The European cultural heritage has many different layers and is richer than we realize. Hence this European Year of Cultural Heritage is an incentive to raise awareness for our valuable assets we all share.
A commentary by Plácido Domingo
The European cultural heritage is the product of centuries, and even millennia, of interactions between peoples and communities. In musical terms I would call it a “theme with variations”: many different cultures have influenced each other and are intertwined and inseparably connected. Our cultural heritage exists as a result of this multi-layeredness. I am proud to call myself “Madrileño” and Spanish as well as European. Therefore we should treat our heritage, which is handed down to us from our ancestors over many generations, with due respect and care. We must ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy it much in the same way that we enjoy it today.
Nowadays the question arises, if culture is under threat. In general uncontrolled development can be a threat, just as climate change is a threat. Cultural heritage can even be deliberately targeted during a war. We should condemn such attacks on our collective memory in the strongest possible terms. An attack on our heritage does not only threaten our past, it threatens our future just as much.
Consequently I hope that Europeans will become more aware of the valuable assets we all share with one another. In the course of this European Year of Cultural Heritage this “Unity in Diversity” can then be used as a bridge between different communities and as a building block for a new, sustainable, more social and inclusive Europe. A Europe that is open to creative exchanges and dialogue with other cultures. Europe has a lot to offer to the world. Let’s use the European Year to celebrate and cherish our cultural heritage.
The text was published in the form of an interview by Pancras Dijk in National Geographic, January 2018 issue.
Maestro Plácido Domingo is President of Europa Nostra. The world-famous opera singer and conductor was elected president of Europa Nostra in 2010, which has been promoting the preservation of Europe's cultural heritage since 1963.