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Still in the footsteps

The certification of the European Network “In the Footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson” as a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe has been renewed.

Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde -and many other lesser known but nonetheless fascinating texts- was also an indefatigable walker and great traveller. From the North of Scotland to the Pacific Islands where his life ended, in the places that he crossed were it on foot, in a canoe, with a donkey or on a boat, communities and organisations dedicate themselves to drawing attention to his memory and his work and promoting the human values he advocated.

In 2013, organisations from various parts of Europe, Edinburgh, The Scottish Highlands, Lothian Region, Bristol, the canals of Belgium and Northern France from Brussels to Pontoise, Fontainebleau and The Cevennes –places where RL Stevenson had lived or travelled through- all gathered together to create the European network “In the Footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson”. In April 2015, this network received the European accreditation “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” within a programme launched in 1987 by the Council of Europe with the Declaration of Santiago de Compostela. In 2018 there were 33 certified itineraries, each of them crossing at least three different European countries.

This certification which has to be re-assessed every three years is a guarantee of excellence and of the implementation of meaningful activities and innovative projects focusing on five priority domains: cooperation in research and development, emphasis on European memory, history and heritage, educational and cultural exchanges for young Europeans, contemporary culture and artistic practice as well as cultural tourism and sustainable development. While gaining this accreditation showed the appropriateness of this project and the enthusiasm of the team supporting it, seeing it renewed is a testimony to its successful implementation and development.

Since 2013 member organisations of the Stevenson network have developed a significant number of activities and Germany (the city of Bad Homburg) has joined the four founding countries (Scotland, England, Belgium and France). At the end of the demanding evaluation process the Council of Europe has recently decided to renew for three years the accreditation of the network “In the Footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson” as a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe.

The Stevenson network is thus strengthened and encouraged to continue their common projects aimed at young people, professionals of cultural and heritage tourism, artists, librarians and people from the literary world, researchers and academics, involving all members and partners, associations as well as local and regional communities. Forthcoming events are a literature and poetry festival to take place in Bad Homburg in June this year, a literary tour from Le-Puy-en-Velay to Alès-en-Cévennes (South of France) in June 2020 and a cultural event to take place in Bristol in 2021 in memory of the history of the slave-trade in Europe and of the abolition of slavery.

In the Footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson:

Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe :

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