The European Historic Houses Association held its annual meeting from the 26th to the 29th of September. It was an event of great magnitude that was essential for the continuity and the efficiency of the Association, being an opportunity to identify innovative approaches to defend the European cultural heritage, but also to provide a new impetus for inspiration and support in the advocacy work of the Association with both the EU and national associations. The General Assembly of Governors with representatives of our member Associations tackled the main issues common to all, and a layout was made of every country’s situation on private cultural heritage. These meetings were then followed by a high-level Conference on “Developing business models to meet the challenges of the 21st century” moderated by James HERVEY-BATHURST, Vice-President of the European Historic Houses Association and former president of the Historic Houses Association (UK).

Set in the beautiful building of the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the EU, numerous participants listened to speakers from diverse backgrounds, who passionately gave us a glimpse of their experience, passion and ideas on how to protect cultural heritage and historic houses in this changing environment. Following short addresses from Mr Philipp STIEL and Earl Rodolphe de LOOZ-CORSWAREM, the floor was then given to Mr Eric PHILIPPART for the keynote speech. Head of Unit for tourism and cultural instruments in the Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry at the European Commission, Mr PHILIPPART recalled with practical and inspiring words that cultural tourism is vital to the European economy and that the Commission has an open ear to the plight of private owners and cultural organisations. Offering reassuring examples to the audience, actual statistics and tangible projects, he stated that the cultural field is not abandoned.

The first panel was dedicated to “the place of private cultural heritage in the EU”, with Mrs Sneska QUAEDVLIEG-MIHAILOVIC, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, Mr Nick WAY, Director General of Historic Houses Association (UK), Mr Francesco KINSKY dal BORGO, Secretary General of the Young Friends of the Countryside, and Mr Karel BARTAK, Head of Unit at the Director General Education and Culture in the European Commission. The second panel on “What kind of economic and business models for historic houses?” included Mr Bertrand LE NAIL, property expert and Board member of “Demeure Historique“, Mr William CARTWRIGHT-HIGNETT, Co-chair of the « Next Generation Group » at the Historic Houses Association (UK), Prince Louis-Albert de BROGLIE, Private owners of Château de la Bourdaisière, and Christoph FREIHERR SCHENCK ZU SCHWEINSBERG, EUHEF director/ HMM Heritage Media & Marketing.

The day ended with a grand Gala Dinner at Salon du Coudenberg where we were honored by the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Lorenz of Belgium. Finally, our members were treated with two days of visits of historic houses in the Provinces of Namur and of the Brabant Wallon. Owners warmly welcomed us into their homes, from Vêves Castle, to Scy “Sanssouci” Castle, Haltinne Castle, Flawinne Castle, Jodoigne-Souveraine Castle and the Abbey of La Ramée. It was a memorable experience and a great success we won’t soon forget.

European Historic Houses – Program AG 2013 (EN)

Minutes of the Conference on the theme “Developping Business Models to Meet the Challenges of the 21st century”