Read the impressions after the study visit to Flanders in April 2022.
Mostly located in rural and remote areas, historic castles, manors and estates (HCME) have the potential to stimulate rural and regional development and innovation. However, this requires a shift of paradigm in governance and support. By developing new policy instruments to unlock these assets, HCME could act as drivers for job creation, better education, improving life quality and reducing social inequalities. The partnership of Innocastle consists of four European regions, each addressing one policy instrument: The National Institute of Heritage in Romania, the Province of Gelderland in the Netherlands, University College Ghent in Belgium and the Provincial Government of Badajoz in Spain. National Trust from the UK will act as knowledge partner throughout the process and support all partners in remodeling their policies.
In phase 1 (June 2018 - November 2020), the partners first compared the situations between each region and learned from each other. Afterwards, four partners developed local action plans to improve targeted policy instruments in each region. The main deliverables of the process are:
1. A joint baseline survey on existing policies and practices. Consult it here.
3. Fifteen transferable and inspiring good practices have been identified, which could serve other policymakers across Europe - read the Innocastle good practices here.
4. The development of four regional action plans together with local actors to improve particular policy instruments, using the data collected. Read here the Local Action Plans proposed for the regions of Badajoz (ES), Flanders (BE), Gelderland (NL) and Romania.
In phase 2 (December 2020 - November 2022), all partners will monitor that the actions proposed in the Local Action Plans are implemented in each region.
INNOCASTLE seeks to demonstrate the importance of partnership in the sustainable revitalisation and future-proofing of heritage sites. It will alert policymakers to the need for effective funding to enable heritage sites to become self-sufficient. INNOCASTLE will also highlight our shared European identity. The project will use interregional cooperation to develop new policies for heritage across four partner regions (Gelderland, Extremadura, Flanders and Romania). Each has a different emphasis, but each will work towards improving the long-term sustainable development of HCME through 4 specific objectives:
Environment and resource efficiency
The Regional Operational Program (ROP) 2014-2020 in Romania will be tackled by the National Institute of Heritage.
Specifically, investment priority 5.1 of the ROP refers to the “preservation, protection, promotion and development of the cultural heritage and identity”, with the objectives to stimulate the local economy by improving the overall condition of heritage sites in Romania. As such, this priority can finance the restoration and touristic promotion of built heritage.
The practice has shown that the ROP guides could be improved in order to better correlate with other related domains and current issues found in the field. Specifically:
Like all other policy instruments that are part of Innocastle, also Priority 5.1 needs to be more correlated to other regional development strategies which include or affect cultural heritage, reflect stakeholders’ needs and to develop comprehensive evaluation criteria for the economic impact on local communities.
The Decree on Immovable Heritage is an overall decree on monuments and landscapes elaborated by the Flemish Government. The Decree addresses the working instruments to protect and to manage immovable heritage in Flanders, such as:
The Belgian partner in Innocastle, University College Ghent will further investigate the degree from the perspective of historic castles, manors and estates to find improvement points within Innocastle. Several ideas are already identified:
The Extremadura Operational Programme has allocated EUR 2 billion euro of funding with the aim to stimulate economic growth and strengthen the civil society in the Extremadura region.
One of the investment objectives addressed (6.3.1) is to boost protection, promotion and development of cultural heritage. The main objective of this instrument is the valorization of cultural and natural heritage resources of the region.
The creation of cultural heritage itineraries focused on castles and fortifications that are located mainly in rural areas with a great natural value (including their physical or virtual recreation) is a priority for the promotion of sustainable tourism in the region and the improvement of the economic development of isolated rural areas.
The operational programme has several issues at implementation level due to different factors. The political situation at a national and regional level, delays in information and approval of budgets, the limitation of resources, the necessity of new solutions for adequate exploitation of castles and fortifications (both public and private).
INNOCASTLE will address a clear necessity in the region of Extremadura, the correct valorization and sustainable exploitation of the local cultural heritage.
The main objective of the Policy Programme “Culture and Heritage” is to enhance the conservation of protected heritage in the province of Gelderland in combination with suitable use and a better experience of the heritage involved.
The main goals of this policy programme are:
Owners of castles manors and estates in the Province of Gelderland, especially private ones, come forward with questions on economic viability, sustainability and financing the necessary measures.
At the same time, municipalities in the region are increasingly seeking the support of the province on applying the legislation and other rules on this important body of heritage.
The Province ofGelderland aims to investigate possible changes in the policy so that the needs of owners and municipalities could be met.
Read the impressions after the study visit to Flanders in April 2022.
Exploring the relationship between historic estates, their landscape and how the different human & more-than-human communities influence that.
Join online for an expert discussion organised by Innocastle on what is the socio-economic impact of investing in heritage and how can it be measured best?
The webinar organised by the International National Trust Organisation in collaboration with the Province of Badajoz (Extremadura, Spain) showcased three...
On the 17th of November, an online webinar will take place on the topic of climate change and historic estates: impacts and strategies.
Read an in-depth analysis of the current situation of rural estates in the region of Badajoz in Spanish.
The Local Action Plan and Pilot Action proposed by the Diputacion de Badajoz, Spain have been approved. Read more about their contents here...
The Local Action Plan proposed by the Province of Gelderland, Netherlands, proposes an area-based approach to rural estates.
The Local Action Plan and Pilot Action proposed by the National Institute for Heritage Romania have been approved. Read more about their contents here
The Local Action Plan proposed by Hogeschool Gent for the region of Flanders introduces a participatory, cross-sector approach to rural estates.