Heritage in European coastal landscapes-Four reasons for inter-regional knowledge exchange

Linde Egberts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Heritage in coastal landscapes confronts preservationists, spatial planners, policymakers, and politicians with distinctive challenges. Coastal landscapes in all their varieties share common features because humans have interacted in similar ways with their environments on the edge of land and sea, including coastal defence, fishing, shipping, mussel farming, harvesting salt, swimming, boating, and using the beach as a tourist attraction. Coastal communities and societies are historically interconnected with each other and are more like each other than their respective inland societies in language, customs, ways of life, ways of building, and heritage. Moreover, they have a distinctive cultural and spiritual relationship with the sea. Cultural heritage and its management in coastal landscapes can vary greatly from one area to the next, but throughout Europe several key issues and challenges recur. In this chapter, I argue that coastal regions in Europe could manage their heritage resources more efficiently by exchanging expertise and experience. I address the importance of taking each site’s regional, spatial, and historical characteristics into account, while not losing sight of their many contemporary economic, social, cultural, and ecological challenges. I address four of these issues: Interconnected cultural frontiers; the common challenges of coast-specific heritage; the threats and opportunities of coastal tourism; and the effects of ecological changes on cultural heritage. Each of them is illustrated by an example from one of the European coastal regions. Finally, I consider the roles that coastal heritage plays in the historiography of regions and nations, and how that affects the ways in which the coastal past is remembered, preserved and redeveloped.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdaptive Strategies for Water Heritage
Subtitle of host publicationPast, Present and Future
EditorsCarola Hein
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783030002688
ISBN (Print)9783030002671
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Coastal landscapes
  • Cultural heritage
  • Europe
  • Knowledge exchange
  • Regional governance


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