Country coordinators

Interpret Europe’s country coordinators take responsibility for the development of heritage interpretation and of Interpret Europe in single European countries. At present there are 16 country coordinators leading their own teams:

Dorina Xheraj-Subashi

Country Coordinator Albania

After finishing my bachelor’s degree at Bologna University, I came back to my home country, Albania, where I continued my study in Archaeology (Master of Science) and, years later, earned a PhD in Museology. During this period, I was employed as a lecturer of Cultural Heritage and Albanian Museology at Aleksander Moisiu University, where I still work and share my experiences with my students. I love teaching and giving students the best examples of heritage interpretation, not only because they need to acquire knowledge on their tourism studies, but because they should understand that heritage needs different skills applied to several contexts.

In November 2017, I initiated a cultural activity called “My Heritage-Heritage4All”, focused on the past heritage of everyday life and its presentation in an academic environment, such as a university. It was the first step where the students were at the core of it with their personal heritage objects, preserved in their houses for decades or almost a century. This initiative helped to involve people and create a cultural environment followed by dialogue and shared personal stories and memories of the objects, as well as by performed skills.

I hope to combine both academic studies and professional experiences from other IE members, to better contribute to interpreting heritage in academic curricula, freelancer guides and interpreters in Albania.


Laila De Bruyne

Country Coordinator Belgium

We believe that heritage interpretation enriches people personally, affects our society in a positive way and fosters a love for heritage that results in everyone taking greater responsibility for ensuring heritage thrives for future generations.

After I finished my master’s in history and master’s in cultural management in 2010, I worked at the university of Antwerp as an educational assistant. During my full-time job, I achieved my educational diploma which gave me the skills and knowledge to give young people the opportunity to learn about history. But I wasn’t convinced the classroom was the only or the perfect environment to learn. I changed jobs and started to explore the heritage sector from the inside.

Stories about places, buildings and objects had fascinated me throughout my whole life and so I was thrilled to use my enthusiasm and experience at The National Trust of Flanders, Herita. During those years I sharpened my project management skills through being involved in all kind of projects: from heritage event coordination and supporting heritage educational projects to the creation of knowledge-sharing products like videos, articles, websites and (international) conferences on heritage. In this period, I got to know Interpret Europe very well because I was Conference Manager for IE’s conference in Mechelen in 2016. A whole new perspective on informal learning and on the profession of ‘heritage interpretation’ opened up for me and has held me ever since.

Also, during this period, there occurred the most important thing that changed my view on society and the role of culture in it. Together with my best friend, I founded Allez, Chantez!, which is a movement to let people sing together and build stronger communities. A journey of searching how to create an impact on society through singing communities started then. My view on how participation, co-creation and taking ownership are strong tools to give people the power to discover themselves, make connections and contribute to a warm and mutually supportive society all became visible, tangible and meaningful to me. In all the projects we do, we place the people of a community in the centre and use a bottom-up approach. This is the way I want to build stronger communities in society, through accessible cultural initiatives like singing (because everybody can use their voices) and through heritage. Because I believe heritage, and places you connect with, have the power to bring people together and shape warm communities. Two passions combined in this way.

After a period of internal focus, becoming a mother of two beautiful and inspiring kids, I felt I wanted to spread my wings and follow my heart. I recently started my freelance career and plan to deal with (heritage and singing) community building projects and heritage interpretation in reusing projects. After some years working as a volunteer, I am now working as a freelance contractor on the project. As a member of the board of Madeleine vzw, the legal headquarters of Allez, Chantez!, my business partner Annelore Camps and I share our knowledge on cultural entrepreneurship and community building in the cultural sector in Flanders.

I feel as a freelancer I can combine my two passions: heritage and community building. I am ready and convinced that contributing to projects which give natural and cultural heritage a deeper meaning is how I can serve society and how I can build stronger communities.


Edo Mešić

Country Coordinator Bosnia and Herzegovina

I lead a group of professionals from various scientific fields involved in the interpretation of natural and cultural heritage in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We organise capacity building for the promotion of heritage in our country, through the organisation of workshops, presentations, courses, training, and projects.

I live in Sarajevo and studied archeology at the Faculty of Philosophy, and art, at the University of Sarajevo where I got my BA and master’s diploma. I received a BiHERIT Tempus scholarship, financed by the EU with the aim of reforming the heritage sciences in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This led to a student exchange at the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana.

From July 2016 until December 2017, I worked as a volunteer in the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the pedagogical department, and as a museum guide in the archeological department. Together with my fellow students, I am coauthor of an exhibition dedicated to the famous Bosnian archeologist, Đuro Basler. During my studies, I was involved in numerous archeological work on national protected sites, which took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Slovenia. I was also involved with the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina on promoting 2013’s International day of Archeology in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Manuela Hrvatin

Country Coordinator Croatia

As far back as I remember, I have been intrigued by storytelling, searching for curious tales and peculiarities from my surroundings and finding ways to present them. It’s no surprise that a big part of my professional career is closely related to heritage interpretation. I have a vast experience in managing creative projects that bring heritage closer to people. My big passion is heritage interpretation in the field of cultural tourism where I’ve worked as a content creator, and project and team manager.

I am one of the first of Interpret Europe’s certified interpretive guides in Croatia and I find that education related to heritage interpretation is one of the top priorities of all the destinations that aim for sustainable tourism development. Some of my personal goals include implementation of skills related to heritage interpretation as educational standards and creating a support network for projects and organisations connected to heritage interpretation in my home country and beyond.

I have always been interested in my beloved region/peninsula, Istria. Besides its natural beauty, Istria has a rich cultural material and intangible heritage. When I was a student at the University in Trieste (Italy) – in the Facoltà di scienze della Formazione, Lingue e Letterature Straniere, I was active member of AEGEE (the European Students’ organisation of United Europe) and I went on an exchange in the Eurodyssee program in Switzerland. By this method, I gained many useful experiences in European relations and cooperation so I took over the co-ordination of the exchange.

Furthermore, I completed my postgraduate studies at the European Institute for European Studies in Rome (Italy) and received the designation of European Integration Master. Moreover, I attended many training sessions in Strasbourg, Luxembourg, Brussels and Vienna (and all over the EU) to promote and strengthen European integration.

I gained experience in the Region of Istria as a coordinator of INTERREG projects from 2002 to 2010, especially in the INTERREG CBC (SLOVENIA / ITALY – CROATIA) initiative. I was a senior consultant for International Co-operation and EU Affairs from 2010 to 2013 and the leader and initiator of the ISTRA INSPIRIT project (cultural and experience tourism) from 2012 to 2016.

Since 2016 until now, I have worked for the Istra Inspirit Association as a coordinator for the living history of the project KulTERRA (ERDF) – revitalization of the Istrian castles. At the same time, I worked in the Vrsar Municipality as a consultant for EU projects and I was the project manager for ENJOYHERITAGE (INTERREG V) – a network of cultural and natural heritage for two countries.

As of June 2019, I have been the coordinator for the Istra Inspirit Association on the Heritage Mines /Rudnici baštine (ESF) project, whose goal is to verify a new profession called Certified Interpreter. I am also part of the team for implementation of the project called ORCA (ERDF) – for the public institution of Kamenjak (Medulin) – managment of the protected natural values.

As I gain my knowledge and experience, my mission is always to transmit the passion and love about regional and local identity and heritage and help finance it from EU funds. That is why I volunteer a lot for MENDULA (NGO) in Medulin (the section for the preservation of history and heritage) and I still lead the Practice for Interpretation of Cultural Heritage on the Culture and Tourism studies course at the University of Juraj Dobrila in Pula. I also teach on the postgraduate specialist study ‘Adapting to the European Union: Project Management and EU Fundraising Program’ at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Zagreb.

As country coordinator for Croatia, I will combine my academic knowledge and professional experience with other participants so that we all can contribute to the interpretation of heritage and its preservation.


Barbora Dvořáková

Country Coordinator Czech Republic

Together with my team we do our best to connect places and topics with what people love and care about. That is why we organise training, promote Interpret Europe and show best practices in interpretation.

I graduated in environmental science at Charles University in Prague. During my studies, I worked for an NGO focused on environmental education and developed my passion for new approaches and methods in education. I was lucky to attend several scholarships and training events abroad.

I also spent one year in educational institutions in the UK. This included Bristol Zoo, which is one of the most exciting places ever especially when playing with a lonely lemur is part of your job! That was also when my ‘interpretation journey’ begin as I was really inspired by heritage interpretation in the UK.

In my job in the Centre for Modern Education (a Czech-based educational company) I was responsible for managing educational projects with key partners and big European projects. I created e-learning, educational games, materials and exhibitions that inspired thousands of people (including the educational content for an award-winning exhibition The story of Planet Earth in the Czech National Museum).

Currently I am working partly as the local coordinator of the international Ecoschool project and as a freelancer in the field of interpretation. Despite being Czech, I do not like beer, but I love good wine and coffee (and I am very excited about Brno’s great coffee scene!).

I am very excited to be part of the IE country coordinators team as I feel there is so much work to be done in our country. As Terry Pratchett said: “People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it’s the other way around.”


Árpád Bőczén

Country Coordinator Hungary

We help the national heritage sector with training, conferences, publications and consultancy to understand a deeper meaning of interpretation and apply its methodologies in practice. 

As an architect and cultural heritage manager, I have always been very interested in the human – and especially the socio-cultural – aspects of my professional work. Encouraging people and communities to take an active part in shaping their environment and living spaces whilst developing existing heritage based on value has played a significant role in my practice. Building spaces and structures is equally important for me as building communities. I started dealing with interpretation because I felt that this field can have a similar, or even stronger impact on the consciousness of people’s actions and behaviours in spaces they use. The language of a place to interpret is very similar to the genius loci architects always try tograsp . After years of learning in practice how to achieve both, I felt that I needed more of my own experience but also thoughts shared by others. However, the opportunities for professional discussions, debates and exchanges in heritage interpretation are very limited in Hungary. Therefore, as the president of the Hungarian Association of Cultural Heritage Managers (KÖME), I applied for IE membership in 2013.

In KÖME, we consider heritage interpretation to be a very important part of heritage management, if not its main purpose. Therefore, we consider it crucial to organise programmes and to create communication channels that help reveal, explain and give value to our common heritage.

Besides this, our aim is to create and maintain domestic and international platforms which help experts of various domains – engaged in the research, preservation, social utilisation, protection and distribution of the broadly defined cultural heritage – to meet each other, to learn, find partners, share ideas and realise their own projects in accordance with the association’s objectives.

As interpretation is a field that concerns most of the heritage related professions, the association intends to play an important role in representing and promoting this approach in Hungary. KÖME also aims to foster the establishment of a regional group within the Interpret Europe network, strengthen collaboration and develop specific agendas relevant to Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).


Vanessa Vaio

Country Coordinator Italy

I was born in Genova, Italy, in 1968 and I’m a compulsive learner. Since gaining my Natural Science degree at the University of Pavia in 1994, I have never stopped studying and acquiring new competences from garden and landscape planning and management to heritage interpretation and interpretive planning, and more recently in cultural marketing and planning.

I’ve been working mainly in promoting scientific and cultural awareness and in disseminating cultural expression in various fields. I worked first with WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and in 1999 I founded and directed an association for scientific and environmental education called Proteus. We worked with Italian and Ticino (Switzerland) public institutions to reveal the results of their scientific studies.

I’m full of ideas and highly creative, I love team work and figuring out how people who are very different can work together productively.

In 2009, I founded Studio PAN, a consultancy hub of experts that offers technical support to private and public entities, mainly historical gardens and villas. Our team consists of multidisciplinary experts whose creative work leads to a customized interpretive master planning of heritage sites, design of interpretive programmes, services and means. I’m also a trainer, probably the activity I like the most. I inspire individuals, guides, museum educators and teachers because I am intrigued with the unique qualities of each person.


Kaltrina Thaçi

Country Coordinator Kosovo

I am a cultural heritage expert with an architectural conservation background gained in London. I also have a diverse experience in various projects of conservation, restoration, adaption, management and interpretation of archaeological sites, listed buildings and historic houses. In addition, I am very experienced in preparing conservation plans for historic areas as well as for museums, as I have been engaged in such projects lately. My attention to providing physical and content access to disabled people, and fire and health safety provision for the community, ensures that every project I work on is done to the highest possible standard.

I have been working with the organisation called Cultural Heritage without Borders Kosovo since January 2012. I have drafted the conservation, interpretation and management plans for the Castle and the Hammam in Vushtrri as well as for Prizren Fortress. In addition, I have coordinated the conservation plan for Vushtrri Historic Center, Prince Claus Fund emergency intervention projects and the emergency programme implemented in 50 buildings in Kosovo. I have worked in the interpretation of the Museum in Gjilan and Dragash, the regeneration of a historic street in Prishtina and I am currently managing the research and publications platform at CHwB Kosova. I also work as a cultural heritage guide for a Catun tour operator.

I graduated at the University of Prishtina, in the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture, in 2009 and then completed postgraduate studies in 2011 at Kingston University London, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture; I  was awarded an MSc with merit in Historic Building Conservation. Prior to working at CHwB Kosovo, I was a freelance architect with nine years of experience in architectural design and I also worked at the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning in the permits sector. I am a PhD candidate at the Technical University of Vienna as well as an active member of ICOMOS.


Bojana Sekulić

Country Coordinator Montenegro

With my team we work on promoting and establishing heritage interpretation on a national level. 

I graduated from the Faculty of Economics in Podgorica in 1998 and after my studies I did various office jobs. However, the value of tourism that I discovered during my two-year experience in one tourist agency inspired my efforts to continue my tourism story.

From 2011 to 2016, I was engaged as a Project Coordinator on numerous projects in the tourism industry. The results of these successfully-accomplished, cross-border projects are regional thematic trails and new tourism products such as the Via Dinarica, Shkoder / Skadar Lake Ethno-gastronomic Route and Honey Routes through Durmitor and Herzegovina. These activities were funded by the European Union within the IPA CBC Programmes.

Then, as a tourism development expert, I was engaged by several NGOs, local and national authorities, to develop the feasibility studies and strategies of some national and cross-border destinations – the Cijevna River (2014), Šasko Lake (2015) and the regional initiative Tur.Grate2 (2014). In addition, I was a member of the expert team engaged in the action to develop the projects of setting up thematic trails in national parks in Montenegro (2015).

I am now working as a hiking guide licensed by the Montenegrin Mountaineering Association. Through creating and leading hiking tours, I present my country – its nature, people, their lifestyle, gastronomy, products, history, culture and tradition. At the same time, I support local people to earn from tourism as well as from agriculture, and make sure that tourists from all over the world have a great experience. In that way I contribute to the sustainability of the projects I was engaged in.

My enthusiasm to develop an integrated approuch to heritage is the main reason for my interest in the initiatives that diversify and promote tourism products of Montenegro as well as improving regional cooperation. Having this in mind, I believe the Interpret Europe network is a force for good in giving a new dimension to the understanding of natural and cultural heritage and contributing to sustainable development.


Nada Andonovska

Country Coordinator North Macedonia

With my team we work on promoting and establishing heritage interpretation on a national level.

My first encounter with alternative presentation and interpretation of heritage was in 1995 during the General Conference of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) held in Stavanger, Norway. The video of costumed characters telling a story to kids in a museum made a lasting impression on me. I believe that was the moment when I set my personal mission to persue alternative ways of interpreting heritage. In 1997 I presented the paper, “New Methods and Devices in Presentation and Interpretation of Museum Materials”, at the Annual Conference of the Macedonian National Committee of the International Council of Museums and it was published in the journal Museologica Macedonica.

In the past few years my interest slightly shifted to the field of intangible heritage, especially to its links with the identity of its bearers. Having wished to contribute to the research in this domain of heritage in a scholarly and scientific manner, I got enrolled at the Postgraduate Cultural Studies of the Institute of Macedonian Literature in Skopje. I am currently working on my master thesis, “Intangible Cultural Heritage in Macedonia and in International Frames”.

Contact with the mission of Interpret Europe brought me back on track. My desire for conveying the value and meaning of heritage to other people was re-ignited after being acquainted with the interpretive approach in communicating it. So, the CIG and CIT courses revealed to me the ingenious methodology and techniques of implementing this approach. Although I might not have a chance to apply them in guiding of visitors, I believe I could make a difference transferring them by training other people. As IE Country Coordinator, I hope to successfully disseminate the interpretive approach to presenting cultural and natural heritage.


Kristian Bjørnstad

Country Coordinator Norway

With my team we work on promoting and establishing heritage interpretation on a national level. 

My educational background is in Human Ecology and Education, specialising in sustainable development and regional parks. I hold Master’s degrees from Lund University in Sweden and Florida State University in the United States. At present I am attached to the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

Intending to research the emerging regional parks in Norway ten years ago, I instead became active in the regional parks movement. Since then I have been involved in establishing the Norwegian Parks Association and am now the Secretariat Director for this small but growing organisation. I am also building links between regional-nature parks in the Nordic countries and the rest of Europe.

I became interested in heritage interpretation through planning work in the Nærøyfjord World Heritage Park on the west coast of Norway. I am especially interested in how heritage interpretation can be used in parks and protected areas to connect people with place and to create good visitor experiences.

In 2016 I participated in Interpret Europe`s CIG course and the CIG trainer course. I am looking forward to increasing the interest for interpretation in Norway and the Nordic countries.  With Swedish partners, I am organising the first Scandinavian CIG course and launching a project on forest interpretation.


Carla Silva

Country Coordinator Portugal

I lead a team with a mixed background in heritage, education and tourism. We aim to help and bring together Portuguese professionals with the same interests, promote the IE training programme and we are looking forward to developing partnerships in heritage interpretation, sustainable tourism and in organising national or regional events.

I was born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1975. I lived there with my father from an inland rural village in mainland Portugal and a mother from an island of the Azores which are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. I spent all my childhood enjoying incredible vacations going back and forward to my father’s village and my mother’s island.

I studied applied biology in the Faculty of Sciences of Lisbon University. I finished my degree working at the Oceanography Department of the Azores University in 1999, when I chose to live on Faial Island. In 2000, I switched happily from marine research to tourism and, for a couple of years, worked with whale-watching companies on Pico and Faial islands. I then decided to pursue the field of education, and went for a degree in teaching  biology and geology, again at Lisbon University, which I finished in 2005. By September 2005, I had started working on Pico Island with the regional environmental NGO, Os Montanheiros, which is dedicated to caves management and natural heritage awareness. With them, I coordinated their services in environmental education on Pico Island (called Ecoteca do Pico). I worked with several international projects and in more local ones, such as the awareness of local schools about the 2004 World Heritage designation by UNESCO of the Vineyard Culture Landscape of Pico Island.

In 2008 I obtained a post–graduate in nature conservation management at the Azores University.

In 2011, I was invited to be the Coordinator of the Environmental Education Department for the newly-created public company for nature conservation management on the nine island natural parks of the Azores where I worked until 2014. I then started working directly for the Azores Government, in the Services for Nature Conservation and Environmental Awareness, based on Pico Island. Here I became even more interested in heritage interpretation as I started being a trainer for the courses of Azores Natural Parks Guides, which I have done since their first course in 2015.

I am the co-author of the book A história do Zeca Garro, a children’s book where the main character is a Cory’s Shearwater, a protected migratory marine bird species.

Since 2012 I have been a volunteer member of the educational staff of the Azores Geopark, a UNESCO Global Geopark and also of the NGO Os Montanheiros, where I have been the president of the Pico group since 2017. In both, I focus on geo-education for schools and for tourist companies.

I love communicating, teaching and helping people to create connections between nature and local culture.

I am always looking to improve myself and learn new tools and this was how I found Interpret Europe.

As an IE Country Coordinator, I am very excited to find new members for our network and to help in spreading the message of this great approach using first-hand experiences for visitors and finding deeper meanings in heritage.


Eliza Marin

Country Coordinator Romania


I was born in 1991 and studied at the University of Bucharest, receiving a degree, in 2009, in European Studies. I concluded my academic development with a master’s degree in World Heritage Studies. Because of my new study programme, I emigrated first to Germany, in 2013, where I trained and researched for a short period before spending longer in Turkey, Albania, and Finland before I settled back home.

Through my training, I have had first-hand experience in researching the identification, assessment and management of diverse heritage sites in Europe. For example, I drafted a financial plan for Suomenlinna World Heritage site, researched the nomination of Rosia Montana on the UNESCO InDanger list as a cultural landscape and examined the expansion of the ancient and primeval beech forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe.

As an emerging World Heritage professional, I have had the chance to collaborate with institutions that deal with both legislation and research of heritage. The resulting understanding has steered my decision to dedicate the final stage of my second academic degree to studying biodiversity protection through ecotourism and agroforestry in a protected area for my master’s thesis.

Considerable exposure to rural agricultural practices in Romania has given me a valuable insight into assessing the genotypes of crops and animals and ecological conditions, and understanding the local management of ecosystems. This was informed by values-based and people-centred approaches which I consider extremely relevant and applicable to the sustainability debate.

My latest activities as a speaker are delivering workshops on heritage activism within Balkan organizations and facilitating conferences on heritage at the European Council. Today, I offer independent consultancy and research in the field of heritage management.

Why interpretation, you might ask?

I had my first encounter with interpretation during my training with Cultural Heritage without Borders. During my thesis, I studied one of the most diverse biodiversity locations in Europe, but I ended up having trouble finding a field that would aid me in valorizing the site in a non-imposing way and informing the managers of practices that were achievable.

At the time I didn’t know it was called interpretation but, with little research, I found something that seemed promising.

Since I have come in contact with heritage interpretation, it seems as though I have learned another language: an idiom of kindness and simplicity, of listening and communicating more effectively. I do not any way want to imply that interpretation will solve all conservational problems or other self-fabricating issues that our generation faces. What I do believe is in interpretation’s potential to relate to and include people in experiencing heritage in a more meaningful manner. At the same time, working together in a European context could facilitate a more realistic and measurable way to manage the challenges of safeguarding nature and culture.


Michaela Kubíková

Country Coordinator Slovakia

With my team we work on promoting and establishing heritage interpretation on a national level. 

I was born in the city of Bratislava. As a child I didn´t spend much time inside. With my younger sister and brother and some other kids from our street we loved to organise discovery trips to our surroundings. Our direct contact with many real phenomena outside were not always so successful but, for our further lives, more than essential. Even our parents didn‘t always understand our interpretation of happenings, but most of the time they were kind to let us search again for deeper meanings.

Later, during my studies at the Faculty of Nature Sciences at the Commenius University in Bratislava, or during the international postgraduate course on Architectural Conservation Studies at the Academia Istropolitana Nova in Svaty Jur, and also in my current job as the director of National Trust of Slovakia, I didn´t stop searching for deeper meanings.

Even though I didn´t have a clue about the topic of heritage interpretation, in 1999 I was invited by Chris Wood to represent Slovakia and be the speaker on this topic at the international workshop, ‘Heritage presentation and interpretation in Europe’, which was held at Bournemouth University, UK. At that time, 80 participants from 14 countries agreed that an international network would be created in Europe. Since then I knew that there is something with huge potential which can help me to convey the message of our organisation but also my personal beliefs. I was happy to have a chance to help to organise the first steering committe meeting for the newly-formed Interpret Europe in Bratislava, Slovakia, in 2000. Since then I have appreciated the fact that I can be in touch with people – academics or practitioners – from the heritage interpretation field from abroad.

Almost all domestic or international projects in which I am involved, like Open Parks and Gardens Weekend, Mini exposition of Straw Roofs, Network of Wise Trees, international project for Heritage Asset Managers – Modi-fy, or co-ordination of European Heritage Days in Slovakia, deal with the topic of heritage interpretation.

In 2018 I became an IE Certified Interpretive Writer and in 2019 an IE Certified Interpretive Trainer. I am convinced that the majority of heritage projects in our country can benefit from the possibility to learn from the experiences of their colleagues from the countries where heritage interpretation is more developed. This is why I am very happy and honoured to act as IE’s Country Coordinator Slovakia and continue to search for deeper meanings from this perspective.


Marija Fajdiga

Country Coordinator Slovenia

With my team we work on promoting and establishing heritage interpretation on a national level. 

I’m a  Ranger at Park Škocjanske jame, Slovenija. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site where I can experience first hand contact with visitors from around the world. I’m a cave and local guide. This work allows me  to experiment with diffrent approches to guiding and to interpreting heritage. 

I was born in 1969 in Postojna where there is also another famouse cave; this means that Karst country is my home. For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in the phenomena around me and also in all the old stories told to me by the old folk I met. I have always had a feeling that we must preserve that knowlege and those values because one day someone will want to know about them.

I started my studies of nature at high school and continued them in the Biotechnical faculty at the University of Ljubljana., , My subject was Zootechnic or simply animal husbandry. During my studies, I went to Tuscany in Italy where I gained experience as well as professional knowledge and saw an interesting approach to countryside living.

Working with NGOs, I had the oportunity to lead some national and international projects, where I gainde skills and knowledge on project and team work. I’m convinced that only a good team can do great things.

My first close encounter with Interpret Europe was at the conference in Primošten, Croatia, in 2014.  In 2017, I pass the IE CIG course with Janja Sivec; in 2019 I also passed the IE Trainers course at Osijek, Croatia and in April 2020 I recived the IE Trainer’s certificate. Finally, I passed the IE Training for Hosts  course in May 2021.

I belive that Interpret Europe has many good solutions for heritage interpretation and is providing useful tools to undertaking it. That’s why I’m happy to be part of this great team and I hope to contribute something to our Slovenian IE family.


Sebastian Bellwald

Country Coordinator Switzerland

With my team we work on promoting and establishing heritage interpretation on a national level. 

I am geographer and economist. In combining these disciplines, I have been shaping regional development in Switzerland for 20 years. Convinced that individuals are the driving force for developing their environment, I have put knowledge- and networking-management at the centre of my interest and daily business.

Unsurprisingly, these competences are also the core of my own consulting company, named PLANVAL. Together with my colleagues, I have initiated and executed numerous projects in the field of regional development and sustainable tourism. Thereby I came across the power of interpreting natural and cultural heritage to visitors and realised the still untapped potential for interpretation in Switzerland. The country has rich landscapes, cultural and historical sites, and a high diversity of folklore. However, interpreting this richness is still in its infancy.

Convinced by the power of interpretation, and driven by my spirit of innovation, I engaged with heritage interpretation in 2003. Persuaded by the creative force of networks at different scales, I became a co-founder of Interpret Europe and volunteered to become the Country Coordinator Switzerland: to be able to contribute to this international network but also to let Switzerland benefit from the experience and knowledge of IE. As Country Coordinator, I will contribute to IE and to heritage interpretation as a profession with the following actions:

  • Bring heritage interpretation to the attention of professional individuals, organisations and institutions related to heritage interpretation in Switzerland to increase the quality of interpretation-products in Switzerland;
  • Create and strengthen networks of professional individuals, organisations and institutions related to heritage interpretation in Switzerland and supporting international networking activities;
  • Strengthen the presence of Interpret Europe as an international network for the interpretation field in Switzerland; and
  • Attract new members by pointing out the operational opportunities of Interpret Europe and the meaning of heritage interpretation.

Nataliia Gudkova

Country Coordinator Ukraine

With my team we work on promoting and establishing heritage interpretation on a national level. 

I’m an Assistant Professor at the State Ecological Academy of Postgraduate Education and Management in Ukraine. I specialise in adult environmental education and protected area management and promote ideas and principles of heritage interpretation and sustainable development in Ukraine.

I hold a PhD degree in Biology, MSc degree in protected area management (Alpen-Adria University Klagenfurt, Austria), and also graduated from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (Ukraine). I have been a scientific expert in the UNDP/GEF Project “Strengthening Governance and Financial Sustainability of the National Protected Area System in Ukraine” (2008-2011).

My involvement in heritage interpretation started in 2012 with activities related to conservation biology and nature interpretation within the framework of the MATRA/MAVA Project “Building capacity for biodiversity conservation in Ukraine: network and training support” of the Ukrainian Environmental Club “Green Wave”.

In 2016, I participated in Interpret Europe`s Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) course and the CIG trainer course. In partnership with the US Forest Service and the National Association for Interpretation (NAI), I have coordinated a project on nature interpretation and organised the first CIG course in Ukraine. My current interests also include arranging engaging heritage interpretation to facilitate pleasant and valuable visitor experiences.