28 C O N T E X T 1 5 7 : N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 8 Germany or the clifftop in Barmouth that became the first property donated to the National Trust in 1895, were profoundly shaped by transna- tional networks (Swenson, 2013, 2015, 2016). There is a need for researching, displaying and discussing these connections to enrich the understanding of particular sites and refute lopsided nationalist visions.We must further ask what was the impact of transnational connec- tions for ideas about identity within and beyond national borders? Which ones lead to peace, which to war, and which were perhaps simply taken for granted and not seen in relation to identity politics at all? Finally, as a third step, and the one that matters here, how can this history be used to inform practice? What appears across case studies is a peri- odisation in which strong professional links and incantation of the peace-bringing capacities of heritage were repeatedly built, severed and then revived. Having dominated the late 19th century, they became one of the first casualties of the first world war, were resurrected as soon as post-war rebuilding began and even more so after the second world war.The quick disappear- ance of apparently strong links and ideas teaches us that emphasising the peace-bringing nature of heritage alone does not achieve anything. It should not be reduced to empty rheto- ric, however. The mobilisation (and re-use) of the idea in post-conflict situations, and the rediscovery of transnational links in historic building preservation that went with it, shows that the history of conservation itself offered an important narrative to re-imagine a community if there is an underlying desire for reconciliation. Perhaps a starting point can be to tell these stories with all their fractures and contradictions. References Council of the European Union (2016) Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 , http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ ST-14385-2016-INIT/en/pdf. Europa Nostra (2005), Philosophy , http://www.europanostra.org/ lang_en/index.html European Commission (2017), Special Eurobarometer 466: cultural heritage , Report, http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/ index.cfm/Survey/getSurveyDetail/instruments/SPECIAL/ surveyKy/2150 European Parliament (2018) Briefing: ‘Cultural Heritage in EU Politics’, www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2018/621876/ EPRS_BRI(2018)621876_EN.pdf Falser, M and W Lipp eds (2015) A Future for Our Past: the 40th anniversary of European Architectural Heritage Year (1975-2015) , Bäßler, Berlin IPSOS (2007), ‘Une majorité d’Européens considère que l’Europe est une change pour leur patrimoine’, www.ipsos.fr/CanalIpsos/ articles/2103.asp, 19 March 2007 Swenson, A (2013) The Rise of Heritage: preserving the past in France, Germany and England, 1789-1914 , Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Swenson, A (2015) ‘Cologne Cathedral as an international monument’ in Rüger, J and Wachsmann, N, eds, Rewriting German History: new perspectives on modern Germany , Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke Swenson, A (2016) ‘The first heritage international(s): conceptualising global networks before Unesco’, Future Anterior: Journal of Historic Preservation, History, Theory, and Criticism , 13 (1) Astrid Swenson is professor of history at Bath Spa University. The first area of land donated to the National Trust was in 1895 at Barmouth (Photo: Tanya Dedyukhina, Wikimedia Commons)