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Accessibility to Cultural Heritage

Nordic Perspectives

image of Accessibility to Cultural Heritage

Accessibility to cultural heritage is about consciousness, knowledge, creativity and balance Heritage has meaning only through its encounter with people. This report shows how accessibility questions are being addressed through practical examples drawn from across the Nordic countries. There are considerable variations in scale, ranging from the remote church on an island in Iceland to the baroque palace in the centre of Stockholm. Most of the cases have found their solutions, some permanent and others temporary, while others represent challenges that are still being worked on. It is important to make people aware of the various choices that have to be taken, especially when the solutions have negative consequences for the heritage. Physical accessibility can shadow for understanding and experience of the site or monument. Access to cultural heritage is too important for brutal and ill-timed solutions. Good and lasting solutions often need time to mature.

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Accessible heritage sites – a theoretical model from experience to insight

Our physical surroundings are a mixture of natural and cultural components that have meshed over time. Almost the entire environment is marked by human history. Stories, beliefs and tradition can be attached to mountains, valleys, rivers and water sources. In some places the heritage created by human beings can be so visually dominant or has existed for such a long time that it is impossible to think about the landscape without it. In a compressed cultural environment that has a long history of use or in a compacted urban landscape, the number of stories and layers of knowledge can be considerable. In other places, cultural heritage may be conserved beneath the surface, requiring special knowledge and insight to "see" it.

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