideas, improving  their capacity and understanding


Please, to find more about the Arcevia pilot action, please read the whole article here.





A dynamic website that focuses in the Industrial Heritage in Western Macedonia has been developed during the HISTCAPE project:

This website contains the history of these places, maps, images, statistics and most importantly, possibilities for future reuse.  It is also a platform that allows visitors to learn about the industrial heritage of Greece and contains displays of virtual reality and overlays of historic images and links to other sites of information.

The thematic dynamic website, available in Greek and English, includes first an Overview of the Region of Western Macedonia, a description of its Monuments and Cultural or industrial heritage, especially in the Prefecture of Kozani. It also focuses on the AEVALs’ ex industrial area, with detailed presentation of its facilities and the history of the area and the efforts that have been made for its development.

It describes the current institutional framework and developments plans, based on specific uses. For illustrating all the sections a big directory of videos, photos, studies and texts have been collected and included; related to historic documents for areas of industrial heritage interest in the region.

Finally, a striking Virtual Reality tool has been developed and included in the site, which serves to meet the local Industrial Heritage in an unusual way. This Virtual Reality tool can be visited here:


 HISTCAPE project to be presented in the

 9th AR&PA BIENNIAL - Society and Heritage

The 9th Biennial of Heritage, Restoration and Management will be held in Valladolid, Spain, from the 13th to 16th of November 2014, with the theme: “Society and Heritage”.


As in previous years, a comprehensive program of activities is being developed, which will once again turn Valladolid into the international capital of Cultural Heritage during the four days of the Biennial.

Since it was first held in 1998, the AR&PA Biennial has become one of the leading events in the sector in Europe. It is supported by UNESCO and receives European Commission funding for its AR&PA Innovation Program. The European Commission itself acknowledges the upswing in the cultural sector, which is growing faster than other sectors.

It seems clear that heritage, when properly managed and promoted, can create value and act as a major economic force. It is precisely at this time of crisis that cultural heritage is proving itself to be an alternative and an opportunity.

A large number of organizations and companies have confirmed that they will take part this year in AR&PA. The Embassy of India in Spain has confirmed it will be present at the Biennial with a significant delegation, led by the city of Ahmedabad, which will present its project "Discovering Ahmedabad"

A general overview of the different Programs follow:

  • AR&PA Fair: more than 250 high-quality exhibitors including institutions and companies.
  • AR&PA Innovation: Show area to exhibit prototypes and technologies developed by EU research projects in the field of cultural heritage.
  • AR&PA International Conference: bringing together more than 400 attendees and experts from all over the world. The central theme of this edition will be: "Society and Heritage”.
  • AR&PA Technical Workshops: bringing together a large number of top professionals in the sector at the various forums to share and discuss experiences and the latest developments in the guidelines, methods, criteria and new technologies to be used in actions relating to cultural assets.
  • AR&PA Technical Presentations: complementary to the discussion forum, comprising contributions by the exhibitors.
  • AR&PA with the Family: a program that aims to raise knowledge about cultural heritage among the very youngest visitors by making information about culture more attractive and involving parents in the learning process.
  • AR&PA for Everyone: aims to ensure easier access for people with different capacities, making the fair more accessible and welcoming.
  • AR&PA Awards: the only awards of their kind in Spain, these recognize the work of done by people and institutions to conserve, research, publicize and manage cultural heritage.
  • AR&PA Initiatives: aimed to offer a participation platform for local entities, development associations, cultural associations, interpretation centers and other bodies carrying out projects and activities related to Cultural Heritage management in towns with small populations and regions seeking development models based around their cultural and historical resources.
  • Open for AR&PA: all visitors from AR&PA were invited to meet and enjoy Castilla y León’s heritage, in particular Valladolid’s heritage.




STUDY VISIT - to Upper Styria

Investigating successful ways of transformation of the former industrial region

'HISTCAPE Project Partner Landentwicklung Steiermark organised a Study Visit for all HISTCAPE Partners, on the 21st May 2014 to Upper Styria. The goal of the Study Visit was to investigate the transformation of the former densely populated industrial region into a leisure area and tourism destination.


HISTCAPE Partners were welcomed by the mayor and vice-mayor of the Municipality of Mautern, then they were investigating succesfull transformation of the Erzberg Mountain into a turistic site.

The Study Visit started in Mautern, a typical example of a small rural municipality in Upper Styria. The municipality has successfully managed to cope with the dynamics of demographic change and economic transformation of the region. It is a positive example that shows how to community involvement can foster economic activity and cultural heritage preservation. The municipality has just started a civic participation process aiming to find new concepts for the re-use of vacant property in the historic town centre.

From there the Study Visit continued to the Erzberg Mountain, the largest open-cast ore mining site in Central Europe. At the end of the last century, the mining activity decreased due to structural changes in the iron industry. Therefore the former the Erzberg Mountain was transformed into a touristic site and an event location. This re-use of the industrial site for touristic purpose, while mining activity is still pursued at a smaller scale, shows a successful example of industrial heritage preservation that can be transferred to other European regions.

The full report of the study visit is available here.




A SOUL FOR EUROPE - A Europe of the Europeans

The aim of “A Soul for Europe” is to implement concrete steps and conduct projects to ensure that Europe makes greater and better use of its cultural assets. In the process, culture should be utilized more than in the past as a strategic factor for development – at the local, regional, national and European level. All fields of policy beyond the cultural sector, from social to foreign affairs, should include a cultural component. This means that we are lobbying for Europe with the means of culture. We believe that it is possible to create a Europe of the Europeans, rather than just a Europe of institutions and regulations, and that this aim can be implemented based on the potential of European culture. As citizens, it is our responsibility to take a hand in Europe’s political mechanisms.

At the very heart of the "A Soul for Europe" Initiative is the Strategy Group: civil society actors from 21 countries from the areas of culture, politics, business, research and media. The Strategy Group is responsible for the conceptual development and dissemination of the idea of "A Soul for Europe" through projects and initiatives. From bases in Amsterdam, Belgrade, Berlin, Brussels, Porto and Tbilisi the “A Soul for Europe” Initiative is building an international network of European cities and regions, the cultural sector and business as well as European policy-makers. The initiative is supported by a cross-party Parliamentarian Working Group in the European Parliament, which provides a link between the work of the civil society initiative and that of political decision-makers. 

soul for europe

 Cities for Europe

For quite some time now, the "A Soul for Europe" initiative has been concerned with the issue of the responsibility that cities and regions must take for Europe. In collaboration with the European Capital of Culture Essen-Ruhr 2010, the manual "Cities and Regions – Their cultural responsibility for Europe and how they can fulfill it" was published to support cities and regions in assuming their cultural responsibility for Europe. The "Cities for Europe" online platform is a forum for everyone who wants to bring the European idea to life with their ideas. Committed citizens, initiatives, cities and regions have the opportunity to present "Europe in practice", to network with others, and to stimulate cooperation.







Podsreda Castle, Slovenia • 16 September 2014

Further details of the conference can be found on the HISTCAPE website.


25-27 September 2014, Dubrovnik, Croatia - The Best in Heritage 13th Edition

The Best in Heritage is an international, annual survey of award-winning museum, heritage and conservation projects.

Further information available at


29 October – 1 November 2014 – Halle/Germany.  Annual conference of the Future for Religious Heritage network

Future for Religious Heritage’s third international conference takes place in Halle this autumn. It will bring together practitioners and policymakers working to save and promote religious heritage across Europe. The aim will be to develop and share new thinking on sustaining historic religious buildings and recognizing value in a rural context.

For details of abstract submission and registration see:


From 13th to 16th of November 2014 Valladolid – Spain 9th Biennial of Heritage, Restoration and Management - AR&PA SOCIETY AND HERITAGE - 


As in previous years, a comprehensive program of activities is being developed, which will once again turn Valladolid into the international capital of Cultural Heritage for the four days of the Biennial.

Further information available at and

If you would like to exhibit at the event, please contact