Every year in September, the 50 signatory States to the European Cultural Convention take part in the European Heritage Days – a joint action of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, putting new cultural assets on view and opening up historical buildings normally closed to the public. The cultural events highlight local skills and traditions, architecture and works of art, but the broader aim is to bring citizens together in harmony even though there are differences in cultures and languages.

Each year, national and regional events are organised around a special theme. These themes vary in each country from year to year. They include such topics as:

- specific forms of heritage (e.g. farmhouses, musical instruments, culinary traditions, garden architecture);

- specific periods in history (e.g. the Medieval heritage, the Baroque heritage);

- society's approaches to heritage (e.g. heritage and citizenship, heritage and youth).

The Council of Europe and the European Commission encourage the selection of trans-national themes which can be illustrated by cross-border activities that are jointly set up by the different countries.

Since 1999, the European Heritage Days have a permanent slogan: "Europe, a common heritage".

The joint action of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, in close cooperation with the group of national coordinators ensures the success of the European Heritage Days.