ANIH Bulletin: ERIH, Industrial Heritage and European Identity

"The Creative Force of Industrial Heritage: Art, Innovation, and Space-making“ is the theme of the current issue of ANIH (Asian Network of Industrial Heritage) Bulletin, in line with TICCIH 2022's vision of re-examining industrial heritage and promoting innovative regeneration. In this context, Hildebrand de Boer, ERIH board member, acknowledges ERIH's role as a pacemaker of an industrial heritage tourism scheme dedicated to pan-European identity.

The very fact that the ERIH website presents more than 2,000 industrial monuments and museums in all European countries is proof of the lasting impact of 200 years of Industrial Revolution. Accordingly, the development of industrial society and the resulting industrial culture are a fundamental part of Europe's self-perception. Towards the end of the 20th century, this resulted in a growing interest in industrial heritage and its significance for European identity as a source of pride for entire regions.

The question is, as the author puts it, whether industrial culture, with its cross-border implications and identity-determining influences, can continue to contribute to common strength and cooperation in Europe. Will the industrial society 4.0 be able to direct the necessary, renewed appreciation of the European continent as a unity in its diversity? If so, industrial heritage will play a major role in it.

Over the past twenty years, former industrial sites have often become symbols of change and have adapted to new uses. Moreover, many of the ‘cathedrals of work’ across Europe have become major attractions of cultural tourism, attracting millions of visitors a year. This demonstrates that industrial heritage tourism is no longer a niche market but has grown into a significant tourism sector, not least thanks to the ERIH network.

ANIH 6th Bulletin June 2021