In the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, the Association of German Cities, the Cultural Office of the Evangelical Church of Germany, the Bonifatiuswerk of German Catholics and the German Cultural Heritage Committee jointly called on all bell owners: Let us all ring the bells at the same time all over Europe on the International Day of Peace on 21 September 2018 and create a wonderful experience of SHARING HERITAGE!
In Europe, for more than a thousand years the ringing of bells has marked the time for work, for rest and for prayer. Ringing bells gave an audible structure to religious and secular life. Bells in the towers of churches and city halls, in the belfries of cemeteries and memorial sites uniquely represent core European values in a way which can be both seen and heard. Many Europeans love the sound of bells, music without words brought forth from a centuries-old craft tradition.
This sound has existed for five millennia, going back well before the founding of Christianity. It is intercultural: Whether cathedral bells, Buddhist temple bells, Shinto shrine bells – all convey a sense of ceremony, the passage of time and transcendence beyond the bounds of language. The sound of bells, wherever it is heard, aptly expresses what we wanted to call to mind during the European Year of Culture 2018 and pass on to our children: the values of solidarity and peace, and our cultural heritage in Europe and for the world.
In 2018, we remembered the end of World War I a century ago, the beginning and end of the Thirty Years’ War (1618 to 1648), in order to never forget how precious peace is for all of us.