Employing a range of case studies from three northern European countries - England, Sweden and The Netherlands - this captivating book explores the process of heritage conservation from theoretical initiation to practical expression. It traces the threads from the origination of conservation ideas by innovative individuals, their adoption by voluntary groups identified with particular conservation aims, to the inclusion of conservation policies in national legislation and international convention. A common cultural heritage underpins the diffusion of ideas across different systems within a similar time-scale. The ideas have been assimilated and adopted to differing degrees, providing the opportunity for questioning both the strength and purpose in heritage conservation, and the influence of the social and political context. This will be a stimulating read for an international audience of conservationists, heritage policy makers, conservation architects, planners and developers, urban design and planning scholars, and European and cultural studies academics.