Finland joins Council of Europe’s agreement on Cultural Routes

Ministry of Education and Culture 24.8.2017 11.09
Press release

Finland will join the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe (EPA). The aim of the Cultural Routes programme is to increase awareness of European culture and cultural heritage and to promote sustainable cultural tourism. Finland’s membership will become effective on 1 January 2018.

- With joining the Council of Europe’s Agreement on Cultural Routes, Finland will have new opportunities to develop cultural tourism. It will also offer opportunities to improve cooperation and networking between the various actors involved in the culture sector. Cultural heritage in Finland is a magnificent resource and a source of particular pride – something that we should market internationally as well, says Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sport Sampo Terho.

Some of the Council of Europe’s agreements are partial agreements which means that not all member states have acceded to them. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes in 2010. After three years of piloting, the agreement was confirmed on a permanent basis in December 2013. So far, 28 countries have joined the agreement.

The Cultural Routes programme was launched in 1987 with the Declaration of Santiago de Compostela on the pilgrimage route. With the EPA agreement, cooperation has been reformed and broadened. Currently there are 32 certified Cultural Routes that reach across 53 countries. Cultural Route certification is granted to a route which is based on a theme relating to European culture, cultural heritage, traditions, or landscape bringing together at least three countries. The Cultural Route networks implement the EPA agreement.

Cultural Routes under the EPA agreement are based on cooperation projects focusing on culture, cultural heritage education and tourism. According to a background study conducted for the Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland has potential and readiness to draw on the Council of Europe’s Cultural Route concept, in particular with regard to efforts to develop cultural tourism. At the moment, some of the Cultural Routes include Finland and the related associations have had Finnish members.

The Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes is based on the Council of Europe’s conventions on culture and cultural heritage. To attain the set objectives and promote sustainable cultural tourism, cooperation is also established with the European Commission and other international organisations, including UNESCO and the World Tourism Organization (UNTWO). The Council of Europe emphasises the central role of culture and cultural heritage in efforts to strengthen democracy and human rights in Europe.


  • Anne Mattero, Special Government Advisor, +358 295 330 206
  • Heli Talvitie, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Education and Culture, tel. +358 295 330 307

Publication by the Ministry of Education and Culture: Cultural Route as a joint platform; Background study on the Council of Europe’s Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes (EPA)  (in Finnish only)

Cultural Routes (Council of Europe)