The “cultural routes of the Council of Europe” are tools of the European cultural cooperation implemented by the Council of Europe with the “European cultural convention” in 1954. The programme of the “cultural routes of the Council of Europe” was officially created in 1987 . The programme is ruled by a resolution adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

The “cultural routes of the Council of Europe” aims at the protection, the valorisation and the transmission of the European cultural heritage as well as support cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue in Europe.

The Governing Board of EPA (Enlarged Partial Agreements) awards the certification “Council of Europe Cultural Route” and carries out regular evaluation of certified routes in conformity with Committee of Ministers Resolution CM/Res(2013)67 which establishes the rulesfor the award of the “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” certification.

Routes requesting the certification should:

  • focus on a theme representative of European values and common to several European countries;
  • follow a historical route or (in the case of cultural tourism) a newly created route;
  • give rise to long-term multilateral co-operation projects in priority areas (scientific research; heritage conservation and enhancement; cultural and educational exchanges among young Europeans; contemporary cultural and artistic practices; cultural tourism and sustainable development);
  • be managed by one or more independent, organised networks (in the form of an association or a federation of associations).

A technical body, the European Institute of Cultural Routes (EICR), was set up in 1998 for operational purposes. Its role is to examine applications for new projects, to monitor activities in the field and co-ordinate the work of partner organisations and to disseminate and archive information documents.

ART-idea and IGCAT experts have been selected by the EICR to evaluate a number of routes since 2010.   The following routes have been evaluated by Dr. Diane Dodd:

  • The Routes of Al Andalus
  • The Routes of the Olive Tree
  • The Viking Route
  • The Chocolate Way

In addition to this, Dr. Diane Dodd and Prof. Greg Richards were two of the selected experts that took part in the Study on European Cultural Routes impact on SMEs innovation, competitiveness, and clustering was jointly launched by the European Commission (EC) and the Council of Europe (CoE) in September 2010 aiming to provide insights on the effects produced by the CoE Cultural Routes Programme on SMEs performance, network and cluster development.

cultural routes study

The study sought also to examine the potential of the Cultural Routes for promoting sustainable and quality tourism in Europe, strengthening European identity, disseminating the richness of European cultures and fostering the intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding. In particular, the Study tends to analyse how much Cultural Routes networks can benefit SMEs, especially in less-known destinations, where the local culture and heritage are the main resource for development, and how SMEs’ clusters can create a solid basis for promoting Europe as “the world’s No 1 tourist destination”.



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