Rode altarpiece project wins European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage and Europa Nostra Award 2017

The European Commission and Europa Nostra have announced the winners of the most reputable heritage award in Europe – the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage and Europa Nostra Award for 2017. One of the winners is the Rode altarpiece research and conservation project, to which a considerable contribution was made by the UT cultural heritage workgroup.

Juries of independent experts reviewed 202 projects nominated for the award by individuals and organisations from 39 countries across Europe and selected the laureates. All in all, 29 laureates from 18 countries were recognised for their outstanding accomplishments in conservation, research, education, training and awareness-raising, and special merits in preserving cultural heritage.

According to Signe Vahur, research fellow in analytical and physical chemistry in the University of Tartu and a participant in the awarded project, the cultural heritage workgroup took part in such a major project for the first time. “Participation in the project allowed us to apply our knowledge and skills to real-life problems, and to be involved in the research process of a masterpiece of such high value on the European scale. It was also a project in which people of humanities and science cooperated closely and by the end of the project we had become a unified team. This team is now working on new cultural heritage research projects,” said Vahur.

“I congratulate all the winners. Their achievements demonstrate once again how engaged many Europeans are in protecting and safeguarding their cultural heritage. Their projects highlight the significant role of cultural heritage in our lives and our society. Especially today, with Europe facing many big societal challenges, culture is vital in helping us to raise awareness of our common history and values and to foster tolerance, mutual understanding and social inclusion. The European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018 will be an ideal opportunity to focus on what binds us together as Europeans – our common history, culture and heritage. The European Commission will continue to support this prize and other heritage projects through our Creative Europe programme,” said Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.

“I pay tribute to all those who made these exceptional achievements possible, thanks to their formidable talent, passionate commitment and great generosity. They are now among a select group of some 450 remarkable accomplishments awarded by Europa Nostra and the European Commission in the past 15 years. All our winners demonstrate that heritage is a key tool for sustainable economic development, social cohesion and a more inclusive Europe. EU leaders should seize the historic opportunity of the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018 to recognise the multiple benefits of heritage and its fundamental value in bringing countries, communities and cultures together in Europe and beyond,” stated Plácido Domingo, the renowned opera singer and President of Europa Nostra. 

The EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards 2017 ceremony, co-hosted by EU Commissioner Navracsics and Maestro Plácido Domingo, will take place in the late afternoon on 15 May in St. Michael’s Church in Turku.  The European Heritage Awards Ceremony will assemble some 1,200 people, including heritage professionals, volunteers and supporters from all over Europe as well as top-level representatives from EU institutions, the host country and other EU member states.

The winners will present their exemplary heritage accomplishments during the Excellence Fair on 14 May at the Sigyn Hall of the Turku Music Conservatory, and participate in various events at the European Heritage Congress in Turku (11-15 May) ( Organised by Europa Nostra, the Congress will provide a platform for networking and debating the latest European developments related to heritage with a special focus on the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.

Applications for the 2018 awards can be submitted from 15 May to 1 October 2017 on the website

Additional information: Signe Vahur, UT Research Fellow in Analytical and Physical Chemistry, 737 6661,

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: