The mid-term conference of Innocastle was organized on the 24th of September 2020 with over 100 online participants from all over Europe and beyond. During the conference, partners and stakeholders of the European project Innocastle discussed the impact of COVID-19 for the heritage sector, specifically for rural estates. In times of crisis they all need to adapt to challenges with a new way of working. Partners from each country presented different ways in which this new challenge can be tackled, such as crowd management systems, involving volunteers, digital tools for heritage management or the increased importance of green heritage. The full conference can be re-watched via Facebook live. 

‘’There are lots of reasons for exchange and cooperation between the European regions. – – We are writing a new chapter in the history of castles and estates, with applications that belong to our time.‘’ - Peter Drenth, deputy of the Province of Gelderland

Official launch of the Baseline Survey

An important project publication, the baseline survey was launched at the Innocastle Mid-Term Conference. The survey forms a basis of comparison between the four partner regions (Gelderland in the Netherlands, West Flanders in Belgium, Badajoz in Spain and Center Development Region in Romania). It identifies five shared characteristics of rural estates across Europe and proposes 13 policy recommendations. The full document can be downloaded here.


Rural estates in challenging times

Key-note speaker, dr. Ben Cowell, director general of Historic Houses Association from the UK, looked at various ways of adaption by country house owners in difficult times, in the past and now. The full presentation can be downloaded or re-watched

‘’Normally, the Historic Houses in the UK would be welcoming 27 million visits every year, which is a significant number and it underlines just how important these places are for the economy in the UK. – – We estimate that 267 million pounds has been lost and revenue gone because doors have not been opened to tourists and visitors. And the consequence is that thousands of jobs either have been lost already or are at risk – –.’’ – Ben Cowell, Historic Houses Association 

Five ways heritage can adapt 

Lastly, each Innocastle partner presented a short pitch about how heritage can adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pitches approached topics such as the digitalisation and the democratisation of heritage, the increased value of green spaces, rethinking productive estates and rebuilding rural communities through heritage. All presentations can be re-watched here or downloaded here

Further information

The Mid-Term Conference has been organised by the Province of Gelderland, Gelders Genootschap and Eurodite in collaboration with all the Innocastle partners. All partners, relevant stakeholders and all other interested parties are warmly welcome to send comments, feedback and inquiries to Elyze Storms-Smeets [email protected] or Alina Tomescu [email protected]

A report of the meeting is available here.