What do Europeans think about Cultural Heritage?

On the occasion of the launch of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, a new edition of the Eurobarometer was published during the European Culture Forum, attended by UNESCO Liaison Office Brussels on the 7th December 2017. It is the first EU-wide survey to be conducted on the topic of cultural heritage.

The Eurobarometer gathers data on public opinion in the European Union and addresses key topics concerning European citizens. This year’s Special Eurobarometer 466: Cultural Heritage, commissioned by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, has collected data about people’s opinions and impressions of cultural heritage across the EU and represents the first time that an EU-wide survey has been conducted on this topic.

This study investigates people’s personal involvement with cultural heritage and the perceived importance and values they attach to Europe’s cultural heritage. It analyses participation in cultural heritage activities and barriers to accessing culture. It also looks at perceptions of the impact of cultural heritage on tourism and jobs, and public opinion concerning the protection of cultural heritage in Europe. The survey builds on questions already asked in previous Eurobarometer surveys on European cultural values (2007), and cultural access and participation (2013).

The main findings of the survey were shared with participants at the European culture Forum. According to the survey, 84% of Europeans feel that cultural heritage is important to them personally, with a large majority also feeling that it is important to their region, country and the European Union as a whole. A large majority have a sense of pride in a historical monument or site, a work of art or tradition in their own region or country, and in other European countries. Half of Europeans surveyed have visited a museum or a gallery in the last twelve months.

In terms of the impact of cultural heritage on employment, 79% of Europeans think that Europe’s cultural heritage or cultural heritage-related activities create jobs in the EU. The survey also shows that 9 in 10 think cultural heritage should be taught in schools. Three quarters of Europeans think that the EU and its Member States should allocate more resources to protecting Europe’s cultural heritage.

The full results of the survey are available as a dedicated toolkit on the European Commission’s website at the following link:


The results can be broken down according to certain categories, for example per county, per group of countries, per trend and according to socio-demographic criteria. In addition to the main EU-wide report, there are also country factsheets for all EU Member States available in English and national languages.


UNESCO Office in Brussels, “Eurobarometer 2018: The results of the first EU-wide survey on cultural heritage have been published”, 21.12.2017. Retrieved from: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/brussels/about-this-office/single-view/news/eurobarometer_2018_the_results_of_the_first_eu_wide_survey/

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