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2 minutes to read Posted on Wednesday November 18, 2020

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Douglas McCarthy

Douglas McCarthy

Former Collections Engagement Manager , Europeana Foundation

portrait of Georgia Evans

Georgia Evans

Senior Editorial Officer , Europeana Foundation

Discovering Europe – looking back at our summer season

From May to October 2020, our Discovering Europe season used the rich cultural heritage in Europeana to showcase beautiful landscapes and fascinating places, in a virtual journey across the continent.

Four women in a boat
Moterys valtyje (kairėje sėdi Kazė Vaitkienė)
Lithuanian Art Museum

Discovering Europe through cultural heritage editorial

All through the summer we featured cultural gems and hidden European jewels in stories and learning scenarios, highlighting the diversity and beauty that Europe offers. From May to October as part of the Discovering Europe season we published 61 editorials in total: 28 blogs and 33 galleries. The diverse topics covered included the history of hiking in Europe, a portrait of vintage Ibiza, sustainable tourism, and the European Capitals of Culture 2020.

These stories included contributions from 10 cultural heritage organisations and 4 Generic Services projects - Common Culture, Europeana Archaeology, Europeana Media and Europeana XX. We also developed many new learning resources for and with our educational partners. All in all, a remarkable 2,105 items from 410 organisations in 38 countries were showcased during the Discovering Europe season! 

Etiquetas de hoteles de Ibiza
National Library of Spain

All of our editorial was published on a Discovering Europe page and, as always, shared extensively with our social media audiences. By the end of October, season editorial had been visited over 150,000 times. Here are five of the most popular items:

People shared their positive reflections of the season online. A commenter on the ‘Trekking through Europe: a history of hiking’ blog wrote, ‘I appreciate the in-depth information here in this article, may many more enjoy the wonders of hiking in Europe!’ And a reader of ‘From airport to artport’ wrote, ‘A wonderful and interesting article. I have been travelling on aircraft since 1961. I can see the big changes over all these years.’

‘Discovering Europe’ for professionals audiences

Running over summer 2020, our 'Discovering Europe' season complemented a series of European Commission initiatives in the context of ‘Re-open EU'. With cultural tourism representing 40% of tourism in Europe, and badly affected by COVID-19, the season was launched alongside other initiatives which aimed to highlight the richness and innovation associated with cultural heritage tourism in Europe. This included the Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC)’s ‘Europe’s Culture Close to you’, and the Joint Research Centre’s Cultural Gems app.

We showcased a number of these initiatives, and encouraged our partners and professional audiences to share their own, on a ‘Discovering Europe’ page on Europeana Pro. This webpage for cultural heritage professionals showcased relevant initiatives, campaigns and projects which shone a light on cultural heritage and tourist destinations throughout Europe, and highlighted apps and tools from Europeana projects which support engagement with cultural heritage attractions. 

Here on Europeana Pro news, a complementary theme also explored cultural heritage tourism in the context of the Discovering Europe season. We looked at a number of re-opening initiatives from GLAMS across Europe, as well as digital initiatives organisations had taken to extend the online reach of cultural heritage in this period (including a map to discover Art Noveau Danube heritage, and online initiatives from European Historic Houses).