For the first time, UNESCO headquarters opened its doors over the weekend for the European Heritage Days

20 September 2018

As the best way to preserve the heritage is to make it come alive, to make it accessible to all, and to pass it on to new generations, that this house of World Heritage would share its own exceptional heritage, and at the same time make our mission better known.

With 11,500 visitors visiting the Organizations headquarters, this first edition was a success. They discovered the headquarters building whose architectural style is unique in Paris, the result of a dialogue between three architects: the Frenchman Bernard Zehrfuss, the American Marcel Breuer, and the Italian Pier Luigi Nervi. Specifically, they had access to the Segur Hall, the gardens, Room I and the Director-General's office.

They also had access to part of the collection of more than 500 works of art by artists from around the world, regularly enriched by donations from the Organizations Member States. Part of this unique cultural treasure was presented and explained to the public, including Calders Spirale, Giacomettis The Walking Man in Hall Segur and The Fall of Icarus by Picasso.

This exceptional opening was also an opportunity for the Organization to highlight the modernity of heritage. Around twenty projects and startups - the Heritage Lab - gave the public the opportunity to discover technological and digital innovations for the preservation and promotion of heritage. For example, using drones that can reconstruct 3D plans of exceptional sites such as Mosul. It is also in this context that UNESCO, with the support of the European Union and in collaboration with National Geographic, launched the first online platform on World Heritage routes in Europe to promote sustainable tourism.

Above all, not all this would have been possible without you!

I would like to thank you very warmly for your mobilization throughout the weekend, for the pride shared by the staff of our Organization, the Permanent Delegations and our partners. I wish to warmly thank all volunteers, restaurant, security and maintenance staff, whose commitment made these days such a success.

These Heritage Days concluded an intense week for our Organization in Paris with the international meeting on the "Revive the Spirit of Mosul" initiative, the first UNESCO Partners Forum and the meeting of Directors and Heads of UNESCO offices worldwide.

I thank you once again for your remarkable commitment: this great start after the summer break shows that we can maintain and reinforce the momentum for renewing UNESCOs ambitions.

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General

protecting heritage

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