The ERIH Annual Conference has been held every year since 2005 in industrial heritage locations across Europe. The conferences each deal with a current topic of industrial heritage tourism. Participants include experts from industrial heritage sites, museums, tourism organisations, monument protection, public authorities, agencies and academia.


How industrial heritage sites accepted the pandemic challenge and survived the crisis

6 - 8 October 2021
at ERIH Anchor Point Museum of Industry. Ghent (B)

7 October 2021 Hybrid Conference at ERIH Anchor Point Museum of Industry. Ghent (B) and ONLINE
6 October 2021 ERIH General Assembly | 8 October 2021 Post Conference Tour

The topic of this year’s conference is “Resilience”. The event will explore how industrial heritage sites have survived the Covid-19 pandemic and developed interesting and imaginative ideas for ongoing development in a post-pandemic world.

Resilience is defined as “being able to recover quickly from difficulty or distress”. This year’s conference provides a timely opportunity to share experience on how sites and attractions are recovering from the impact of Covid and extended periods of closure. The conference will also explore ways to mitigate against wider and long-term impacts on the protection and promotion of our industrial heritage.


We are calling for papers on how sites can successfully rise to the challenge of the “new normal” with imaginative and effective responses which can provide inspiration for all concerned with the future of the heritage sector.

The closing date for submission of papers is Monday 26th July 2021.

Invitation to speakers    

We are inviting speakers from a wide range of backgrounds; those involved with site management, academics and indeed anyone, including volunteers, with clear ideas on how industrial heritage sites can overcome the setbacks caused by the pandemic.

Possible topics

  • Managing visitor access restrictions caused by the pandemic, including practical ways to keep visitors, staff and volunteers safe.
  • Future funding and how to maintain financial viability with reduced visitor numbers.
  • Covid-safe ways to engage with visitors and to present and protect industrial heritage, including the potential for greater use of virtual offers.
  • Raising awareness of the impact that industrial heritage tourism has had on global warming
  • Maximising the potential for cooperation between industrial heritage sites locally, nationally and internationally.

Questions to be addressed

  • Which are the most severe effects and challenges the pandemic caused at your site?
  • How did you overcome these?
    Are there long-term learnings for:
  • How can sites be funded and prosper commercially with reduced visitors and reduced income?
  • How can group tourism be safely accommodated on site?
  • What opportunity exists for increased use of virtual offers and promotion of industrial heritage?
  • Can volunteers play increased roles in site management and promotion?
  • Have working conditions developed or changed (home office, on site)?
  • Are there any other effects such as transport, sustainability, environmental protection etc. which have become more important or needed new visions?

more: Complete Call for Papers


Succession Planning for Industrial Heritage

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

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. Therefore the presentations held at the conference introduced excamples how we can protect industrial heritage by ensuring that skills and knowledge are passed on to future generations. It also provided a platform for exchange and critical debate of experiences in the field of knowledge transfer and succession planning.

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


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 
Photo gallery of the conference