200+ museum and cultural heritage professionals from 38 different countries got a deep dive into museums' contribution to a better future at NEMO's European Museum Conference 2019. From 7-10 November, we inspired museums to lead the way and become key players in creating a sustainable and equitable future and planet. It is time for museums to step it up and dare to take action.

The conference illustrated how museums can do so by incorporating the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in their work. The conference showed that museums are excellent key players and that they should be recognized and supported by EU policy makers for their work contributing to a sustainable future. Museums also make great partners for making the SDGs accessible since they already are familiar with translating processes of change and communicating concepts from global to local level in an understandable way.

Four people sitting down are discussing something and smiling.   © Image: Arp Karm
Woman standing behind a podium while giving a presentation is holding her hands up as if she is asking a question.  © Image: Arp Karm
Three people are sitting in arm chairs on a stage and are discussing something.   © Image: Arp Karm
A museum guide points at something outside the picture and explains it.   © Image: Arp Karm
Auditorium full of people looking at two people on the stage. A sign shows that they are discussing EU culture policy.   © Image: Arp Karm
People are sitting down around round dinner tables. They are clapping their hand.   © Image: Arp Karm
A person sitting in an audience uses a microphone to ask a question.   © Image: Berta Jänes
Someone leaning over a table is explaining something to a group of people sitting around it.   © Image: Berta Jänes

Even the smallest of change can help to contribute to sustainable development. We can all be part of creating a better future by:

Leading the way

Set an example by for instance paying the workforce adequately, by employing refugees, by providing spaces for encounter, dialogue and interaction.

Supporting others

For example by inviting and collaborating with local companies, craftspeople or designers that also work with the SDGs to the museum.

Changing internally

To quote Jasper Visser; “walking the walk by talking the talk”. If we promote our audiences to be sustainable, we have to do the same in our organisations.


At the conference, we launched the global museum climate campaign #MuseumsforFuture. The campaign represents a movement of museum workers and offers low-threshold actions that museums can do to support climate strikes and to become more environmentally friendly. It is time to put museums’ potential into action and NEMO encourages the museum community to join and show its support for a sustainable world.

Join the community and create a better future

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