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Although there seem to be natural links between the engagement for heritage on one side and volunteering as an convenient approach on the other side, both “worlds” are still quite closed, and the number of projects combining heritage and practical hands-on volunteering in a long-term dimension and more than only on a local level are still very rare. From the heritage point of view volunteering is often unjustified associated with unprofessional approach, and for organisations working with volunteers there are more rewarding fields of engagement especially in the social area, and frequently they indeed underestimate the necessity of an absolute professional approach while dealing with heritage.
But – there is a big need for volunteering at heritage sites and that not only by collecting funds and organising beneficial activities in order to enable the later financing of the conservation of heritage sites, but also by practical hands-on work at the heritage sites themselves. Especially in rural and structural weaker areas the practical engagement of the local population is probably the only possibility to conserve one or the other heritage site, but more than that: Own practical work, own physical engagement creates a grade of identification with a heritage site which otherwise hardly could be succeed.
Especially for young people often hawing grown up far away from really practical work own hands-on engagement is very imprinting and motivating; similar as the inhabitants of rural areas understand while observing the unpaid engagement of young people – partly especially coming from other countries or even other continents – the real value of the cultural or natural heritage in their direct neighbourhood.
Considering all these aspects European Heritage Volunteers organises since many years volunteering and educational activities that take place at heritage sites. These projects – organised either entirely by European Heritage Volunteers or in partnership with other institutions and organisations – are aimed at professionals as well as at amateurs with no prior skills or heritage-related knowledge. The projects adopt a hands-on approach, instructing volunteers on conservation and restoration practices and techniques, as well as providing training courses in handicrafts, projects for students, volunteer camps and other activities with the intent to educate the participants and to raise awareness in the field of cultural and natural heritage.
Projects take place all over Europe, stretching from Portugal in the West to Armenia in the East, from the North of Russia to the South of Italy. One of the organisation’s main objectives is to organise projects at heritage sites that has traditionally been over-looked or pushed aside in favour of more well-known sites, but that nevertheless have strong tangible or intangible value. European Heritage Volunteers’ holistic approach to heritage maintenance aims to draw the public’s attention to these undervalued heritage sites and to the activities necessary for their conservation, restoration and revitalisation.
Furthermore, European Heritage Volunteers works to enable heritage activists to network throughout Europe – heritage-related initiatives in the field of volunteering for heritage as well as young heritage experts and young heritage reporters – in order to facilitate the exchange of experiences, ideas and best-practice models and to stimulate interaction.
Although the background and subject matter of the various project types and the particular projects that European Heritage Volunteers offers, are highly diverse, they all have one common goal – to combine heritage as the subject with volunteering as the means of engagement, and in doing so to foster a mutual and lasting relationship between the two.
Where to apply?
You can apply for one or more of the published projects as soon as the projects are published.
For European Heritage Volunteers Projects and European Heritage Volunteers Partner Projects you can apply directly to European Heritage Volunteers.
For World Heritage Volunteers Projects you can apply or
- directly to the hosting organisation carrying out the project or
- through European Heritage Volunteers or
- through another organisation in your country cooperating with the hosting organisation
Please note, that not all organisations carrying out World Heritage Volunteers projects outside Europe accept direct applications of volunteers from abroad and request instead of that applications through other, so called “sending organisations” in the volunteers’ country of residence. Volunteers applying by a sending organisation have to pay instead of the participation fee a sending fee. The amount of the sending fee differs from sending organisation to sending organisation between 90 € and 300 €. The sending fee is not transferred to the hosting organisation, but is used to cover the own administrative costs of the sending organisation or to finance projects in the country of the sending organisation mostly not linked to heritage.
In case you apply through European Heritage Volunteers you can apply or for one or more specific projects or you can describe your profile, your interests, your motivation, your expectations and European Heritage Volunteers will try to help you to find a suitable project.
Than more detailed your application is, than better we can support you.
The application should contain in any case application form, curriculum vitae, photo, motivation letter and the time frame of your availability. The application form you can download here.
Please note, that there are more projects which are not published on this website and which may be in accordance with your wishes.
Opportunity is About:
Candidates should be from:
Description of Ideal Candidate:
Deadline: The application period is open for one or more cycles a year
Cost/funding for participants:
Which costs you have to cover?
At all projects accommodation, food, the educational and cultural programme and the travel costs during the project are usually covered by the hosting organisation. Depending on the hosting organisation and the type of the project health insurance, accidence insurance and / or liability insurance are covered by the hosting organisation, too.
The travel costs to and from the project place you have to cover yourself.
For European Heritage Volunteers Projects you have to pay a participation fee of 5 € per day, so for a two-week project 70 € in total.
If you apply for a European Heritage Volunteers Partner Project or for a World Heritage Volunteers Project through European Heritage Volunteers you have to pay a participation fee of 5 € per day (so 70 € for a two-week project) to European Heritage Volunteers, but no participation fee to the project itself. Depending on the agreement between European Heritage Volunteers and the particular project partner the participation fee will be or partly or completely transferred to the project or used to support other projects in the fields of heritage volunteering or heritage education in Europe.