I enjoyed my participation in the seminar Social Media Volunteers for Heritage from various points of views: The Ossmannstedt Seminar Venue that was our home during those days was an oasis of inspiration in the middle of nature, in contrast with the touristic and university atmosphere of Weimar. As someone who is passionate about communication, it was a privilege to get to know and to learn from Europa Nostra's communication department and to meet colleagues that are so talented, kind and participative, with whom it will be a pleasure to give life to "Heritage Times". Finally, the seminar enabled me to discover the praiseworthy and tireless work of European Heritage Volunteers – my congratulations to all. I am a total fan of each and every one of your projects. This seminar was without a doubt an unexpected and totally recommendable experience. One that adds extra excitement to life!

Libe Fernández Torróntegui, Spain
Architect with Postgraduate Degree in Refurbishment, Restoration and Heritage
Participant at the Social Media Volunteers for Heritage Seminar in 2016


Looking back to my two-week volunteering experience in Ticino, Switzerland, I cannot help it but smile for the moments I spent there, as a member of a beautiful international team of ten people! From the very first to the very last day, the Foundation “Val Bavona” made sure to be the best host any workcamp could ask for. We had the opportunity to learn a lot of interesting things about natural heritage management and conservation in a stunning mountain region, to be a part of the effort to keep a landscape alive, to find history within nature, to cooperate, to have fun. Right now I find it hard to choose what I appreciated and enjoyed the most! The local food which was abundant, the cultural exchange with my co-volunteers, the work in the woods, the inventory in the traditional stone houses, the swimming in the lakes, the magnificent hikes, or the events offered by the Foundation “Val Bavona”. Culture – heritage – work – adventure – friendship – joy! From every aspect, I can say that I left Ticino feeling “richer”.

Eirini Daouka, Greece
Student of “Environmental Management of Mountain Areas”
Volunteer at the European Heritage Volunteers Partner Project “History in Val Bavona” in 2016


During summer 2016 I got to travel to two countries that I have only ever dreamt to see – Belarus and Kosovo. I spent a total of four weeks as a volunteer at the European Heritage Volunteers Partner Projects in Loev and Prizren - it was without a doubt one of the best summers of my life. In Belarus, we spent our days digging for artefacts underneath the shade of the trees looking out over the Dnieper river, and more than one of our nights around bonfires sharing life-experiences. The locals were so curious that some of them passed by a few times a day to see what we were doing, and more than once someone picked up a shovel to help share the workload. The project in Kosovo granted us a glimpse into an often-misunderstood society brimming with potential and proud to share their cultural heritage with foreigners. The highlight of the project was the excursions, which showcased the immense wealth of cultural heritage that this country has to offer. I loved the summer I spent with European Heritage Volunteers – I met real people and had real experiences, and to me this is what volunteering is all about.

Stenette van den Berg, South Africa
Masters Student, Dynamics of Cultural Landscapes and Heritage Management
Volunteer at the European Heritage Volunteers Partner Projects
“Archaeology in Loev” and “Archaeological Research at Prizren Castle” in 2016


The World Heritage Young Experts Forum was one of the most genuinely educational and inspiring experiences I ever have been part of. In these two weeks I felt like I was not only immersed myself in another culture, but experiencing the culture of 31 different countries from all over the world at the same time and place. The workshop on the restoration of scenic dry stone walls organised by European Heritage Volunteers was a really great input due to my expertise area. I learned more about these traditional techniques, which recall me to the famous quote “the more simple, the better”, because that’s how I see myself as a young civil engineer. From this experience I acquired valuable knowledge regarding UNESCO’s principles and standards, how to address issues concerning the sustainable preservation and management of World Heritage sites, and I learnt to value even more the role of volunteering. This experience brought me closer to heritage-related matters and has motivated me to reorient my career as a young professional.

Rui Maio, Portugal
PhD student, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Aveiro
Participant of the World Heritage Young Experts Forum 2015


The World Heritage Young Experts Forum is one of the great experiences in my academic life. I have learnt a lot and had the opportunity to exchange many different ideas within two weeks. The program was scheduled in a way that the participants, and so did I, had the chance to examine ourselves on what we first trained during the seminars and discussion sessions. Moreover, in an enjoyable but also properly serious way, I experienced the principles and rules of UNESCO World Heritage Committee via the Committee Model Simulation Game. Upon this great experience and what I gained through, I am now able to plot a route for both my professional carrier and personal life considering what I have exchanged with the young experts from 31 different countries and endeavors of the organization team. As I am a young architect who lives in the “Cradle of Civilization”, I have always been highly concerned with our heritage by all means.

Şerife Özata, Turkey
PhD Student in the Department of Architecture, Yıldız Technical University
Participant of the World Heritage Young Experts Forum 2015


After six weeks of volunteer work at Belvedere Castle complex near Weimar where I was responsible for the information and the guidance of the visitors at the exhibitions about “World Heritage Volunteers” and “World Heritage Sites in Germany” I can summarise that it was for me an amazing experience – I lived in Germany not as a tourist, but as an inhabitant, I met so many people with very different backgrounds with whom I will keep in touch also in future and I improved my knowledge of German language. I am proud of having been a part of European Heritage Volunteers and looking forward to take part in new volunteer projects.

Kadir Celal Aksu, Turkey
Tourist Guide
Volunteering in the World Heritage Guest Guiding project in 2015


Within the framework of the World Heritage Volunteers project in Évora I was able to expand my knowledge of the application and preservation of historical techniques in a practical way. The preparation of the lime stone paint was especially important for my appreciation of the relationship between the application material and the foundation. Furthermore, the programme gave a valuable insight into the heritage management of the municipality of Évora. Through a varied schedule, which we received before arrival, the participants got to know several facets of Portuguese culture – architecture, landscape, cuisine and music. My personal highlight of the programme was the sgraffito and fresco workshop, where we could experiment artistically. The whole programme was very well organized. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to develop their skills in traditional applications techniques, whilst working in an international team.

Carola Neydenbock, Germany
Student of Heritage Studies
Volunteering in the project “The Whitewashed Heritage of Évora” in 2015


The World Heritage Volunteers project was my first volunteering experience. The two weeks programme consisted of activities like introduction to the techniques of limestone whitewashing, workshops in painting techniques like fresco and sgraffito and hands-on whitewashing of walls in the historical town centre of Évora. For me, it was a real life demonstration of the concepts of conservation, problems and challenges that I studied about and a way of contributing to the common heritage. I got an opportunity to interact with people belonging to different cultures and make friends for life. Warm and welcoming local people, local food, international friends, interesting workshops and painting the walls – a truly unique way of experiencing a place. The organisers and everyone involved made the programme a memorable one!

Krupali Parekh, India
Student of World Heritage Management
Volunteering in the project “The Whitewashed Heritage of Évora” in 2015


I am very pleased to have been part of an excellent activity in a beautiful city with good people from all around the world. It was my dream to work and to learn in different cultural heritage sites together with different people representing different cultures. For two weeks I lived my dream. Every day we learnt something new, every day we learnt how to protect and promote cultural heritage. Diversity is rich as evidenced by World Heritage Volunteers.

Isuf Koci, Kosovo
Head of Division for Protection of Tangible Cultural Heritage
Volunteering in the project “Parks and Gardens of Classical Weimar” in 2015


Met friends for life, worked on marvelous locations in the morning, participated in social and cultural events in the afternoon and all the while contributing to the preservation of our common heritage. Not bad for just two weeks, right? The international atmosphere made it even more special because I had a taste (both metaphorically and literally; we were cooking traditional dishes from our countries) of cultures I haven't had contact with before.

Teodora Markovic, Serbia
Student of International Studies,
Volunteering in the Classical Weimar project in 2015


For me the project was an amazing way to learn about many new cultures, to meet people from all over the world, who share some of the same interests and who are broad-minded. Volunteering is a great way to travel, the people we worked with were welcoming and the work itself was satisfying. The project was very rewarding: I connected and engaged with my fellow volunteers and gained new perspectives and understanding about various issues. By the end we had become good friends and are still in touch. I gained in self confidence, independence and learnt more about myself.

Jessica Jacques, Ireland
Student of European Studies
Volunteering in the Classical Weimar project in 2014