The European Heritage Days (EHD) are a joint action of the Council of Europe and the European Commission involving all 50 signatory states of the European Cultural Convention under the motto, Europe: a common heritage. The annual programme offers opportunities to visit buildings, monuments and sites, museums and collections, many of which are not normally accessible to the public. It aims to widen access and foster care for all aspects of heritage heritage - although inn many countries there is a focus on architectural and environmental heritage.
The event began in France in 1984, with La Journée Portes Ouvertes, sponsored by the Ministry of Culture. In 1985, in Granada, at the 2nd European Conference of Ministers responsible for Architectural Heritage, the French Minister of Culture proposed that the project be internationalised under the Council of Europe. The Netherlands held their first Open Monumentendag in 1987. Sweden and the Republic of Ireland joined in 1989, and Belgium and Scotland in 1990.
In 1991 these events were united as European Heritage Days at the initiative of the Council of Europe, supported by the EU. By 2010, 50 signatory states of the European Cultural Convention had joined the EHDs.