The European Commission and Europa Nostra announced that employees and activists of the National Museum of BiH are this year’s winners of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage – Europa Nostra Awards, the largest European award in the field of heritage.
The projects that are selected by the jury represent excellent examples of creativity, innovation, sustainable development and social participation in the heritage sector all across the Europe. Among the outstanding initiatives that are rewarded in 2016 are: the renovation of the track on the steep sides of the canyon, which opened views on the beautiful natural beauty to visitors, and thus a new wave of tourism in the region (Spain); development of industrial digitalization, which is a result of digitalization of nearly 9 million zoological, botanical and geological samples from all across Europe and beyond, which is of great importance to researchers from all around the world (Netherlands); commitment of employees and activists of the National Museum of BiH, who were working for 3 years without salary and contribution, in order to preserve the museum despite the difficult political situation (BiH); and a project that encourages citizens to “adopt” the monuments of cultural and historical importance to the local community, to care for them, and to bring them back to use (Finland). First prize was awarded to the outstanding project in Iceland: the rehabilitation and conversion of the French hospital in Faskrudsfjordur in the museum.
“I congratulate to the winners and their teams on outstanding work. Thanks to their talent and dedication, many treasures of Europe’s cultural heritage are saved and revitalized for the present and future generations. Their projects are strengthening awareness of cultural heritage as a strategic resource of the European society and economy. Cultural Heritage unites people, builds bridges between the past, present and future. At the same time, it also generates economic growth, promotes sustainable development and stimulates social participation and inclusion – which is of vital interest – today more than ever. That is why we support this award and other projects from the sector of heritage through our program Creative Europe, and we will continue to do that in the future,” said Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for education, culture, youth and sports.
Home to over 4 million items, the National Museum in BiH is a one of the largest and most important museum collections in Southeast Europe. In order to attract the attention of domestic and international public on the alarming status of the Museum, Akcija, an independent cultural organization from Sarajevo, launched a campaign “I am Museum”, in cooperation with the photographer Zijah Gafic, who made striking portraits of workers of the Museum. Public pressure put the problem of the Museum at the top of the list of priorities of the government. Jury of Europa Nostra award is amazed with the fact that “in cooperation with Akcija, the employees of the Museum launched a broad public campaign to ensure the preservation of important and unique collection that represents religious and cultural diversity of the region.”