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Agriculture's Role as an Upholder of Cultural Heritage

Report from a Workshop

image of Agriculture's Role as an Upholder of Cultural Heritage

A substantial part of the cultural landscape and cultural heritage for many European countries is related to agriculture. Agricultural activity in some form is of vital importance in order to maintain and uphold the cultural heritage related to agriculture, however, intensive farming methods is also a major destroyer of cultural heritage. The role of agriculture as an upholder of cultural heritage was the focus of attention for a European workshop in Norway in February 2005 which brought together representatives from the public agricultural and cultural heritage sectors and researchers from The Netherlands, Austria, Estonia, England, and the Nordic countries of Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland and Norway. This report presents the status for the link agriculture - cultural heritage in these nine countries and points out some differences as well as mutual characteristics between the national contexts.

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Summary

The report presents material from a workshop addressing agriculture’s role as upholder of cultural heritage. This is part of a more general focus on agriculture’s multifunctional role brought about by the ongoing restructuring processes in European agriculture. By bringing together policy forming bodies, managers and researchers, the workshop served as an arena for exchange and discussion of policies, measures and strategies for a sustainable development of agriculture and the agricultural landscape. The workshop had a Nordic flavour by highlighting challenges for the Nordic countries. To mirror the Nordic situation, and to bring out differences as well as common challenges within the Nordic countries and in what way and to what extent these are unique for Norden, experiences from four other European countries were included: The Netherlands, Austria, Estonia and UK. The workshop was embedded in a research project (funded by the Research Council of Norway), carried out by the Centre for Rural Research (CRR, project leader) and the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU).

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