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Economic Value of Cultural Heritage

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Charter of Brussels

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Charter of Brussels regarding the role of Cultural Heritage in the economy and the creation of a european network for its recognition and dissemination

In Brussels on 30th June 2009, the undersigned, who are members of and / or are representatives of Public Administrations, Institutions, Companies and Experts in the sector for the conservation, restoration and management of Cultural Heritage as part of the objective for analysing the scope and nature of the influence exerted by the various activities related with this issue in the economic system of the countries and communities in our European area, and with regard to intensifying the role played by Cultural Heritage to date in meeting the objectives set during the meeting of the Heads of State held in Lisbon in March 2000, to make the European Union “the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion” by 2010


  • That given its essential and intrinsic value, Cultural Heritage must cease to be considered as a burden that is only worthy of consideration during a period of economic boom, and must be considered as a non-renewable asset that both administrations and citizens must view as a basic Public Service that is the object of mandatory concern, as well as being a fundamental right for their wellbeing and development and always necessary for social cohesion in a multicultural environment.
  • That from this perspective a strategy directed at the socialisation of Cultural Heritage values must be initiated as from the first phases of education, and during all of its periods, that guarantees the necessary knowledge and universal accessibility to goods and services of which the culture sector is comprised.
  • That the activities directed at the conservation, restoration and management of the goods of which Cultural Heritage is comprised represent a network of elements that are able to dynamise the economy of our countries into a competitive advantage with other activities that are subjected, to a greater extent, to the cycles and situations that are produced periodically. Moreover, this is a sector which is primarily made up of small and medium-sized enterprises that represent a strong economic and social fabric.
  • That it must be obvious that this economic sector, as an alternative to other predominant models, is able to create stable, specialised and quality employment that cannot be relocated. These economic policies are therefore drawn up as a public and private investment with a high rate of social profitability.
  • That it is necessary to recognise the boost that these activities give to the progress and transfer of research, development and innovation both through new technologies applied to conservation, restoration and dissemination, as well as the undertaking to discover new models that are sustainable and efficient for the management of heritage.
  • That Cultural Heritage constitutes a valuable and irreplaceable resource. It acts as an element that revitalises cities and territories and is able to improve the quality of life of their inhabitants, to stimulate investment and to create country branding. This resource is seen to be particularly essential for the development of peripheral territories affected by the process of depopulation.
  • That the investment by the different economic stakeholders in goods pertaining to Cultural Heritage favours the integration of European society in all its variety, fomenting the identity and feeling of belonging of each of its people as well as disseminating social values that have historically characterised our Community: tolerance, democracy, diversity and pluralism.

And, as a result of the above, those who endorse this Agreement undertake, within their respective areas of action and competence, to disseminate these principles as far as possible, as well as to stimulate and foment any strategies aimed at maintaining and increasing the greatest possible level of investment in all of the activities of which the Cultural Heritage sector is comprised by virtue of considering it a strategic sector of opportunity for current and future development which must not be wasted.

They also propose to set themselves up as a stable working group as a European network for the knowledge and dissemination of the role of Cultural Heritage in the economy. This network is considered as open to the incorporation of those institutions and experts who so request it.