The European Democracy Sites distinction
The European Democracy Sites distinction was launched in 2022, at an initiative of the European Parliament. Being awarded the European Democracy Sites award will support the visibility of a historical site and its efforts to connect with other historical sites and educational institutions. Additionally the distinction consists of a plaque to be displayed at the respective site. The House of European History envisions to make these sites “living sites” through strong programming and by working closely with the respective communities around the sites, their local educational institutions, youth organisations, and NGOs.
What is the unique value of the new European Democracy Sites distinction?
Being awarded the European Democracy Sites distinction will support the visibility of a historical site and its efforts to connect with other historical sites and educational institutions. The newly created network will help developing joint programming and exchanging materials and resources. Our intention with this distinction is to create new powerful synergy projects on the level of democracy education and help establishing innovative channels and networks.
What actions does it support?
• creating awareness on the specific historical site, its mandate and existing activities around European democracy education
• informing a global audience on the role of a site and its surrounding community within the context of the European narrative
• building up and providing a network to the sites and their communities to link them to each other on a more sustained basis for joint educational programming and knowledge exchange
• highlighting their importance for European democracy, and for local communities, and their educational institutions.
What is the purpose of the European Democracy Sites award?
Over the last few years we have identified the strong wish within the pro-European democracy education field to connect internationally and work together in order to find partners for their projects, receive adequate feedback on their work, or develop an international audience. This goes in line with the fact that many historical sites, national or transnational sites, tangible or intangible sites, are situated in locations with limited accessibility and opportunity to connect and link their projects to other sites within the European Union. It is challenging for these sites to have sufficient contacts, communication channels, and networks to connect with other sites or audiences. Or they simply may not be aware of other existing sites. With this distinction we are helping to close this gap.
Background to the European Democracy Sites distinction
The goal of the distinction is to award and honour sites across the member states of the European Union, which were of vital significance to the history and development of European democracy.
What is the definition of a European democracy site?
The concept “sites” means tangible places, such as monuments and places of remembrance, as well as intangible goods associated with a specific event or a person. Tangible sites should be accessible to the public. As for to their location and reach, “sites” may be national, concerning only one member state of the European Union, or transnational. The term “transnational” defines a site with historical significance in more than one state or of prime importance for the continent as a whole regardless of the member state in which it is located.
• The definition of “transnational site” may also refer to sites located on the territory of at least two member states with a common thematic or historical link to each other.
What are the objectives of this new distinction awarded by the European Parliament?
• Strengthening European Union’s citizens’ sense of commitment to the principles of democracy and unity
• Underscoring the connections between the advancement of European unity and the advancement of democracy in Europe
• Fostering peace, solidarity, equality, and cross-continent understanding
• Giving visibility and recognition to the sites (and to the historic individuals and groupings related to them) which have highly contributed to the creation of bonds among Europeans
• Increasing European Union’s citizens’ understanding of the history of Europe and the building of European unity
The European Democracy Sites distinction is open to all sites within the member states of the European Union.
The selection process follows a pre-selection phase of nomination, followed by the final selection process.
For the pre-selection phase, the Academic Committee of the House of European History takes care of scouting, collecting, and reviewing sites for nomination. The Academic Committee consists of a pool of international independent experts.
The nomination process is carried out by independent experts of the House of European History’s Academic Committee. A designated Advisory Panel serves as jury in charge of the final selection process of sites.
In more concrete terms, the Committee is in charge of identifying and proposing the most suitable sites. These sites shall comply with the criteria set out in the guidelines and which contribute to the objectives of this distinction.
Results will be announced on the dedicated webpage and social media channels of the House of European History. Selected sites will be contacted by the European Parliament. The decision on the selection of the sites will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
Procedures in respect to transnational sites follow the same procedure as those for national sites. One site will serve as the contact point for the European Parliament’s communication activities. Next to national sites, the selection and nomination of transnational sites is particularly encouraged, i.e. sites located in at least two member states and linked by a common thematic or historical connection.
When a transnational site is selected, the award will be given to the transnational site as a whole and under the common name.
The final selection process will be carried out by the jury (hereinafter “Advisory Panel”).
The Advisory Panel consists of the Board of Trustees of the House of European History and the two Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament responsible for information policy, press and citizens’ relations.
The Advisory Panel carries out the review of proposed sites, as well as the selection and monitoring process, under the responsibility of the European Parliament. This jury selects at least one site and no more than three sites per member state per year, including transnational sites. It also ensures that the criteria are properly applied by the sites.
After the scouting and pre-selection process, the Advisory Panel proposes to the Bureau of the European Parliament a reasoned decision with those sites deemed to deserve the distinction. It prepares a short list of sites and presents it to the Bureau for endorsement and approval. The Advisory Panel’s selection of final candidate sites will describe the site proposed and the way it meets the eligibility criteria. The decision by the Bureau on the selection of the sites is final.
The selection by the Advisory Panel will be limited to a maximum of one site per member state in the first edition of the distinction. On duly justified cases, the Advisory Panel may also propose one site meeting the eligibility criteria set up in Article 4 not located in a member state. The Bureau may review the number of sites to be awarded the distinction after the first edition.
Miguel Angel MARTINEZ MARTINEZ
Viscount Etienne DAVIGNON
Domènec RUIZ DEVEZA
Johan VAN OVERTVELDT
There are several prizes awarded by European institutions. The most prominent examples are:
- Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought
- LUX European Audience Film Award
- European Heritage Label
- European Charlemagne Youth Prize
- European Cultural Routes
Education and learning-related questions
For the time being, some resources for the visits are for the time being in the languages spoken by the visitors we expect in the highest numbers due to the museum's geographical situation: French, Dutch, German and English. We have made every effort to provide a learning offer in as many languages as possible and we will continue to implement multilingualism as a reflection of Europe's linguistic and cultural diversity.