What do ancient boats, sevdah, dry stone walls, katuns, bears and spoon sweet have in common? All of them are part of the excellent projects described in the new Interpret Europe brochure “Fostering communities through heritage interpretation – Case studies from the Western Balkan region”.

Interpret Europe as the umbrella organization for heritage interpretation launched an interesting initiative two years ago. The intention was to recognize and highlight examples of the heritage interpretation of a part of Europe that is often understated and insufficiently known to the wider European heritage community and audience. In giving a voice to local communities, museologists, heritage interpreters and other creative professionals of the Western Balkan and their heritage, we have also made our contribution.

Where the Balkan begins and where it ends in a cultural sense, and where that puts the Western Balkan, can sometimes seem like a real mess and is not the subject of our work. But this brochure shows how local communities and professionals from these parts have a lot to say and show the world when it comes to storytelling about the connection between heritage and its people. There you can read 17 stories from 8 countries through which you will get to know great projects that nurture heritage, starting from working in and with local communities. In addition to them, the brochure describes 5 other projects that deserve to be included because of a certain aspect of their work.

So, apart from Croatia, the Interpret Europe brochure presents the works of our colleagues from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia and Slovenia. One of the main aspirations of each described project, but also the role of interpretation in general, is to strengthen the connection between people, communities and their heritage, and to celebrate universal values that make us all better people.

We don’t really separate people from heritage, we see their connection as immanent – without people there is no heritage.

But it happens in the modern world, and not infrequently, that this connection becomes secondary or even begins to fade, weaken, disappear. Then it is very important to help communities to activate and breathe life back into their heritage, thus enriching their own lives and recognizing a deeper meaning. Can it be done? Of course, it can! And how, showed many professionals in love with heritage, the natural and cultural, tangible and intangible, sometimes soul-stirring and wistful, sometimes joyful and gleeful, meditative, sweet, just as life itself is…

Download your copy  of new Interpret Europe brochure HERE and get to know a little better the heritage of the Western Balkan, the heritage of the local people and definitely plan to visit it once!