The Slovenia Times

Cultural heritage is at the centre of sustainable development.



Is the protection of cultural history well considered at the systemic level in Slovenia?

We should be creating the conditions that would allow heritage owners to become interested in restoration and upkeep. With a suitable fiscal policy, the funding that heritage owners invest should be augmented. In neighbouring Croatia, for example, they have introduced a special tax for investment in heritage and despite initial objections, this measure has proven to be successful. There are many similar examples in Europe. 

Conditions should be created which would allow heritage owners to become interested in restoration and upkeep. 

We should regulate the systemic financing of restoration and maintenance for cultural monuments of national importance. In major promotional projects such as, for example, this year's European Year of Cultural Heritage, all sectors should be included, not just cultural. The Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, above all the Slovenian Organisation for Tourism and the Ministry of Culture should all work together, targeting more closely. 

This year, the EuropeanYear of Cultural Heritage, is dedicated to cultural history. Is Slovenia able to use this opportunity? 

At IPCHS we have marked the year with the exhibition The Aljaž Turret - Preserving the Symbol. A monography 'Bridges', from the new collection 'Our heritage', is also in preparation. We are organising European Heritage Days and a Week of European Cultural Heritage. With ICOMOS Slovenia we are preparing a symposium on managing monuments.

For the time being, the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 has not brought any significant changes. The long-awaited law on the cultural euro has still not been adopted, nor has the proposal that a certain percentage of new investments be devoted to the arts. But the year is not over yet and perhaps something may still change.

You have mentioned several times that heritage is an opportunity for every country. Where do you see the opportunities for Slovenia?

Correct. I do like to emphasise that the opportunities heritage offers are innumerable. Tourism has, to a large extent, already recognised and exploited these opportunities. We know that restored heritage can be a great tourism product, and the increasing numbers of tourists visiting cultural monuments in Ljubljana, Postojna, Bled, Lipica, on the coast and elsewhere, prove that we also know how to offer it. Furthermore, we have begun to realise that tourism is multi-layered and the orientation towards sustainable tourism, an undisputed part being heritage, is absolutely the right choice for Slovenia. 

Maintenance, quality restoration and care for the revitalisation of heritage mean care for a quality living environment which are the foundations for sustainable development in society.

Today, such emphasis on sustainable development without heritage is impossible as heritage is at the centre of every sustainably-oriented society. Ironically speaking, the monumentally-protected building did not become a part of sustainable development until it got its new, energy-saving façade. Sustainable development touches on at least three areas: economic, social and environmental. Heritage is a part of all three. Heritage is a lever in economic growth and contributes greatly to the formation of local and individual identity as it reflects our values, beliefs, convictions, knowledge and traditions. Maintenance, a quality restoration and care for the revitalisation of heritage means care for the surroundings, which are the basis for sustainable development in our society.

Can you present us with a successful example of connecting heritage with industry, either at home or abroad?

The Centre for Excellence 'InnoRenew CoE', of which IPCHS is one of the leading (founding) partners, is definitely an example. Together with its partners, the Centre is building in Izola and will closely connect the wood industry with heritage and renewable resources. Within the framework of the project, the production of new sustainable wood products is planned, while at the same time, special attention will be given to the heritage of wood.

To conclude, a few words regarding the international cooperation of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage.

The Institute is involved in several major international projects. I have already mentioned the Centre for Excellence and the Institute is, among others, a partner in the project 'The European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science' (E-RIHS). The project is in its preparatory phase, the partnership joins 16 countries: 15 EU Member States plus Israel.

The new European research infrastructure, whose main European centre will be located in Florence, will offer users the latest scientific equipment and expertise in the form of four laboratories: ARCHLAB (archives), FIXLAB (fixed facilities.), MOLAB (mobile facilities) and DIGILAB (virtual facilities).

The best stories happen through collaboration and at the Institute we are proud that we can participate in the abovementioned and a number of other international partnerships where, together, we may create new stories.


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