During the period 2007-2010, the European Project SAFENUT: "Safeguard of almond and hazelnut genetic resources from traditional uses to modern agroindustrial opportunities", has been carried out in Europe, by researchers from six European countries and the participation of 11 different partners. Several aspects referred to Corylus avellana L., were tackled: the survey of local national and European hazelnut collections and on farm recovery of "ecotypes"; the evaluation of plant material (morphological, biochemical and molecular assessment); the creation of a hazelnut core collection; the analysis of ecological, economic and socio-cultural aspects related to sustainable production and traditional knowledge; and, finally, the establishment of the SAFENUT website and database. With the aim to harmonise the morphological evaluations, specific descriptors were elaborated for the characterization of genetic materials, both in the permanent collection and in new selections. 306 hazelnut accessions were analyzed at 10 SSR loci in order to verify the genetic authenticity. The main cultivars of each country were evaluated for fatty acids, tocopherols, phenolic compounds, mineral and protein contents. In the light of the above, the multivariate analysis of the entire data allowed the creation of the hazelnut core collection. The recovery of traditional knowledge was undertaken by different activities: questionnaires were elaborated following the interviews of students and their parents in all partner countries; a survey on the festivals related to this species was carried out and a publication was released. Furthermore, 63 filled questionnaires addressed to farmers offered the opportunity to compare problems, technical practices and biodiversity at the European level. Finally, the SAFENUT Database, a web interface available at the address: hppt://www.safenut.net, has been set up in order to provide users driven on-line search-queries, across multi-trait data based on germplasm evaluation. The European SAFENUT experience has allowed the realization of an efficient working group, able to draw out the authentic significance of genetic resources, not only working on the unique genetic background offered by genetic resources, but also on the cultural meaning that they represent.