On July 1, 2020, the Republic of Lithuania assumed the presidency of the Baltic Sea States Council, taking it over from Denmark, alongside with the chairmanship of the Baltic Region Heritage Committee. Lithuania dedicated its year in the capacity to pursue four achievable, practical, and visible priorities:
- sustainable development, especially in the field of developing green industry;
- green and maritime tourism as a sector of importance in revitalizing regional economy, enhancing the visibility of the region and creating employment opportunities to young people;
- civil protection in the region, strengthening the resilience against major emergencies and disasters; fighting human trafficking for labor exploitation in the region and prevention of violence against children.
Starting July 1, 2020 through July 1, 2022, the Baltic Region Heritage Committee was chaired by Alfredas Jomantas, representing the Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania. The period of the Department’s chairmanship was marked by the effort to enhance practical aspects of cooperation by sharing the best practices in the field of cultural heritage management, conservation, restoration and reuse.
During the whole year, the Committee was prevented, by the COVID-19 pandemic, from having face to face meetings, this hindrance was recompensed by more intense online events. Five online meetings were held to discuss the most important topics and to exchange information between the Committee members. All three working groups, that of Underwater Cultural Heritage (chair Salmaria Tikkanen, Finland), of Costal Heritage (chair Hannu Matikka, Finland), and of 20-Century-Architecture (chair Vaidas Petrulis, Lithuania) updated the Committee members on recent developments in their activities.
One of the projects of importance, and the outcome of three-year-cooperation effort, the Baltic Sea Region Integrated Maritime Cultural Heritage Management – the BalticRim – was completed in October 2020. The results of the project were presented at a BRHC meeting and posted on the website of the Committee.
The Committee discussed the arrangements for the coming Cultural Heritage Forum, a major event in the field of cultural heritage protection in the Baltic Region. All the working groups of the Committee were involved in the development, planning and financing of the thematic sessions for the 7th Forum of the Baltic Region Heritage Committee in Oslo on cultural heritage in a changing climate, hosted by the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage and Arts Council Norway, held in October 2021.
Given the focus of Lithuania’s chairmanship of BRHC on practical cooperation in the field of cultural heritage restoration or reuse, the Committee decided to build a gallery featuring the most successful restoration or reuse instances in the Baltic Region. At the same time, this gallery would demonstrate the variety of the nature of objects, and the diversity of technologies, approaches and solutions. The members of the Committee were invited to identify one outstanding example in their respective country, which they considered the most enlightening, maybe eye-opening and inspiring to professionals and stakeholders of heritage protection.
For the time being, we extend gratitude to all Committee members and their collaborators for their dedicated efforts in selecting monuments, composing texts and collecting photographs for this gallery. We have high hopes for positive response to the gallery, and the continuation of the exercise for the next couple of years.