This semester we took the time to interview a few partners and stakeholders in order to find out what is the impact of Innocastle so far in their region and how they see the future of heritage after the Covid-19 crisis. All Innocastle partners agree that the heritage sector is one of the hardest hit by the current crisis. As rural estates all around Europe risk losing their volunteers and visitors when meeting face to face is not possible, the importance of EU institutions in supporting heritage institutions is clear. It is also important to accept that there is nothing like going and visiting a heritage site, and not everything should go online.

However, some immediate impact is also positive: the increased access to cultural resources as well as the digitization of government services (such as state accreditation on immovable heritage in Romania) are positive impacts of this period. As people need to keep distance to stay safe, organizing events and visiting estates outside is going to have a growing importance in the coming months and years in the aftermath of the corona crises. Many estates all over Europe have a beautiful landscape with gardens that can be used for activities that visitors can engage with in a safe and enjoyable manner.

''Often the potential of the site is much more than the building itself.” – Sylvie van Damme

Creating a more resilient heritage sector requires looking into the bigger picture, often at a regional level, and involving a wide group of stakeholders in order to understand the challenges and the opportunities of estates. Rather than only focusing on the cultural values and the history of rural estates, looking into the future of these sites and their connection to nature and society is just as important. Putting these values together is a skill that needs to be taken into consideration when creating future-oriented policies.