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Tourism and Culture Edition Destinations, Events & Projects

1 | 2016

the magazine for the danube countries

connects danube

Hidden treasures Discoveries between source and delta

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Dear reader,


danube connects is on Facebook and twitter!

pen borders and the freedom to travel have become natural

in today’s Europe. My grown-up children only know the “Iron Curtain”

through stories told in our family or through history lessons. I myself, however, still remember queuing for miles in a line of cars at the Hungarian

border when we went on holiday. Also, my grandfather used to be scared of potential border controls whenever we had brought back souvenirs from Hungary.

In the face of the many problems Europe deals

We offer information and images from the international press on politics, tourism and culture in the Danube region. Furthermore, we keep you on track about the Danube Strategy and the various events alongside the Danube. Come and take a look!

with at the moment, be it the refugee crisis, the

Euro crisis, youth unemployment or natural di-

sasters, solidarity and communication – between people of different origins and between their

governments – are more important than ever.

Travelling broadens the mind, culture bridges borders. If tourism and

culture become more intertwined, new chances for personal and economic growth arise. Concrete examples are illustrated in the articles on a

city tour through Beograd in a Fićo (p. 14/15) or on the initiative “Good things from Viscri” (p. 18/19).

Trust can only be developed if we get to know each other. That’s why our new issue focuses on “Tourism and Culture”. We encourage all readers

to explore our neighbouring countries along the Danube and meet their

You want to share interesting information on the Danube region? Just send a link to info@danubeconnects.eu.

inhabitants. Young adults and students, such as the project participants of “Creative Danube” (p. 20/21), are starting to discover the southeast already; for them cities like Bratislava, Budapest and Beograd are just cool. We invite you on a journey of discovery and interesting encounters along the Danube. Welcome! Dobrodošli!

the magazine for the danube countries

Enjoy reading!

Tel. +49 (0)731 153 75 05 Fax +49 (0)731 153 75 06 info@danube-connects.eu

Sabine Geller

editor-in-chief and founder of danube connects

www.danube-connects.eu www.facebook.com/danube.connects twitter.com/DanubeConnects



See the birth of the Danube from up close...............................6–8


The International Danube Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary..10–11


Students from Osijek and Stuttgart explore the creative scene .........................20-21


What time travel through Belgrade feels like......................14–15



An expedition through Kopacki ´ rit park.....................22–23


How towns like Ehingen and Ingolstadt celebrate their cultural heritage beer........................18–19

KOPACKI RIT– Network of Nature Protection


How to create an artists' network in the Danube region................... 12


Finding new ways of cross-border cooperation.................................. 13 MARKETING THE GERMAN DANUBE An interview with tourism expert Raissa Benchoufi............ 7–8 UNDER THE BRIDGE A photo project shows the world of the homeless..................11


EVENTS......................................19 IMPRINT.......................................8


How Roma women fight poverty........................................14

© Illustration: Ida Mayer


Bread, herbs and wine at the Danube bridge breakfast.............22

Source of the Danube

The Source of the Danube Shines Anew Something great often comes from something very small! The Danube holds a prominent place in European history, but has its origin in an unassuming beautiful little place in Germany. Recently, this enchanted corner of the world was reopened to visitors. The source of the Danube is fresher and more accessible than ever and ready to welcome those eager to discover the origin of the mighty river that flows eastwards. To mark the end of rehabilitation works of the source, the city of Donaueschingen invites its residents and tourists to a festival, the DonauquellFest. The event will take place on Saturday, 25 June 2016, from 11 am. The work done at the source of the Danube was a major investment that begun in 2013 and was completed at the end of 2015. Craftsmen builders and restorers, money and patience of the inhabitants were involved in the effort to create a more visible tourist attraction. The reconstructed area consists of the spring itself, 16 items including the 12 signs of the zodiac, an upper railing of stone and the patron statue of "Mother Baar", showing her daughter, the Danube, the way towards the Black Sea. "This refurbishment of the source of the Danube was really important because the enclosure was saturated with water. The last treatment of the stone happened more than a 100 years ago and over the years the water came through. Not the water from above, the rain, but from the ground,” explains Annika Engel from the Tourism and Marketing Office of the City of Donaueschingen. Because the whole assembly was affected by water infiltration, everything had to be disassembled, dried and processed by stonemasons. Those items that were too strongly damaged were replaced with new ones, respecting the old form. Also, significant work has gone into the wall supporting the struc-


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ture of the church St. Johann. Moreover, the city of Donaueschingen invested in a redevelopment of the whole area, which is probably the most important tourist attraction in the entire region of the young Danube, thereby providing modern access while nevertheless respecting the traditional local aspect. “In Donaueschingen we have around 200.000 accommodation nights per year, which is quite a lot, and we have many day tourists. During restoration works they asked ‘What can we do here? Where can we see the source of the Danube?’ We explained to them why the source had to be restored and directed them to other sites. For example, on the edge of town the junction of the rivers Brigach and Breg forms the Danube. People can literally see the birth of the Danube”, says Annika Engel. But where the "Danube begins" tourists are provided with many more attractions: the old beautiful historic buildings, the fountains of Diana, Hansel and the Musicians, the imposing Palace Fürstenberg with its charming park, old churches and modern spaces, such as the Museum for Children and Youth, which provides interactive science and technology experiments. And, do not forget, the renowned artistic events!

By combining contemporary culture with its ancient monuments, Donaueschingen proves that, despite its long history, it can keep up with the times. And in this summer's programme, the first edition of DonauquellFest offers musical and culinary highlights. Laura Piperiu, journalist, Tuttlingen

Young Danube

danube connects spoke with Raissa Benchoufi, head of the tourism organisation “The German Danube“, about the organisation's goals. Who determines the contents, who finances the “German Danube“, who are its members? The “Working Group German Danube“ promotes tourism along the German part of the Danube. Its members are tourist organisations from the towns and districts on the Danube in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. The members fund the Working Group German Danube through their annual membership fees and contribute to further developing the product “Danube”. Every four months, 15 Danube stakeholders and representatives gather for meetings of the working committee. Together, they discuss marketing concepts and continuously enhance the product.

A jewel in the Princely Park: the newly renovated source of the Danube

Creating the Danube: confluence of rivers Brigach and Breg.

What's the role the German Danube wants to play among all the other stakeholders in the promotion of tourism along the Danube? Which target groups does it focus on? Only the Working Group German Danube links all Danube stakeholders in Germany and promotes the whole German Danube region as a tourist destination. Of course, the members also promote their own destinations and attractions separately on a local level. But when it comes to supra-regional and international marketing, a common presentation of our region is a clear advantage. Through theme marketing, the Working Group aims at presenting each region and town individually and in a special way. We don't want to list the steeples in every town – we show the consumer what makes each place unique. We propose theme-oriented routes, depending on whether you're interested in short or long holidays, city tourism, hiking, bicycle tours, relaxation or wellness. Germany's Danube

region is interesting for many different target groups. It's a multifaceted trend region, off the beaten path of mass tourism, and has many undiscovered treasures. What projects are you currently working on? Last year, the office of the Working Group German Danube moved from Neuburg on the Danube to Ulm, after 25 years. Now, the members want a breath of fresh air and modern marketing strategies. We've reorganised the Working Group, changed its image, edited a new print brochure and also merged with the

Raissa Benchoufi in Ulm does marketing for the Danube.

campaign “The Young Danube”. This comprehensive marketing campaign was launched by the Tourismus-Marketing GmbH Baden-Württemberg, the Bayern Tourismus Marketing GmbH and the German National Tourist Board. It was further developed with the members of the Working Group German Danube. The campaign “The Young Danube” and the Working Group promote the German Danube region together. Consumers can discover the attractions of the Danube region in our print brodanube connects 01I 16


chure or on the website www.die-jungedonau.de. Right now, we're working on different blog projects and on a Danube workshop with all Danube stakeholders, which will take place during the Danube Festival. This summer, we will also be shooting many new pictures of the Danube region for the new edition of our brochure. Another important project is improving the Danube Cycling Route. In 2017, it will most likely be classified as a 4-star cycling route by the General German Bicycle Club (ADFC).

What's your personal favourite spot on the Danube? I think the Danube promenade in Ulm and Neu-Ulm is very special. That's probably because I live in Ulm and go there every day for a nice walk with my dog. My office is just a few minutes away from the promenade and nothing is more relaxing and inspiring than a lunch break on the sunny banks of the Danube. Interview by Thomas Zehender, journalist, danube connects

Impressum/imprint danube connects das magazin für die donauländer/the magazine for the danube countries Tel. +49 / (0)731 / 153 75 05 Fax +49 / (0)731 / 153 75 06 info@danube-connects.eu Herausgeber/publisher: European Journalists Association, Sektion Ulm (section of Ulm) Verlag/publishing house: Süddeutsche Verlagsgesellschaft Nicolaus-Otto-Str. 14, 89079 Ulm


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Konzept und Gestaltung/ concept and design: Sabine Geller info@danube-connects.eu Redaktion/editor: Thomas Zehender danube@profitextulm.de Social Media: Thomas Zehender Anzeigenleitung/advertisement: Sabine Geller info@danube-connects.eu

Bildnachweis/photo credits: Titelbild/Cover: © Tobias Raphael Ackermann Sofija Balac, George Dumitriu, Elvira Eberhardt, Sabine Geller, Peter Lindel. Illustration: Ida Mayer Übersetzung/translation: Christiane Hadamitzky, Meike Westerhaus, Autoren/authors: Sabine Geller, Daniel Hirsch, Mirella Sidro, Nina May, Doris Orgonas, Natasa Saru, Thomas Zehender

500 Years of Purity Law for Beer

The art of brewing

2016 marks the 500th anniversary of the German purity law for beer. Towns like Ehingen and Ingolstadt are seizing the occasion to celebrate their world-renowned beer, a cultural heritage of the region. Fermented juice was already popular in ancient Egypt and Sumer. “The oldest evidence of beer was found in China. But if by “beer” you mean the beverage we know today, which is made from barley, then historians are not sure whether it comes from Syria or Egypt. In both cases, we have evidence of it dating back to around 3500 BC,” Barbara Link explains. On the occasion of the 500th anniversary, Link, an Egyptologist, brewed beer as it was made during the time of the pharaohs. It tastes very different from today's beer, as no hop was added and it was not carbonated. Ehingen – a Cultural capital of Beer “…nothing is to be added to or used in beer other than barley, hops and water. Whosoever knowingly disobeys this decree will be severely punished by the court having jurisdiction over him by having his barrel of beer confiscated whenever this offense occurs.“ This rule found in the regional ordinance issued by the Bavarian duke William IV in Ingolstadt on 23 April 1516 is still valid today. “With its simplicity and consumer security, the purity law is probably more interesting than ever. It guarantees a high quality of beer and prevents the haphazard use of raw materials,” says Ulrich Zimmermann of the Berg brewery in Ehingen. Tourists visiting Germany this year should definitely try some beer, even if they are not normally used to it. “For beginners we would recommend a composition of four: export, pilsner, unfiltered export and wheat beer are always a good starting point,“ Ulrich Zimmermann of Berg brewery and Karl Miller of Schwanen brewery in Ehingen explain.

Living history and traditional trade: the art of brewing along the Danube.

Anniversary in Ingolstadt The anniversary of “500 years of purity law” is celebrated in many places, but especially so in Ingolstadt: The Bavarian purity law was enacted in Ingolstadt. Tourists can choose from many activities and events over the course of the year and approach the topic from different perspectives: some are more artistic, such as special exhibitions in museums, others are more culinary such as the many beer festivals and fairs. During the traditional promulgation and subsequent beer tasting at Ingolstadt’s beer fountain, visitors can delve into history. Interestingly, the Danube has always been closely connected to beer traditions: the oldest documented sources of hop cultivation date from the early middle ages. In the year of 736 AD, the first cultivation of hop is mentioned in Geisenfeld in the region of Hallertau, Bavaria. Today hop is mostly grown in regions with moist soils high in nitrogen, such as floodplains as they can be found alongside the Danube in the area around Ingolstadt.

Events at a glance EHINGEN: www.bierkulturstadt.info Ulrich Festival in Ehingen-Berg 8 - 11 July 2016 Open Air Theatre in Ehingen-Berg 20 July to 4 August 2016 INGOLSTADT: www.reinheitsgebot-ingolstadt.de Historical 'Schanzer' Beer-Tour 9.7./ Autumn Fair with parade and regional beer specialities 23 September to 3 October

Mirella Sidro, Journalistin danube connects 01I 16


600 unique festival flags – diverse like the program The 10th Danube Festival's, with a more extensive and versatile programme than ever, is far more than a mere festival for those interested in culture. A symposium, for example, will discuss the economic perspectives the cultural scene can offer. In face of recent nationalist tendencies in some of the Danube countries, intercultural encounters will gain even greater importance in this year's festival. The Danube Festival would not be the same without its characteristic artful flags! In 2012 the flags were designed by Vladimir Frelih from Osijek (Croatia) and this year, they will be created by Dragan Matić from Novi Sad (Serbia). Matić was born in 1966 and studied at the academy of the arts in Novi Sad, where he is now a professor for fine arts. He is a member of the artistic groups Multiflex and Happy Trash and his artwork has been shown in various exhibitions, projects and film festivals. In his flag design Matić combines the national colours of the Danube countries with a rhythmically repetition of herringbone pattern. "It is my intention to create an installation that is both comprehensible and visually attracting," Matić explains his artistic concept, which he has realised in co-operation with students at the academy. Every one of the 600 flags is unique, designed and


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produced individually and hand-painted. After the festival, the weatherproof flags will be sold on Ulm's Münsterplatz on 12 July from 5 pm.

Prof. Matic´ and students from Osijek with plenty of Danube festivals’s flags

Culture Among the Homeless:

â&#x20AC;&#x17E;Under the bridgeâ&#x20AC;&#x153; He met homeless people from different cultural backgrounds and listened to the stories of how they ended up on the street. Often he heard similar reasons: alcohol, drugs, loss of job or family. After three months on the street, the way back into a normal life is getting difficult. However, many general assumptions about homeless people do not hold true, in Eberl's experience. "Homelessness is not always obvious. These people live in a parallel world but often lead very structured lives."

Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Belgrade and Bucharest are only some of the cities that the Ulm-based journalist Udo Eberl visited for his photography project "Under the bridge".

To get in touch with them and gain their trust, he often co-operated with street workers during his research trips. He never took photos without permission and many shots were preceded by half-hour long conversations. "The photographs are never voyeuristic and I hope that I succeeded in depicting a deeper level," Eberl elaborates. He started the project "Under the bridge" a while ago and was, as he says, "thrown into" the current issue of displacement, which made him doubt the relevancy of homelessness as a societal issue. His photographs address this topic in their own way. They portray the many faces of poverty in Europe but are highly reminiscent of the situation in the third or fourth world. "Under the bridge" does not end with the Danube Festival. Udo Eberl will continue his travels, wants to extend them to Bulgaria and is thinking about a charity project. "I'm not done with this issue," he states. Thomas Zehender, journalist danube connects, Ulm

Eberl's works are shown in two corresponding exhibitions:

VERNISSAGE AT JULY 4 TH The exhibition at Edwin-Scharff-Haus in Neu-Ulm opens on 4 July. At 7 pm, Udon Eberl will present lyric renderings of his experiences and the Austrian musician Matthias Loibner will play the hurdy-gurdy. Additionally, Eberl's works will be displayed in an open-air exhibition in different, sometimes hidden, places throughout Ulm and Neu-Ulm.

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Arts and Culture as an Economic Factor As an international event for culture, arts and exchange the Danube Festival's aim is to foster the creative scene in the Danube countries. As part of this effort, the symposium "Source of creativity: design and contemporary art in the Danube region" will be held at Hochschule für Kommunikation on 8 July from 10 am to 5.30 pm.

Supported by the Baden-Württemberg Foundation's programme "Perspective Danube: education, culture and civil society", the symposium wants to result in a network of artists rather than unspecific resolutions. It aims to create "a joint perspective for development and commercial opportunities." Put simply, it explores the sustainable economic and job potential of the creative scene, from design and marketing agencies, galleries and art agencies to IT companies. The event is mainly aimed at artists, members of the creative industry and teachers. They will target four subjects in regards to the Danube region: practical and theoretical education, arts and design in practice, social relevance and resonance of arts and design, and network potential. The network aims at being more than a web-directory that lists actors and projects. Practical experience is aimed to be combined with didactic approaches and co-operations are to be formed. The symposium will end with a public round table. Arts professors from Sofia, Osijek and Pécs will discuss with Munich-based architect and journalist Dr. Oliver Herwig. The event will be


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accompanied by composer and violinist Alexander Balanescu. For the Danube Festival, Balanescu has composed a choreographed musical piece for soloviolin, string quartet, orchestra, dancers and singers. The work will have its debut performance at Theater Ulm on 1 July. The round table, will on the one hand, deal with abstract questions such as the role of design and arts for processes of identity formation. On the other hand the participants will assess the developments in the Danube region and give concrete examples for possibilities for the creative industry. Just as other economic fields in the south-eastern regions of the Danube area the creative industry is suffering from brain drain. The panel will look for incentives for artists to stay in their home countries and reflect on their own decision. The symposium "Source of creativity: design and contemporary art in the Danube region" is a co-operation of Donaubüro Ulm/Neu-Ulm, Hochschule für Kommunikation Ulm, Consultant Cultural Affairs for Southeast Europe at Donauschwäbisches Zentralmuseum Ulm, HfG Archive Ulm, Stuttgart Media University and the academies for the

arts in Pécs (Hungary), Osijek (Croatia) and Sofia (Bulgaria). The Hochschule für Kommunikation will also display a traveling exhibition during the festival. 53 works by 39 artists from six Danube countries will be shown. The pieces span from photography and collages to paintings and video installations of highest artistic standards. The project is realised by BadenWürttemberg's ministry for science, research and the arts and Consultant Cultural Affairs for Southeast Europe at Donauschwäbisches Zentralmuseum Ulm; they are supported by the Hungarian cultural institute Stuttgart and Donaubüro Ulm/Neu-Ulm.

Thomas Zehender, journalist, danube connects, Ulm

Civil Society

Exchange, Cooperation, Networking: Towards an Open Society in the Danube Region How can we succeed in building good cooperation and a diverse, vivid civil society in the Danube Region? Finding answers to this question is the purpose of the specialized conference “Open Society in the Danube Region”, which is integrated into the programme of the 10th International Danube Festival Ulm/Neu-Ulm and organised by the Baden-Württemberg Foundation.

The project Mikser House in Belgrade, presented by Ivan Lalic and Professor Dr Boris Kühnle, is a trendy example of a creative centre in the Danube Region both globally oriented and anchored in its home city and region. Based on this popular multifunctional creative location in Serbia's capital, the speakers will analyse the potential, chances and challenges of the creative scene in the Danube Region.

Thanks to its venue, the Edwin Scharff House, the conference is located at the centre of the Danube Festival. On the evening before the event, the exhibition “Under the Bridge” by artist Udo Eberl will be opened there. On Tuesday, July 5th, the conference participants – mainly representatives of civil society and politics in the Danube Region – can look forward to presentations by selected international experts from various subject areas.

Professor Dr Ellen Bos has been teaching at Andrássy University in Budapest since 2004 and followed the development of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region since its beginnings. Bos will present the conditions for cross-border cooperation.

Dr Reinhard Johler, the main speaker, will identify similarities and differences within the Danube Region that he considers to have the potential to connect people. Johler is the scientific head of the Institute for Danube Swabian History and Regional Studies in Tübingen. Anthony Soares of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Ireland, which specializes in cross-border and transnational studies, will show opportunities of conflict management and discuss under which circumstances cooperation and a peaceful future in the Danube Region are possible.

In the afternoon, a so-called world café will call for the participants' active involvement. They will be asked to develop and discuss common ideas and find their own strategies for problem resolution. A qualified moderator will guide the participants during debates in small changing groups. In those groups, they will exchange their knowledge and interdisciplinary experiences, make or deepen contacts and networks and discover common solutions. The issue of funding projects will also be given enough space.

cellery and the Danube Office Ulm/ Neu-Ulm. During the final panel, participants can discuss the conference results with Dr Beate Merk (Bavarian Minister for European Affairs), Gisela Erler (State Councillor for Civil Society and Citizen Participation in the State Ministry of Baden-Württemberg) . Doris Orgonas, Manager of Culture

Christoph Dahl, Head of Baden-Württemberg Stiftung

„ I expect a lot of creativity, new

ideas and especially hands-on recommendations from those who know the Danube Region best – the people whose projects we fund. "

The event will take place within the framework of the Baden-Württemberg Foundation's programme “Perspective Danube: Education, Culture and Civil Society” and is organised in cooperation with the State Ministry of BadenWürttemberg, the Bavarian State Chandanube connects 01I 16



´ Fico If you want to travel in time in Serbia's capital Beograd, explore it in a Fi�o. The legendary Yugoslav car is seeing a revival and is at least as popular in the countries of former Yugoslavia today than it was in Tito's days.

The car gives its characteristic buzz when my guide Neno starts the engine. We go on a Beograd adventure and I am excited to see the capital of Serbia and former capital of Yugoslavia from the perspective of a Fićo. Fićo, also called Fića in Serbia and Fićek in Crioatia and Slovenia, is the nickname of the models 600 and 750 by the Yugoslav company Zastava. It is a licensed reproduction of Fiat 600 and, similar to VW Beetle in Germany, was soon popular with the population of Yugoslavia. It was first introduced in 1955, however, the model that is so well-known today is that built between 1968 and 1985. "One of its assets surely was its price," says Peđa Milosavljević, president of Beograd's association of Fićo drivers (Beogradsko Udruženje Fićista – BUF). "The Fićo was the first car of many Yugoslavs. It brought them to their families and relatives, drove them on holiday within and outside the country. They picked up their first love in it, drove to weddings and funerals in it. And a fićo stayed in the family, was given from one generation to the next."


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It has gotten dark already. I am surprised how comfortable and spacious the Fićo is. Whenever we stop at a red light, people are coming to our window, waving and taking pictures. Even traffic policemen are glancing happily at the little bubble car. "Every day driving the Fićo through Beograd is a dream come true. Every drive is a good deed for my fellow citizens," says Neno cheekily. When we get out of the car in the city centre, I am sad to leave it behind. We head towards Skadarlija, the bohemian quarter in the historic old town. With its restaurants and music it is reminiscent of Monmartre in Paris. "Where are you from?", the harmonica player Marko asks. "From Sarajevo," I reply. "Aaaaaahhh, then we gipsies will play a nice Sevdalinke for you!" He smiles at me and says: "You have not been brought up in the Balkan, right?" I nod. "For us, gipsy music is not a bad word, don't worry." He winks at me and his band begins an old Bosnian song. The next day I wake up in a good mood. We are going on a tour of the town. "Let's see how far it'll take us." This is not an afterthought, sometimes the Fićo just stops. But this is not too big a problem for a Fićo driver. "It's very compact and clearly arranged. No superfluous electronics, no unnecessary gadgets. If something is broken, I can usually fix it on the spot." On our tour, the car only stops once and, indeed, it is fixed quickly.

We drive to the House of Flowers, visit Tito's grave in the posh district Dedinje and again, we seem to travel into the past. The villa was built in 1975 and is spacious and bright. However, it is slowly deteriorating. One wall shows a figure of how visitor numbers have changed over the last decades. During the Balkan Wars 25 years ago and afterwards, it has been a constant number of zero. In the last couple of years, more and more people are visiting. The Fićo is also part of that nostalgia. "We were used to peace and wealth in Yugoslavia. Then came the Balkan Wars. It's not surprising that people associate the car with a time when they were happy and untroubled," Peđa Milosavljević explains and adds: "The Fićo shows us clearly how stupid we have been 25 years ago."


– a Car as a Metaphor for Life

Now we are heading for Neno's favourite place, the car museum of Beograd. It is an insider tip. Founded by car collector Bratislav Petković, is displays around 100 objects from different times and is located in Beograd's oldest garage. Of course, it shows a Fićo, too. "But this one isn't as nice a mine," Neno emphasises.

The last day of my visit is dedicated to the Danube city's waters. Our first destination is Ada Ciganlija, an island on the south side of the Sava, which flows into the Danube in Beograd. Broad beaches attract sun worshippers. We rent bicycles and ride along the water. From Kalemegdan Citadel a beautiful view of both rivers and their merging unfolds.

Afterwards, we drive to Tesla Museum, which is located in the city centre in a beautiful villa from 1929. Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was tall and lean, as a suit in the exhibition shows. The name of the ingenious inventor, physicist and engineer is nowadays the name of a game-changing American e-car.

We are spending the last hours of our trip in a cafe in a historic building. Neno uses the Fićo as a metaphor for life itself: "Driving a Fićo is close to the essence of life. It either brings you forward, or it stops. Just as our lives. You fall down and get up again." I nod and smile. As I have learned, a Fićo is easily fixed and continues on its way. Just as life itself.

As a last stop, we head for the splendid main street Knez Mihajlova. The buildings along the street were built in the late 19th and early 20th century. "Do you see the fountain over there? It has the same significance your fountain in Sarajevo has! If you drink from it once, you will always come back to Beograd," Neno explains. I drink from it - more than once.

Mirella Sidro, journalist, danube connects

On the streets of Belgrade: our author Mirella Sidro as passenger in Neno’s Fićo www.youtube.com/watch?v= C5Ki83gX1Nw Contact to Neno: zubic@msn.com

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Explore the Roman Emperors and Danube Wine Route Wine tasting is offered in perfectly restored and modernized wineries, many of them boasting hundreds of years of grape growing tradition. Definitely taste the big brands but never forget the small, family-run wine cellars – they are an experience in itself! Local and regional food and wine will convince even the most skeptical gourmets and wine enthusiasts. If you are still not convinced, consider the unbeatable hospitality and friendliness of the people living along the Route. So, pack up, come and enjoy our Route and take home unforgettable memories. The Roman Emperors and Danube Wine Route spreads through four countries – Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania – encompassing 20 archaeologic sites and 12 wine regions. Located in the middle and lower Danube region, the Roman Emperors and Danube Wine Route is a part of the European network of cultural routes. Visitors will easily discover the great value of the sites along the most exciting and second longest European river. You can try the overwhelmingly beautiful long-distance experience of crossing the entire area from the Adriatic Sea to the Danube Delta (the Black Sea), or you can spend your holidays discovering only parts of the Route – it’s up to you. Whether you’re hiking, driving, cycling, travelling by boat or train, or combining the lot, the cross-border journey along the ancient Roman Danube Limes will reveal the outstanding natural beauty of the river Danube and hidden historic and archeological treasures, still mostly


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unknown in the western and northern Europe - some of the archeological sites have been discovered, excavated and scientifically researched only recently, during the last two decades. You will be amazed by the abundance and quality of evidence of ancient Roman presence in this part of Europe.

published by the Danube Competence Center, Belgrade

Viticulture here is over two thousand years old. The wines produced in the region were among the best in Europe in the 19th century. Vineyards will keep beckoning you to come and taste local dishes and wines along the way. Touristic projects of Danube Competence Center The Danube Competence Centre (DCC) contributes to the development of sustainable tourism in the Danube region through advocacy at regional, national and European level. It is initiating and implementing relevant tourism development activities, marketing tourism services and products of high quality and promoting the mutual interests of its members. Furthermore it successfully cooperates with 70 members. These are directly engaged

in the everyday work of the DCC , which includes the National Tourism Organizations of several countries as well as nature protecting organsiations, like ICPDR (International Commission for Protection of the Danube River), DanubePARKS, ECF (European Cyclist Federation) but also with community based business and organizations, such as family wineries, pensions, info centers, NGOs.

Civil Society

The Taste of Friendship Together with various partners along the Danube, pedagogue Carmen Stadelhofer from the Institute for virtual and face-to-face learning in adult education at Ulm University (ILEU) e.V. and Danube-Networkers for Europe (DANET) e.V. have initiated the project "Tastes of Danube. Bread, Wine, Herbs" that connects cultures from western and eastern Europe along the Danube.

The Lord's Prayer says"Give us today our daily bread...". Nowadays we often take bread for granted. Especially in Europe it is, however, more than a food product. That's why pedagogue Carmen Stadelhofer from ILEU e.V. Ulm wanted to dedicate part of the project "Tastes of Danube. Bread, Herbs, Wine" to bread. "We were looking for a topic that was both intergenerationally and culturally appealing and that would allow everyone interested to participate. That's how we decided on "Bread, Wine, Herbs". Bread is highly important in Europe and part of our staple foods. It was central in religious rites and many cultural traditions," she explains. With its 2900km the Danube is Europe's second longest stream and connects east and west. The region is a Mecca of different cultures which, unfortunately, rarely communicate with each other. "The iron curtain led us to believe that 'those others' were different from us. On both sides there were stories of how bad the other system, capitalism or socialism, was. The project allows us to see that we have been connected for centuries. This becomes apparent through the example of bread, the first staple food in all of the countries. We want to emphasise that there is great diversity

and individuality in the Danube region, but that there is lots of mutuality as well. In Bulgaria and Romania, for example, there is a bread festival for certain saints or villages. We are exploring traditions that are new to us," Stadelhofer elaborates. The project is also intended to deepen the co-operation between the countries and to create personal encounters within a peaceful Danube region. It was launched in January 2016 and unites participants from the areas of education, culture, environmentalism, schools and universities. People of different ages and ethnicities from twelve Danube countries take part in the social project. For example, bakery apprentices from Ferdinand-von-Steinbeis-Schule Ulm have prepared dough for the project. This initial dough was shipped to all participants along the Danube who added ingredients, such as herbs, typical for their region and processed it traditionally. Thus, a versatile culinary tie of friendship was created along the blue lifeline that also relates to the long cultures of each of the countries. And how do you counter stereotypes effectively? With a drink and good food! That is why a Danube Breakfast will be held as part of the project on 10 July on Ulm's Herdbrücke to give the participants from all

over Europe the opportunity to get to know the various types of bread. “On a personal level I would hope thaour project makes a small contribution to a peaceful Europe”, Stadelhofer explains. Mirella Sidro, Journalistin danube connects

www.tastes-of-danube.eu conference.tastes-of-danube.eu

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Roma project

Felt Slippers for a Better Future how attached people here are to their region,” says Tina Bing. “Most of them would give a lot to be able to stay here!” Change in Viscri is a slow progress of many small steps, not a perfect solution. Annette Schorb explains how everything started 15 years ago, with a pair of socks made from unravelled pullover yarn given in exchange for food. Today, an association of 80 women is knitting and felting. They are creating socks, caps, hats, and colourful slippers from natural wool to be sold in a small shop behind the church or to be sent to Germany. For many of the women and their families this is the only source of income.

Knitting, felting and their potential for synergies: Viscri as a model in the fight against poverty

Purely handmade products from Viscri: a new perspective for jobs

One horse-drawn carriage after another is turning into the cobbled street towards Viscri’s fortified church that sets off beautifully against the wide-spanning green hills. Just as village’s historic centre, the church is one of Romania’s UNESCO heritage sites. Entering Viscri is like time travel to the middle ages but it is also a model village for doing things


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differently: no beggars and no discrimination of Roma can be found here. The coachman and the woman knitting at the roadside are on par with each other. “Almost all children here go to school, which is very different from other villages,” Tina Bing announces happily. Together with Annette Schorb – both of them German “dropouts” who have come here on the quest for a simpler life – Bing is working with socially disadvantaged people. When they started, things were very different in Viscri. Today however, initial projects like a street school or meals for the poor seem outdated. Since the fall of communism, approx. 70% of Viscri’s inhabitants are Roma. Due to the lack of job and educational opportunities and the missing transport connection, many of them are stuck in a vicious circle of poverty – or leave for the West. However, Viscri is an exception. “Indeed, it has to be emphasised

Support for the project from Germany Since 2007, the project is supported by InSoPro, an association from Stegen in Germany. “I don’t know if it was by chance or fate, but I arrived just in time as the founders of ‘Viscri Incepe’, Maria and Harald Rise, went back to Germany,” Gabriele Gottschall, who heads the association, remembers. Thanks to her, the project “Good things from Viscri” received a grant from Baden Württemberg Foundation. Now, they want to expand and stabilise sales through a web-platform and marketing, and form networks with projects in other villages, such as in Stejarisu where people have now been felting for a year as well. “We are very open for connections, even if it is with potential competitors,” says Tina Bing. The women of “Viscri Incepe” have learned that they are stronger if they work together: Ungrudgingly, they have taught others how to felt. Clan-like thinking has been replaced by a new sense of community. “The most important thing is for the women to learn how to be self dependent,” Anette Schorb emphasises. They attend courses on

Roma project

marketing, communication and organisation. Synergies are created with youth work, homework mentoring or communal school transport. The community has even employed a nurse who makes daily house calls. What makes the initiative special is its broad range of offers and the emerging networking with other villages. For example, a group working with handicapped youths will soon cooperate with a partner organisation in Cobor and a self-help group in Daisoara. “What’s very unique is that

room. Only judging from the façade, one might merely see poverty. When looking into people’s eyes, however, Viscari is full of pride, joy and hope! Nina May, journalist, Bucharest

Step by step in felted shoes: the business of the Roma women is growing.

we don’t have a separate Roma-project,” Tina Bing explains. Lots of visitors have come to the open day at the historic spinning mill. The rain has transformed the street into a muddy path and the visitors are crowding into the mill’s courtyard which is today used as a youth centre and a meeting place for the women. One girl is giving a felting demonstration while another is presenting the new storage

If you are interested in purchasing or distributing products from Viscri, please visit: www.viscri.de or www.viscrisocken.insopro.org viscri@gmx.net,

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Creative Industries

Creative Danube:

Future still undiscovered A number of students from Osijek, Croatia, and Stuttgart, Germany, have worked together for a year, visited 40 locations in 14 cities, and met many creative people. They travelled into the cities and discovered a whole new world of exciting artistic places and coffee shops. This journey was part of the one-year project “Creative Danube” which aimed to promote creative industries of small artistic districts in cities connected by the Danube. The project was supported by the Baden-Württemberg Foundation and it's final presentation was held in Beograd's Mikser House.

The students explored Ulm, Regensburg, Plzen, Linz, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Pécs, Maribor, Zagreb, Osijek, Novi Sad, Beograd and Timisoara. The project resulted in a book and an app which can be used tourist guides but that they are more than that! The main intention of the project was to put a spotlight on local artists who are highly proficient in their authentic line of work, but are not able to make a living out of it.

From Idea to Exploration Lecturers from Stuttgart Media University started the project and gathered students who had shown interest in art, but also a curiosity and enthusiasm towards adventure and exploration. Working in pairs, students visited ci-


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ties, explored their hidden nooks and alternative underground locations. Still unknown to most people, these hidden gems were the real treasury of the whole region. Now, artistic locations, cafés and artists are within reach to everyone, whether they would like to visit a conceptual café with plenty of books in Bratislava, a gallery in Regensburg or underground clubs in Timisoara. All of this is now available in an application which can be used as both tourist guide and notebook.It was a challenge for many of the students to dive into the unknown. Jessica Turk, a student from Stuttgart, visited Maribor in Slovenia. Getting there was difficult, she said, considering Maribor is already well known for its cultural heritage. “The most difficult task was to define

what we really wanted to find. What is creativity exactly? I went to Maribor, but I had no clue what I would find there. We got to know a cultural scene that was so different from that in Germany.] It was difficult to put all of the twelve people we met and places we visited into a single short report. The most important thing the project has taught me is how to be more organised," Jess explained. Tanja Veber, who went on “Mission Timisoara”, had a more challenging task, since Timisoara’s alternative scene is more demanding and hidden. “It was kind of scary, to be honest. We didn't know the country's language, culture or mentality, and were supposed to speak with locals about their hid-

Creative Industries den creative artistic places. It was a great test-run for being a real journalist”, Tanja elaborated. Ivona Maršić from Osijek also was one of the project participants. She was looking for unusual and artistic places in Bratislava and, though the city was one of the better-known destinations, discovered was more than she expected. “I realized that people who live and work in Bratislava are the best source to find out how everything works around here and where to find those cozy corners. For me, the designer Dana Kleinert was most helpful. She showed me “The Bridge”, a place where Slovak artists gather to search for inspiration. And there is Gorilla café, a great mix of coffee shop, library and book store," Ivona said.

Future of the Creative Industries Besides tourism the project focused on the developing creative industries in cities of the Danube region. The initiators of the project from Stuttgart Media University realised the significance of small creative districts and artists who make art that is still affordable but not sufficiently visible in public. The keynote at the final meeting was held by Sanda Šimić, assistant to the Director of Serbia’s European Integration Office, who is in charge of cross-border and transnational co-operation projects. She explained why it is high time to realise projects in the cultural sector. Although there are already 300 similar projects in Serbia, she admitted at the beginning of her talk that she had herself not known the concept of "creative industries”.

“I have a confession to make! I had never heard of the concept of creative industry before, until I came here and discussed it with the professors from Stuttgart. I would encourage you to use the next application phase for IPA funds for trans-national cooperation in the region. I can announce that one try-out between Serbia and Croatia will begin soon," said Šimić. As Iva Nenadić, one of the organizers at Mikser House, said, the meeting was not only about the presentations, but a chance for the participants to develop ideas for further projects. “This meetup is the last stage of Creative Danube, but it’s not the end. Beograd's artists who are gathered here can continue their cooperation. The book and the app are all about the stories of the cities and artists as perceived by the students. They travelled all around the region and they have written their reports. They found people who do something different, and places far beyond the usual”, said Iva.

"Creative Danube is an opportunity, for those who live in Beograd, to discover their creative quarters and places and local artist. The project has contributed to many discoveries.”, Kühnle said. “Creative Danube – place to see, place to be” was a first project to deal with the small bout existential problems of the cultural scene. It connected young people and exceptional artists, uncovered unusual place and presented it to the public. Thanks to the effort of curious students and their mentors, alternative culture has become more visibility and gained a chance for economical sustainability. Nataša Šaru, journalist, Novi Sad

Professor Boris Kühnle from Stuttgart Media University said that students who participated in this creative exploration of Danube cities had the specific task to identify places with economical potential. Therefore, he believes, the project was important for increasing public visibility of those places and people.

Prof. Kühnle and Iva Nenadic with the project "Creative Danube" at Mikser-House, Belgrade.

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“Europe’s Amazon”

Croatia is famous for its lush nature and abundance of water which has been under statutory protection since 1891. One of the most beautiful and interesting regions is the national ´ Rit, one of Europe’s largest wetland habitats in the tri-state-area of Croatia, park Kopacki Hungary and Serbia.

The water makes its way over the broad fields and nature takes the space it needs. Birds are gliding over the wetlands and entire flocks are sitting in the trees. Standing here, one can see and feel flora and fauna taking a breath and replenishing their powers. Around the Slavonian village of Kopačevo, where the Drava meets the Danube, Kopački Rit (wetlands of Kopač) can be found with its wetlands, woods and floodplains. The region has been preserved in its original state by continuous floods. As part of the larger biosphere reserve Mur-Drava-Danube it is known as “Europe’s Amazon” and under statutory protection: 23,000 ha in size, the national park has been protected under the Ramsar Convention since 1993 and was nominated as a UNESCO natural heritage site in 1999. Within the park a zoological reserve of 7,700 ha was created in which any human intervention is prohibited; even experts only enter the area twice a year. Due to this protection, the wetlands


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have a rich fauna with more than 2,000 species. Most astonishing is the diversity of birds: Experts have registered 300 different species, among them rare ones such as the white-tailed eagle, the wood ibis or the white-eyed pochard. The park is an important refuge for migratory birds who rest and feed up there. At the same time, the wetlands hold more than 55 different fish species such as the rare sturgeon. Beavers and otters can be found at the waters and the woods are populated by deer, wildcats and grey wolves. While the Danube’s wetlands shows many riverside forests and white willows, the Drava attracts softwoods and the northern part of the park around Tikveš Castle hardwoods.

Tours on Foot, Water and Bicycle At the entrance to the national park a visitor centre can be found. In 2015 a system of plank paths was added on which visitors can walk directly over the water. From this starting point one can embark on guided tours on foot,

On the nature trails visitors can explore the ´ rit close to the water without getting Kopacki their feet wet.

boat or canoe. The centre also offers mixed tours on land and water. The wetlands are located along two international bicycle trails (“Pannonian Peace” and “Danube Route”) and can be explored by bike. Furthermore, hunting- and fishing-permits can be obtained for specific areas. Despite a large tradition, commercial fishing is generally forbidden. Kopačevo was founded as a fishermen’s village in the 13th century. Even during the Ottoman Invasion its inhabitants have been living on fishery. Only the straightening of the river in the 19th century and the foundation of the national park in 1967 limited fishing. In 1982, it was generally prohibited. Today, the locals depend on vegetable cultivation and tourism. Since 1998 the former tradition is honoured with the “Kopačevo Fishing Days”. Every year in September the gastrono-


mic festival offers local delicacies such as fish goulash or grilled fish. In 2012, a petition against a Croatian government project signed by over 20,000 people was an enormous victory of environmentalists. According to activists the Croatian Department of Environment had planned on straightening the river along the Croatian-Serbian boarder which would have endangered the damageable connection between the wetlands and the Danube. Thanks to the continuous international protest, the ministry abandoned its plans in spring 2014.

Cross-border Co-operation – Towards an “International Park”? Located only 25km from the Hungarian border, experts consider the wetlands a “natural continuation” of the Hungarian national park DunaDráva. The wetlands span across a larger area to Hungary and even the Serbian natural reserve Gornje Podunavlje (“Upper Danubian Lowland”). Nevertheless, it does not form a continuous protected area. As Part of the European Co-operation Programme “Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance” (IPA) 2008-2013, a HungarianCroatian sub-programme tackled this issue. Joint projects were implemented in the areas of environmentalism, (eco-) tourism, infrastructure, and also worked on the clearance of land mines that still remain on both sides of the border after the Yugoslav Wars. The bicycle-trail project “Greenway Baranya” covers a 247km long tour from Osijek through the national park and alongside the Danube via Pécs to Bakonya and from September 2014 to November 2015 a cross-border environmental projects worked on developing the biosphere reserve Mur-Drava-Danube, which the national park is

a part of. Six Croatian Župas and the Hungarian administration of the national park Danube-Drava co-operated on the project. The budget of 930,000 Euro (791,000 Euro of which were EU grants) were used on the rehabilitation of the landscape, on building a monitoring system and creating new facilities as well as sites for ecotourism. The migratory birds seem to have had a cross-border approach all along: the migration line, mapped by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources spans across the national park Duna-Dráva, Kopački Rit in Croatioa and Gornje Podunavlje in Serbia. Daniel Hirsch, journalist Budapest

More than 23000 hectares of flooded land are serving as livelihood of numerous animal and plant species.

Accommodation: A well-known booking platform shows a number of 40 accommodations around Kopacki Rit, among them the 4-star-hotels “Hotel Osijek” (175 Euro/night) and “Apartman Cesarc” (87 Euro) in Osijekt, “Hotel Lug” in Bilje (47 Euro), or “Apartment Vunica” (65 Euro) and “B&B Majhen” (75 Euro) in Kopacevo.

Bicycle rental: For the exploration of the park on one of the many bicycle trails, the national park’s visitor centre offers bicycles at a fee of approx. 10 Kuna/ hour. Several trail maps are available as well.

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Profile for danube connects

danube connects – the magazine for the danube countries, 1/2016  

Special edition on tourism & culture - objectives , events and projects.

danube connects – the magazine for the danube countries, 1/2016  

Special edition on tourism & culture - objectives , events and projects.