FRH strives to convince national and EU leaders of the following arguments.
Please help us!
Religious heritage represents, and by far, the biggest single portfolio of Europe’s cultural patrimony.
Support for the sector has historically been implicit. It now needs to be made explicit.
This heritage is under threat:
The effects of reducing congregations and restrictions on government spending are being felt, progressively, throughout Europe. As an example:
In the Netherlands, 70% of churches are running deficits.
Of the 1,593 Catholic churches, two-thirds are projected to close by 2025.
The merger of the three main Protestant Churches has also provoked a wave of closures.
The current 150 monasteries are expected to reduce to five within ten years.
Places of worship are important.
A recent poll commissioned by the FRH show that an overwhelming majority of Europeans think that churches and religious buildings are part of their cultural heritage, that preserving them is crucial for their community’s life and that they should be open to tourism when they contain architectural or artistic treasures.
Opportunities vary and each church is different, but there are a number of common threads.
FRH believes that places of worship should be encouraged to
• Be open and welcoming – it is difficult to justify spending money on buildings that are inaccessible and little used
• Promote community use – concerts, conferences, social events…
• Promote their artistic content – ‘the biggest museum of Europe’
• Envisage using part of buildings for non-church purposes – ‘extended use’
• Develop the role of volunteers
• Articulate the financial needs of buildings and contents and look to innovative funding methods.