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A Special Heritage Lottery: The Signing of an Agreement Between the French Ministry of Culture and the French Heritage Foundation

February 27, 2018 Visit Europe No Comments Email Email

On Tuesday, February 13, 2018; Emmanuel Macron – President of the French Republic hosted the signing of an unprecedented agreement between the French Ministry of Culture, represented by Minister Francoise Nyssen and the French Heritage Foundation (Fondation du Patrimoine) represented by its president, Guillaume Poitrinal, relative to the use of government funds that will be generated by a new lottery known as the Heritage Lotto. Signatories also included Stéphane Bern (popular history & heritage Radio and TV show host) and Stéphane Pallez, CEO of “Française des Jeux,” France’s national lottery authority.

Last September, the French President enlisted Stephane Bern’s assistance in identifying and listing France’s imperiled architectural heritage and help find novel ways to finance their restoration. One of these solutions was to create a new lottery, which was voted into law on December 28, 2017.

In the next three years or more, the drawing of the Heritage Lotto will take place during the European Heritage Days and proceeds will go to the French Heritage Foundation and will be earmarked for the restoration of architectural treasures throughout France. The inaugural drawing will be on Friday, September 14, 2018 one day before the European Heritage Days (Journées Européennes du Patrimoine) to be held September 14 and 15, 2018. A scratch-off game will also be offered.

For its first year, the proceeds from the lotto will subsidize the restoration projects for approximately 100 public and private imperiled monuments, castles or manors throughout France. Other fundraising initiatives will include crowd funding campaigns that will support the restoration of 14 emblematic edifices in each region.

Stephane Bern will head the committee that will select among the 1800 restoration projects inventoried by the French Heritage Foundation and by the French Ministry of Culture that will receive financial aid from the special fund. Applications for funding are taken online by the Ministry of Culture and assessed by both organizations. The projects are both public and private and will represent the diversity and historical periods of France’s architectural heritage: rural, residential, religious, industrial, funereal, military, relating to gardens and public areas.

The selection criteria will be:

  • Cultural and historical significance
  • Urgency of the restoration due to state of the edifice
  • Creating a geographic balance all in giving preference to rural and smaller towns to revitalize those areas
  • Support projects to showcase the edifice or its new use and the economic benefits expected, especially in the realm of local tourism development

The French National Lottery estimates that the Heritage lotto will raise between 15 and 20 million Euros. Additional funding managed by the French Heritage Foundation will include corporate sponsoring and crowd funding.

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