On 30th June 2009 was held in Brussels the 1st Forum on the Economics of Cultural Heritage, an international meeting organised by the Junta de Castilla y León to boost European cooperation on heritage, enabling this cultural industry to create wealth, economic development and social cohesion.
One of the major successes of the event was the agreement reached on proposals and plans of work by all the international Cultural Heritage stakeholders, which culminated in the Charter of Brussels, signed by all the forum participants, on the economic role of Cultural Heritage, as well as the creation of a European network for recognising and publicising this role.
The institutions, bodies and companies that took part in the forum and signed the Charter of Brussels included:
The strategic approach of the Charter of Brussels led to the setting up of a European project, as part of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Culture, headed by the Autonomous Region of Government, and sponsored and supported by the European Commission within the scope of the 2007-2013 Culture Programme. This project, called EVoCH (Economic Value of Cultural Heritage), got underway in June 2010 and ended in April 2012 and was carried out in collaboration with four other public and private European entities in Spain, Italy, Germany and Norway.
The fundamental objective of the EVoCH project was to evaluate the importance of cultural heritage to the economy, through various forums. A recurrent conclusion at these meetings was the need to set up a stable platform to research and provide information on the impact of cultural heritage activities at a European level, as well as the opportunities arising within this field given the current backdrop of the economic crisis.
Based around this vision, and taking into account the various suggestions put forward, the Autonomous Region of Castilla y León aims to encourage a stable working environment, inviting participation by various strategic partners, who can contribute their own scientific, institutional or economic perspective, encouraging participation by all European social agents with common objectives with regard to the economic value of cultural heritage and activities to further the understanding, conservation, information and management of cultural heritage assets. This is how the EVoCH Platform came into being.