Action 10: Digital Forum invited to a European dialogue about dissonant heritage

Whether Nazi buildings, former military installations or socialist and colonial monuments: What future prospects exist for dissonant heritage sites of the 20th century? More than 120 experts discussed this on February 16 and 17, 2022 at the "Online Forum: Integrated Approaches to Dissonant Heritage in Europe – Insights, Networks, and Future Perspectives".

Current nationalist narratives as well as post-colonial and provenance debates demonstrate the relevance of actively engaging with Europe's dissonant heritage – heritage with which we share different opinions or negative associations, e.g. heritage from totalitarian regimes, wars and conflicts.

The Online Forum provided space for discussion and exchange on integrated approaches to dissonant heritage in smaller towns and peripheral areas.

In her opening speech, the German Federal Minister for Housing, Urban Development and Building, Klara Geywitz, emphasized the potential of the heritage, e.g. as places for local citizen participation and democracy building.

The project-related research team presented its key findings and strategic recommendations, also recently published in the Orientation Paper. During panel discussions, experts shared their views and experiences on a broad variety of topics related to dissonant heritage, e.g. on adaptive reuse, European and local funding as well as pan-European cooperation. At a digital marketplace, numerous initiatives and projects presented a wide range of approaches, e.g. through communication, participation, European networks as well as artistic approaches, and perspectives, e.g. on the fascist, socialist, military and nuclear heritage.

You are invited to take a look at the Online Forum’s programme  as well as the new project website

Since 2020, European experts within the framework of the Partnership on Culture and Cultural Heritage in the Urban Agenda for the EU have been investigating how integrated approaches can strengthen the potential of dissonant heritage sites for society, for tourism and for urban and regional development and make it usable in the long term.

The Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building (BMWSB) and the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) had invited to the event as part of the research program "Experimental Housing and Urban Development" (ExWoSt).


Jan Schultheiß

German Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building

Division “Vibrant Communities, National Urban Development Projects” 



Birgit Kann

German Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development

Division “Quality in Urban Development, Investment Projects”



Image credits:

Top from left to right: Monument House of the Bulgarian Communist Party Buzludzha, Kazanlak, Bulgaria, © Dora Ivanova; Memorial site of labour camp Neuaubing, Munich, Germany, © Edward Beierle; Chernobyl Zone, Hotel Polissya, Pripyat, Ukraine, © Yaroslav Yemelianenko

Centre from left to right: Martyr village, Oradour-sur-Glane, France, © CMO; Prison La Model, Barcelona, Spain, © EUROM; Soviet Socialist architecture and urbanism, , © Ramona Novicov

Bottom from left to right: 9th Fort in Kaunas, Lithuania, © Vaidas Petrulis; Congo monument, Brussels, Belgium, © P. Ingelaere,; Concentration Camp Memorial Ebensee, Austria, © KZ Gedenkstätte Ebensee

dissonant heritage