Managing directors

The managing directors are the legal representatives (Board of Directors) of the Association and are personally liable for the conduct of their responsibilities. They authorise coordinators to undertake tasks on their behalf. Managing directors of Interpret Europe are:

Managing Director:
Thorsten Ludwig (Germany)

In 2000, I followed an invitation from Patrick Lehnes to join the assembly founding Interpret Europe as the European Network for Heritage Interpretation. Some years after its formal establishment as an association, I became an elected member of IE's Supervisory Committee. In 2015, I was appointed Managing Director. My core fields of responsibility are membership development, communication, networking, research, training and events.

My management experience first grew in the early 1990s when I was responsible for setting up the education department for a German national park. I focused on day programmes for school classes, with up to 50 seasonal workers and almost 10,000 participants per year. 25 years later, this system is still in use.

For 12 years, I was on the Board of Directors of the German Association for Natural and Environmental Education (ANU) and one of three members of the Leuchtpol Supervisory Board. Leuchtpol was the largest German sponsoring initiative for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) with a budget of €28 million over four years.

As concerns managing cultural heritage, I chaired the Board of Directors of a foundation for three years that was in charge of a medieval castle, including a hostel with 180 beds, a learning centre and a State Archive. One of my achievements was to make the foundation more sustainable by establishing a system of experts and youth groups to maintain the historic buildings, resulting in up to 8,000 volunteer working hours per year.

As member of a nationwide steering committee, I supported the development of the German training programme Certified Nature and Landscape Guide for more than ten years. I introduced and managed a three-year training project called ParcInterp with scientific support and in conjunction with three national key stakeholder associations who as a result agreed on common interpretive training standards in German protected areas.

Within the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union, I was involved in the projects TOPAS (Training of Protected Area Staff) as trainer, RWL (Real World Learning Network) as country coordinator and HeriQ (Quality in Heritage Interpretation) as transfer partner.

Since 1993, I have been running my own company, Bildungswerk interpretation, as a consultancy for interpretive training and planning. I studied archaeology, hold an MSc in Interpretation Management and Practice from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI, UK) and have been acknowledged by the National Association for Interpretation (NAI, USA) as Certified Interpretive Planner (CIP) and as Certified Interpretive Trainer (CIT). Once a year I teach interpretation as a six-day residential module at the University for Sustainable Development (HNE, Germany).

I believe that heritage interpretation plays an essential role in meeting some of the key challenges we are currently facing in Europe. As Managing Director of Interpret Europe, I see my task to express this at a political level, by developing Interpret Europe together with our dedicated members as a platform for exchange between European heritage stakeholders and by increasing the outreach and the quality of heritage interpretation in Europe.

Managing Director:
Helena Vičič (Slovenia)

I’ve changed professions several times in different sectors since I graduated in history in Ljubljana in 2006. I worked in tourism as a tourist guide and as a manager of a tourist information centre. I also went to Ireland for several months to gain some more experience in tourism. For several years I worked on rural development projects. In 2010, just by coincidence, I volunteered in Interpret Europe’s Foundation Assembly as a member of Young Project Managers. I believe it was the first time I’d heard of heritage interpretation. Ever since, my interest has been growing. The initiators of heritage interpretation in our country became my main source of inspiration and after some years I decided to follow my desires rather than the rational encouragement of having safe jobs.

In 2016, I attended courses for IE Certified Interpretive Guides and Certified Interpretive Trainers and soon after I’ve became actively engaged in the management of Interpret Europe. As a volunteer from the beginning, as a Training, Research and Country team member and later as Management Assistant and Office Manager.

Meanwhile, I initiated the establishment of Red Tree Heritage, a private NGO for heritage interpretation and sustainable development in Slovenia and opened up HVConsulting, my consultancy and training business. Besides running IE courses and workshops, I’ve been collaborating in planning for interpretive media production and copywriting.

I’m completing a postgraduate diploma in Interpretation: Management and Practice, at the University of Highlands and Islands in Scotland.

My inspiration and dedication to Interpret Europe is growing day by day, by seeing other inspired colleagues around Europe, trying to achieve wonderful things together. Heritage interpretation has power to change society and meanwhile Interpret Europe has become recognised as a driving force of a new approach and philosophy in communicating common values. My wish is to continue to foster and encourage the fast development of the profession for the shared future of Europe.


Our mission

To serve all who use
first-hand experiences to
give natural and cultural heritage
a deeper meaning