Project facts

Duration: 2017-06-01 - 2020-05-31
Project coordinator: Historic Environment Scotland
Project consortium: Historic Environment Scotland (UK), Norwegian Department for Cultural Heritage (NO), Cultural Heritage Agency of Iceland (IS), Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NO), Argyll & Bute Council (UK), Aurland kommune (NO), Environment Agency of Iceland (IS), Governor of Svalbard (NO), Icelandic Met Office (IS), Kerry County Council (IS), Museum Nord (NO), National Trust for Scotland (UK), Northern (Arctic) Federal University (RU), Swedish National Heritage Board (SE), Timespan – Helmsdale Heritage and Arts Society (UK)
Funding bodies: The Northern Periphery and Arctic 2014-2020 Programme
Subject areas: Climate Change, Conservation, Heritage Management, Preventive conservation, Sustainable development
Budget: € 380 743


Adapt Northern Heritage is concerned with adapting northern cultural heritage to the environmental impacts of climate change and associated natural hazards through community engagement and informed conservation planning. The project will develop an online tool to assess the risks for and vulnerabilities of historic places and provide guidance for the planning of strategic adaption measures that takes into account cultural, economic, environmental and social sustainability. The tool will be develop, test and demonstrated in nine case studies, in Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Scotland, for which adaptation actions plans will be produced. The project will also create a community network with a networking platform, round table workshops and training events.

"Climate change will have a direct effect on heritage sites, through physical changes in the environment that change the conservation conditions for the materials of the site. We have only seen the beginning of the physical change”, notes the 2010 report Climate Change and Cultural Heritage in the Nordic Countries. Action is urgently needed to prevent or at least minimise accelerated deterioration and loss of historic places in the northern world regions.

Due to the remoteness and geographical dispersedness, communities and authorities in Europe’s Arctic area and northern periphery and other northern world regions are finding it particularly difficult to develop the required capacities, and allocate sufficient resources, to manage their cultural heritage in ways which actively takes climate change into account. Adapt Northern Heritage will support stakeholders by helping to build capacity and providing tools that will enable communities and authorities in northern world regions to cope better with the complexities added to historic place management in times of a changing climate.

Impacts & Results

Nine historic places from across northern Europe are used in Adapt Northern Heritage as case studies. Working with local partners, these places in Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Scotland have informed the design of the project's toolkit. These tools were used to produce Adaptation Plans for some of the case studies, setting out options for adapting these historic places to the environment impacts of climate change and natural hazardsThe places selected as case studies include different forms of tangible heritage (cultural landscapes, historic buildings and non-building structures, underground remains), different locations (coastal and inland, rural or urban) and different climates (mostly Arctic, sub-Arctic and temperate Oceanic).


Cover Image "Ballinskelligs Priory - The Abbey" by Zilayah is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.