Cultural heritage is not only the tangible heritage which surrounds us, but it also includes the intangible aspects of traditional handicrafts. In fact, this intangible aspect is the base for the tangible one, because the tangible heritage is often the result of traditional techniques.

On the other hand, heritage is frequently reduced to its optical impression, its surface, forcing the aspect of original substance and the applied technique,which are core elements of heritage, out of the focus. Often, the aspect of usability also stands in the foreground, thus reducing heritage to a “nice shell”.

Traditional handicraft are falling out of use, because they are in comparison with modern approaches for contemporary buildings significantly more time-consuming and therefore understood as “not effective”. Though for several decades traditional handicrafts have been partially rediscovered, this has not led to a fundamental change – traditional handicrafts are often only applied at highly valuable heritage sites, used by heritage-lovers or demonstrated in a musealised way.

However, it is not only the economical aspect which puts traditional handicraft under pressure; sometimes it is also the desire for spotlessness and the lack of appreciation for the individual aspects of handicra works, the small nuances in the colour and others. But often, the reason is simply missing knowledge – about the traditional handicra itself, its applicability, its constructive, physical and aesthetic advantages.

Young heritage professionals need this knowledge to be able to undertake decisions which are in accordance with a heritage site, its history, its value. But traditional handicraft is usually not taught academically; the teaching schedule in formal education does not provide the frame for this, and often does even not awake the needed sensitivity.

On the other hand, the craftsmen who possess this knowledge exist, and many of them are glad to share it with younger people. In some cases, traditional techniques are dying out, in other cases the situation is less dramatic, but there are not many opportunities provided for this transmission of knowledge. Finally, there are young heritage lovers who discovered their passion for a particular traditional handicraft and are eager to share it with others.

In order to preserve and distribute the knowledge and skills in traditional handicrafts, European Heritage Voluntteers developed the structure of European Heritage Training Courses which are aimed at both skilled young craftsmen as well as interested amateurs without formal education, but with dedication to traditional handicrafts. The courses focus on traditional joinery and carpentry, traditional masonry, plaster techniques and others and provide knowledge in techniques which were essential in the traditional practice of these handicrafts. In some cases, they focus on very specific handicrafts such as traditional shingle making or cooperage, often with a strong regional focus. The spectrum is extended with conservation and restoration techniques, such as restoration of wooden elements, stone conservation or conservation of historic surfaces, as well as courses in heritage documentation and heritage stratography.

European Heritage Training Courses are led by experienced craftsmen with years of experience in the field, younger craftsmen with additional education in traditional techniques and certification as “Restorer in Handicraft”, certificated conservators-restorers, or architects with experience in the fielld of heritage conservation. The training courses last two weeks and combine theoretical education with practical training and a final application at endangered sites, thus contributing to their conservation, restoration and revitalisation.


Usually the courses of the spring programme (March & April) are published mid of January of the particular year, the courses of the summer & autumn programme (Juli to December) at the end of February of the particular year.

European Heritage Volunteers