The tower in the picture is the Martin Hoop IVa coal mining shaft in the East German district of Zwickau. The last time black coal was digged up through this shaft dates back to 1978 already. The tower stood abandoned ever since.
Now, 40 years later the giant landmark turned into a piece of art for everyone - thanks to an investment by our Inducult2.0 project. The project brings together central European regions that value their industrial culture. Together they develop their regional identity profiles based on the concept of "living industrial culture", including the redesign of abandoned urban spaces is part.
The new look of the old building was created by Christoph Steyer from nearby Leipzig after he won an international contest. He is a renowned illustrator and designer of urban spaces under the pseudonym "Flamat". With his art, he wants "to make people stop and linger. Either they break for a few seconds from everyday life and find something just nice and funny, or they are irritated."
Living in rural parts of central Europe has its perks including fresher air and a quieter life. But there are also problems, especially if you have no car. How do you then get to your job in a nearby city? Or how do you reach a doctor in the next village?
Public transport connections are often weak in rural areas. In Osterburg, the Ministry of Regional Development and Transport in Saxony-Anhalt recently launched a first so-called "citizen bus" to improve the situation. The new bus service is run by volunteers, who are often retired people that want to give back to the community in their spare time.
The service was introduced in February 2018 as a pilot action of our transnational RUMOBIL project. It covers eight different routes on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Upon request the service can also be used on weekends, taking local children to clubs and youth camps or sporting tournaments.Other regions across central Europe will be able to learn from the test, which was extended to a second community in May 2018.
In line with the slogan "Our bus for everything that is needed" both communities can now indeed get the most out of living in the countryside in an environmentally friendly way.
Many industrial processes generate heat as a byproduct. Unfortunately, this heat is more often wasted than used - despite its huge potential for reducing regional energy consumption.
So why is it not used? Among the main problems are that waste heat cannot travel too far and that technology for transferring it does not come cheap.
Public and private partners from across central Europe are working together to improve this situation. They partnered up in our CE-HEAT project and developed a new methodology for better utilizing waste heat. This methodology is now tested in a Slovenian hydro-power plant in Fala, where the immense heat produced by the plant will no longer drift away into the atmosphere. Instead it will warm the nearby Hydroelectric Power Plant Museum and help it to cut energy bills by about 60 percent.
Museums and their collections are there for everyone to enjoy. Too often reality is different, however: Various barriers may prevent disabled people from accessing them.
Partners in our COME-IN! project embrace the challenge of making our museums more accessible. Cooperation is central for them to remove barriers in museums and to make them more inclusive. Thanks to their new guidelines for museum operators more of us can hopefully soon enjoy more exhibitions across central Europe.
On European Cooperation Day 2018, COME-IN! presented achievements to policy makers from EU finance ministries. At the fringe of an Austrian EU Presidency meeting, financial attachés could experience the Vienna art history museum as visitors with visual impairments.
"Our city has a great quality of life but we are having trouble to find the right people for the job." Alexander Fleischmann, CEO and founder of the design agency KOCMOC in Leipzig, faces a familiar problem for creative companies in middle-sized cities. Skilled workers rather move to near-by capital cities like Berlin and Budapest.
One solution to keep creative people in smaller cities is the establishment of creative clusters. Our project Creative Cities pioneered an action plan for cluster creation already back in 2011. In a cooperative effort, project partners from five countries convinced public authorities in cities such as Pecs, Genova and Leipzig to communicate less formally. They also helped companies to better align their business strategies to official planning.
As a result, creative jobs are blossoming in these places. Film maker Alina Cyranek met some creative minds in Leipzig after the project end and documented their thoughts in a series of short videos.
Mrs Huber, aged 86, has been knitting all her life. She learnt the technique from her mother, who had learnt it from her mother in turn. The knowledge had been passed down from generation to generation.
Today, Mrs Huber is the only person left in the small village in the Styrian Alps who still knows about the local way of knitting. She says that the interest in knitting had been fading for a long time.
Now, however, young men and women have expressed their interest in learning how to knit and cooperation is central to find effective ways to help this and other handicraft traditions survive.
Thanks to CULTURECOVERY project Mrs Huber can pass on her knowledge to the young generation and keep the century-old tradition of knitting alive. Project partners invest in people on site and establish local structures for conveying knowledge and capabilities.
They connect Mrs Huber to the young people of the municipality and re-establish the forgotten bond between old and young, with the goal to preserve the local heritage of knitting for future generations.
Natural disasters are becoming more and more common in central Europe. They put people at risk but also our cultural heritage. They have struck some of central Europe’s most valued cultural attractions in recent years and threatened to destroy historic city centres. While professional rescue teams are perfectly trained to save people, they often do not know yet how to protect heritage. This is changing through cooperation in the ProteCHt2save project: Preservation experts and army rescue teams train together, they learn to speak one language and ensure that our heritage will not be lost.
More than 300 rail links exist across country borders in Europe. Unfortunately, not all of them are fully exploited and people in border regions often suffer from bad connections. Partners in the CONNECT2CE are working together to improve these underused rail links in central Europe. What their cooperation can achieve became clear only recently: in June 2018 the project launched an experimental extension of the Italy-Austria cross-border train Mi.Co.Tra. Over summer, passengers can now enjoy train journeys all the way from the Austrian Alps to the Italian seaside. Or the other way round of course.
Check connections and travel on the Mi.Co.Tra train.
Millions of tons of food are thrown away every year in central Europe.
Re-using or donating food is one of the key methods to change this. Based on strategies developed with other partners in the STREFOWA project, the Federation of Polish Food Banks increased food donations in Warsaw by 45% in a pilot action. On a relatively small scale the project thus shows the way forward for regions and cities across central Europe.
Read more about how food donations were collected from 215 shops and 185 restaurants.
Can young entrepreneurs boost regional growth and deliver change? Yes, they can! Our CERIecon project helps them to formulate and sell their creative ideas.
Building on cooperation and mutual exchange, entrepreneurs get new inspirations, training and coaching. They have diverse ideas ranging from application that helps bakery to sell their remaining food to social marketing for small sport clubs.
Watch the video from their start-up contest to find out more.
Many cities in central Europe are marked by a socialist past. High-rise buildings and abandoned industrial zones are often seen as obstacles to development. But there are creative ways to use this heritage: The Museum of Socialist Curiosities in the Slovak small town of Hnusta attracts visitors from all over the world. The museum and its permanent exhibition are the result of cooperation in our ReNewTown project. Around 100 iconic items were collected with support from the local community. Today, the museum also hosts company team-buildings and school visits.
Unused industrial sites can offer exciting new future places. Every bigger city has them and does not have to look at them as a burden. This was the case for Nuremberg in Bavaria. Thanks to our SECOND CHANCE project, finalised in 2013, an old AEG production hall has been turned into multifunctional space called “Werkstatt 141”. Nowadays the hall hosts concerts, exhibitions and workshops. But even more importantly the revitalised pilot became the forerunner of the big "Kulturwerkstatt auf AEG" project. An investment project run by the City of Nuremberg without our funds that transforms the site completely in the coming years. This small pilot grew into a real lighthouse project of urban redevelopment by building a new cultural identity.
How to become an eco-citizen
We all use too much energy in our daily lives and personally contribute to global warming. Switching to a more sustainable lifestyle is, however, no rocket science once you know how to. In our CitiEnGov project, partners cooperate to demonstrate simple ways to lower energy consumption. In three cities in Germany, Italy and Hungary they selected 10 households to compete on reducing their carbon footprints. Over several months, energy experts are coaching them in their transition efforts and winners will be announced soon.
Take a look at what households do in Ludwigsburg for example.
Kannabi is a Slovak start-up that offers a vegan milk alternative without additives, made primarily from canopy seeds, cashew nuts, vanilla, and coconut sugar. On top of great taste, Kannabi promises to boost your immune system, lower your cholesterol, as well as to beat those sugar cravings. With the support of our cooperation project CROWD-FUND-PORT, Kannabi ran a successful campaign on the crowdfunding platform HITHIT.
All in all, the project supports entrepreneurs in seven central European countries and helps them taking advantage of the crowdfunding phenomena.
Transnational cooperation underpins EU Cohesion Policy and contributes to strategic EU priority areas, including innovation, environment, energy, transport and social issues.
Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE also helps macro-regional strategies to succeed. We bring together stakeholders from geographically and culturally similar areas and help them to jointly address shared challenges and opportunities.
Transnational cooperation improves capacities for regional development related to innovation, CO2 reduction, natural and cultural resources as well as transport and mobility.
Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE supports cooperation like yeast supports baking. We are the small but important ingredient hat helps ideas grow: into jointly developed, tested and accepted solutions.