European study on material cultural heritage’s economic impact

How does material cultural heritage contribute to economic growth and how can this impact be measured? The EHHF ‘Task Force on Economy and Statistics’, in which the Cultural Heritage Agency (RCE) participates, had it researched in 2018-2019. The main report and a summary are available online, as is a working paper in which approaches and challenges are addressed. 

The study explored the possibilities of developing a common European method to measure the economic effects of cultural heritage in 8 different economic sectors. Data has been collected from a total of 10 European countries: Sweden, Italy, Norway, Slovakia, Belgium, Austria, Slovenia, Portugal, Romania and the Netherlands. The research was conducted by VVA consulting/KEA European Affairs and financed by ESPON. The RCE was part of the steering committee, together with other stakeholder countries from the Task Force on Economy and Statistics of the European Heritage Heads Forum (EHHF).

During this project, which is the first study on the economic value of material cultural heritage to be based on official national statistics, it became clear that finding common definitions and collecting data in a structured manner, poses a challenge. The study can therefore be understood as an exploration into the (im)possibilities of a European framework, and the results as a first step in that direction.