Since 2005 ERIH organises annual conferences, each dealing with a current topic in the field of industrial heritage tourism.



16. ERIH Annual Conference:
Hybrid: 7/8 October 2020 at LVR Industrial Museum Altenberg Zinc Works. Oberhausen (D) and ONLINE

"Keeping the wheels turning - Succession Planning for Industrial Heritage"

The title of this year´s annual conference has a double meaning this year. We also want to keep the wheels turning and offer for the first time a hybrid format for the ERIH Annual Conference and the ERIH General Assembly.

This year’s ERIH Annual Conference tackles the topical issue of how we can protect industrial heritage by ensuring that skills and knowledge are passed on to future generations.

As usual we will present examples of good practice from different counties. In the afternoon we will online and offline work in smaller groups. Guests attending the physical conference in Oberhausen can also participate in the Welcome Reception and Excursion and dinner on the conference day. The Altenberg Zinc Works in Oberhausen where our conference will take place are undergoing a major restoration project and the colleagues will allow a look behind the scenes and explain their new concept.

Registration for the ONLINE and the PHYSICAL conference is now open. Please not that due to Covid-19 regulations we can host a maximum of 45 participants in Oberhausen. Registrations will be dealt with on a first come first serve basis.

Conference programme  

Please register online by 30th September 2020 at the latest:

Registration for ONLINE Conference
Registration for PHYSICAL Conference in Oberhausen 



Industrial Heritage is more than just industrial buildings and machinery, that is, the “tangible” remnants of industry. Industrial Heritage also includes the complex knowledge of running and maintaining machines, of numerous techniques and skills as well as of sector-specific social routines and intangible heritage. But this knowledge is in danger of being lost with the passage of time. Today heritage organisations are increasingly facing the retirement of their first generation professionals and volunteers – staff who experienced at first-hand life within these industrial communities. Against this background effective methods are needed for transferring and sharing knowledge with new staff and volunteers that engage in the field.

Most heritage institutions are facing these problems in a more or less similar ways. ERIH, as the largest European network of sites and organisations in the field of industrial heritage, has decided that its Annual Conference in 2020 will provide a platform for exchange and critical debate of experiences in the field of knowledge transfer and succession planning. The conference not only intends to explore and share innovative, successful ways of protecting and promoting industrial heritage and of dealing with generational change, but also to identify ideas of how ERIH can effectively support its sites in this field.

Invitation to speakers

ERIH invites speakers to present their experiences, methods and strategies for dealing with the preservation of site-relevant knowledge and its transfer to the next generation of staff and volunteers. We especially welcome papers from industrial heritage site practitioners, papers outlining institutional strategies of industrial heritage organisations, or project reports from academic researchers working in the field. Consideration will also be given to papers submitted by professionals and practitioners from other fields facing similar challenges (for example heritage preservation of arts and crafts; memory culture).

Possible Topics

  • Methods to document and convey technical knowledge on the operation and maintenance of historic machines
  • Methods of storing and sharing human experience and people’s stories, stories of witnesses who lived during the former operation of the sites
  • Strategies to recruit new staff and to inspire the younger generation to engage with industrial heritage
  • Exploring the potentials and pitfalls of digitalization within the field
  • Experiences with oral history methods

Questions to be addressed

  • What are the critical factors and lessons learnt for success in maintaining the technology of industry and stories of industrial society?
  • What are the resources necessary for success?
  • What would you recommend for others?
  • How can knowledge be shared, and how can ERIH help and support sites and organisations in this respect?

Interested persons should submit a precis of their paper (in English) by e-mail to the secretariat by June 22nd, 2020. This brief description of the intended presentation should not exceed 2,000 characters. A brief CV and note of relevant experience should be attached.

The ERIH Board will consider the submitted papers at its meeting at the end of June. All those who have submitted papers will be informed whether they have been selected by the end of July.



Successful industrial heritage marketing through combination with wider tourism offers

16 to 18 October 2019 ERIH Anchor Point 'German Technical Museum' in Berlin, Germany.

The growth of international tourism during the 21st century has been phenomenal and industrial heritage tourism is losing more and more its niche market image and is on its way to be recognized as a respected part of our cultural heritage. Although this is good news, the question is if industrial heritage on its own is enough for long-term attraction of visitors and for the stimulation of repeated visits? Or if linking the promotion of industrial heritage more fully with other sectors of tourism is the success factor for future tourism marketing?

Nearly 90 persons from 19 countries registered for the conference. Different speakers presented innovative and best practice examples of how the promotion of industrial heritage can be combined with other sectors of tourism. In workshops we encouraged discussions about experiences and fostered the exchange between delegates. ERIH also offered a poster session during the conference.

As in previous years the ERIH Annual Conference 2019 included the ERIH General Assembly (for ERIH members only), two evening events and excursions before and after the conference programme.

Our hosts, the Berliner Zentrum Industriekultur (bzi) and the ERIH Anchor Point Deutsches Technikmuseum (German Technical Museum), developed an exciting and interesting programme to give insights in Berlin's industrial heritage.

Conference programme
Presentations held on the conference
Photo gallery of the conference



The challenges for promoting industrial heritage in the 2020s

10 to 12 October 2018 in the ERIH Anchor Point 'Museum of Industrial Heritage' in Bologna, Italy.

Over the last 25 years European Industrial Heritage has become established as a major sector of tourism. Hundreds of millions of people visit to European industrial sites each year due to the efforts of many individuals and organisations, including ERIH

However this is no time for complacency, the promotion of industrial heritage needs to move with the times and ensure we reach out to as many people as possible. We need to show awareness of changes in European lifestyle and society in general and look forward to attracting as wide a diversity of people with as wide diversity of interests to our sites as possible. What societal changes need to be addressed? What opportunities are we presently missing? What gaps should we address in future marketing and promotion?

Please find here the
conference programme
speakers' programme
review of the conference

presentations held on the conference

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