Establishment of the European Federation for Architectural Heritage Skills 

An international non-profit-making association

Abbreviated to: FEMP AISBL

This federation, which aims to carry on the work of the European Foundation for Heritage Skills, is an initiative of the Institut du Patrimoine Wallon (Paix-Dieu Heritage Skills Centre), Belgium, and the Ecole d’Avignon, France. 

The Institut du Patrimoine Wallon and its Heritage Skills Centre, which stands on the site of the former Paix-Dieu Cistercian abbey in Amay, have been engaged since 1999 in the fundamental work of preserving and transmitting know-how in the architectural heritage field. The various awareness-raising, training and information activities organised there are aimed at a broad and diverse target group, ranging from the very young to those with highly specialised interests.

On 12 January 2012, eight European training centres (Paix-Dieu Heritage Skills Centre (Belgium), Ecole d’Avignon, (France), Villa Fabris - Centro Europeo per i Mestieri del Patrimonio, Thiene (Italy), Transylvania Trust, Cluj (Romania), Conservation, Regeneration & Community Development across the North East, Cumbria & North Yorkshire (NECT) (United Kingdom), National Heritage Training Group (United Kingdom), Centro Albayzin (Spain), and Zentrum für Restaurierung und Denkmalpflege, Herrstein (Germany)) met at the Paix-Dieu Heritage Skills Centre to found an international non-profit association: “European Foundation for Architectural Heritage Skills” (short title: “FEMP AISBL”). The new body reflects the perspectives and ensures continuity of the earlier initiatives by the Council of Europe and its European network on heritage skills to encourage the transmission of skills. 

The aim of the association is to support and develop traditional know-how and skills involved in heritage crafts and professions.  

To achieve this aim, the association implements all or some of the following activities, bearing in mind that the following list is non-exhaustive: 

  1. action to secure recognition for traditional know-how and skills related to the conservation and restoration of the architectural heritage; 
  2. networking of the different training centres competent in the field of architectural heritage skills, to harmonise practices and facilitate exchanges of knowledge and skills; 
  3. creation of a platform for discussion and information exchange between the players concerned, thanks to the use of appropriate multilingual terminology; 
  4. acting as an interlocutor to define common objectives and as a monitoring and advisory body for all questions relating to the protection, management and promotion of heritage skills in Europe; 
  5. producing publications, organising conferences, meetings and events, and providing training in the field of architectural heritage skills, or encouraging such initiatives; 
  6. producing and managing joint databases and systems; 
  7. assisting free movement of services provided by heritage professionals; 
  8. developing and updating technological tools for carrying out the association’s activities. 


The association’s activities are not for profit and may be carried out anywhere in the world.