Project ECRR - European Cultural Route of Reformation

In July 2016 started project “European Cultural Route of Reformation” (ECRR) with a kick-off event in the headquarters of the City Administration of Lutherstadt Eisleben signalizing the beginning of the three-year project (July 2016 - June 2019) funded by Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE.

The project is one of a kind in its scope and goals as it is the first regional development initiative in Central Europe aiming at capitalizing upon the Reformation heritage. In the past this heritage has been widely neglected as a regional resource. The project seeks to consolidate the reformation legacy as part of the joint history and culture of Central Europe in a common agenda and identity. The consortium comprises twelve partners including regional and rural development agencies (Association for Rural Development Thuringia, Regional Development Agency of South Bohemia, Regional Development Agency of the Pilsen Region), public administrations (City of Velenje, Self-Government of Szabolcs-Szatmár- Bereg County), association of municipalities (Association Municipalities in the Upper Tisza Area), research bodies (Higher Institute on Territorial Systems for Innovation), tourism-related entities (Upper Austrian Tourism Board, Lower Silesian Tourist Organization, Mansfeld - Südharz Marketing GmbH) and clerical partners (Protestant Church of Augsburg Confession Austria, Church and Tourism Association) in seven different countries (Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovenia).

The project aims at fostering learning and capacity building on management of Reformation-themed cultural heritage via knowledge transfer: firstly, within the partnership in form of a mentoring scheme between experienced and less experienced regions; secondly, from existing recognized cultural routes and thirdly, from the partnership to the local population and stakeholders via trainings. An action plan to guarantee the sustainable and long-lasting management of the Reformation cultural heritage route will be developed and established - this action plan is expected to be adopted also in regions beyond the Project’s geographical scope. Furthermore an application for the official recognition as European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe is to be submitted by the end of the project. To achieve these ambitious goals the project is structured in three closely linked thematic work packages. Eight regions, Tisza Valley (Hungary), Torre Pellice (Italy), Velenje (Slovenia), Eisleben, Erfurt (Germany), Jawor (Poland), České Budějovice and Pilsen Region (Czech Republic) will serve as pilot areas where new infrastructure in form of digital information points and plates will be installed to provide visitors from all over world with the most relevant insights.

The benefits for the involved regions in the stable management structure of the route are expected to be manifold and long lasting. A valorisation of Reformation-themed cultural heritage will be strengthened, its joint and comprehensive management promoted and consolidated, available capacities to handle it will grow and attractiveness for visitors will increase. All in all the project is expected to contribute to a sustainable development of regions especially through the promotion of sustainable tourism.

For further information on the “European Cultural Route of Reformation” Project please contact the co-workers at the Municipality of Velenje (ecrr@velenje.si).

Information Box – What is Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE?

The Interreg Program was launched in 1990 as a cornerstone of the EU Cohesion Policy. The Program provides a framework for the implementation of collective actions and policy exchanges between actors in different Member States. Throughout these more than 25 years the Interreg has evolved and expanded, especially its budget and foci, and comprehends three different types of programs: cross-border, transnational and interregional. For the current period, 2014-2020, a total budget of 10.1 billion € is foreseen and  the investment priorities range from research and innovation, information and communication technologies, competitiveness of SMEs, to low-carbon economy, combating climate change, environment and resource efficiency, sustainable transport, employment and mobility, social inclusion, education and training and better public administration.

The Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE is part of the Interreg Transnational Cooperation Program (with a total budget 2.1 billion €), its geographical scope comprehends Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, and has an available budget of 246 million €. The Program’s funding priorities are innovation to increase competitiveness, low carbon strategies, natural and cultural resources for sustainable growth and transport for better connection.