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Network activities 2022

Koblenz (DE): Aktion Mensch inclusion project at Feste Kaiser Franz approved

"#1 Barrier Less" is the name of the funding programme of the Aktion Mensch Lottery, which supports inclusive projects up to 5,000 € in Germany. After FORTE CULTURA was already able to realise 2 projects with the fortress city of Germersheim, a project with the City of Koblenz has now also been approved. The "Kaiser Franz Fortress Park" in Koblenz-Lützel, which will be newly opened in May 2022, is to become even more barrier-free. Audio files and flyers in easy language are being developed to make the special history of the fortress city of Koblenz easily accessible to as many people as possible. The new content will soon be available via a circular route along the information points in the Feste Kaiser Franz. The project is being carried out by FORTE CULTURA, together with the Fortress City of Koblenz (Eigenbetrieb der Stadt Koblenz Grünflächen- und Bestattungswesen) and is funded by the Aktion Mensch Lottery.

Berlin (DE): FORTE CULTURA General Assembly 2022

Around 35 members and guests from 7 countries took part in the online general meeting. In addition to the detailed reports from the Board of Directors and the Scientific Advisory Board, our FORTE CULTURA stations were also able to report on the many activities and trend-setting developments in their fortress monuments. During an extraordinary election, Filippo Cailotto (IT) was confirmed as the new Vice-President Cultural Heritage by the General Assembly. He replaces Huibert Crijns (NL), who announced his resignation for personal reasons in the summer. At the request of the Board, it was also decided to increase the FORTE CULTURA membership fees in 2 steps (2023 and 2024) (see new fee regulation). We would like to thank all members for their trust and the good cooperation.

Jaroměř (CZ): Fortified Ideal City Josefov complements the FORTE CULTURA cluster of "Bohemian Fortresses" in the Czech Republic

Josefov (Josefstadt) Fortress is located in Jaroměř, in Eastern Bohemia, near the Polish border at the confluence of the Aupa and Mettau rivers with the Elbe. It was built by the Habsburgs against Prussia in 1780-87 and renamed in memory of Emperor Josef II (formerly Fortress Ples). The so-called twin city of Terezín (Theresienstadt) is also a fortified ideal city and, with an area of 289 ha, is also one of the largest fortifications in Europe. In FORTE CULTURA it complements both the cluster of "Elbe Fortresses" and the new cluster of "Bohemian Fortresses" with Terezín and Prague. (Foto: Karelj)

Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki (PL): Fortress Modlin became new FORTE CULTUTRA station in Poland

One of the largest fortresses in Europe now complements the FORTE CULTURA stations in Poland. The Modlin fortress system is located 30 minutes north of Warsaw at the strategically important confluence of the Vistula, Narew and Wkra rivers. The Swedish King Charles Gustav first used the advantage of the location in 1660 and built a fortified camp. Napoleon had a fortification system built from 1809 onwards, which fell to Russia in 1813 and was expanded in several stages until 1915. Today, the Fundacja Nasza Historia company is developing parts of the fortress for sustainable use. FORTE CULTURA travelers can look forward to an exciting location with many impressions.

Kaunas (LT): Conclusion of the European Fortress Summer 2022

Since the kick-off on 6 April at the FORTE CULTURA Fortress Conference in Terezín (CZ), around 100 fortress events in more than 15 countries have participated in the European Fortress Summer 2022, powered by EFFORTS and FORTE CULTURA. The Fortress Summer now came to a close in Kaunas at the EFFORTS Annual Congress. FORTE CULTURA presented the new Fortress Summer video and the Ukrainian fortresses were symbolically honoured with this year's EFFORTS Award. The European Fortress Summer 2023 starts at the end of March in Šibenik (HR).

Kaunas (LT): EFFORTS Europe Annual Congress

Kaunas, as the European Capital of Culture 2022, was the venue of the EFFORTS Europe Annual Congress 2022. Fortification experts from 10 countries gathered to discuss European cooperation and to learn about developments in the Kaunas fortification system in workshops. In addition, the European Fortress Summer 2022 came to a close in Kaunas. The EFFORTS Award 2022 was presented to Olha Tikhonova, representing the Ukrainian fortifications.

Terezín (CZ): Fortified ideal city Terezín becomes second FORTE CULTURA station in the Czech Republic

Terezín is one of about 50 fortified ideal cities in Europe. Terezín, named after Empress Maria Theresa, was built by the Habsburgs against Prussia in 1780-90 in the area of the confluence of the Eger and Elbe rivers. The imposing ideal fortress city with an underground mine system some 20 km long is one of the largest fortresses in Europe. Theresienstadt achieved sad fame during the Second World War as a Nazi ghetto and prison. Today, the Small Fortress is a reminder of the dark past, while in the Fortress City, the city represents the impressive fortified heritage and the military history.

Rastatt (DE): Wehrgeschichtliches Museum Rastatt (WGM) becomes FORTE CULTURA station on the Upper Rhine

The Wehrgeschichtliches Museum Rastatt (WGM) is located in the south wing of the Residenzschloss in Rastatt and deals with modern German military history. On an area of around 1,500 m², the museum offers an overview of German, especially south-west German, military history from 1500 to 1918 and shows the connection between military, state and society. Director Dr Alexander Jordan is also a member of the FORTE CULTURA Scientific Advisory Board. Rastatt was also one of 5 fortresses of the German Confederation, along with Ulm, Mainz, Landau and Luxembourg.

Germersheim (DE): Next Aktion Mensch project breaks down barriers

After the successful completion of the Aktion Mensch project "Durchblick - Germersheim Erkennen", Germersheim has now received a second grant to break down barriers and expand the inclusive tourism offers in the fortress city. The project was applied for by FORTE CULTURA within the framework of the Aktion Mensch programme "# 1 Barrier Less", in which a non-profit organisation as applicant can remove barriers at a cooperation partner (e.g. public institutions). In the project, two additional locations will be integrated into the tour for blind and visually impaired people and a flyer will be produced in Braille.

Venice (IT): Conference Fortification Systems - from Border Sites to European Cultural Corridors

Forte Marghera, located on the bridge to the lagoon city of Venice, provided a worthy setting for the conference that brought together fortress experts from Italy, Finland, Germany, Poland, Croatia, Spain, Belgium and Ukraine. The event, hosted by Fondazione Forte Marghera and supported by EFFORTS and FORTE CULTURA, offered best practices in the field of fortress restoration, museology, tourism, digitalisation and much more. The conference was streamed live.

Venice (IT): Declaration on the foundation of the Joint Scientific Committee (JSC) of EFFORTS and FORTE CULTURA

EFFORTS and FORTE CULTURA form a great network of fortified monuments. But above all, this is a network of people, of experts from different fields of fortification heritage. When these experts come together and share their best practices and experiences, groundbreaking new ideas and project approaches emerge that contribute to the protection and sustainable use of the cultural heritage of fortified monuments. For this reason, a declaration to establish a Joint Scientific Committee (JSC) as a multidisciplinary pool of experts was signed during the conference at Forte Marghera. The centre of the new JSC of EFFORTS and FORTE CULTURA will be Forte Marghera.

Montenegro - Croatia - Bosnia Herzegovina: FORTE CULTURA Study Tour successfully completed

The exciting FORTE CULTURA study tour led by Dr. Hans-Rudolf Neumann this time led to the fascinating fortress heritage around the Bay of Kotor, with fortress buildings of the Venetians, the Ottomans, the Habsburg Monarchy, World War II and the Cold War. In addition, the fortresses in Trebinje, Herceg-Novi, Dubrovnik, Tivat and Budva were visited. A study tour to Morocco, among others, is planned for 2023, closing date for applications September 2022. (Foto: H.R. Neumann)


Short report of the Fortress Study Tour

Alsace (FR): Tourisme Destination Alsace (ADT) becomes FORTE CULTURA member

Alsace Destination Tourisme (AD) is the travel agency of the European Community of Alsace and is responsible for the development and promotion of tourism, especially in cross-border cooperation. Due to the varied French and German history of Alsace, there are many fortified monuments in the region. Together with FORTE CULTURA, the ADT would like to further strengthen this cultural heritage and sustainably expand the already numerous tourist offers. In addition, the ADT is an important partner for the FORTE CULTURA cluster of fortresses on the Upper Rhine.

Germersheim (DE): 5th symposium on the expansion of fortress cooperation on the Upper Rhine

Youth encounters and inclusion was the topic of this year's conference on the Upper Rhine. A good 30 representatives of the fortified monuments of the Upper Rhine gathered information in the town hall of the fortified town of Germersheim about project ideas, funding opportunities and best practices in the field of youth encounters and inclusion. Based on the exciting presentations, the participants developed their own ideas for the implementation of inclusive offers and youth encounters in their fortified monuments in a workshop. Report (PDF)

Banja Luka (BA): Final Conference of the FORTITUDE Project

The Interreg - IPA CBC project FORTITUDE came to its crowning conclusion in Bosnia. The event presented the outstanding results of the project partners in the field of regional and cross-border developments for fortress tourism. FORTE CULTURA and EFFORTS, who led the expert workshop on Heritage Digitization and Promotion in Karlovac (HR) in 2021 as part of the project, also presented their networks and signed a Memorandum of Understanding for future cooperation with the forts in Sibenik, Banka Luka, Karlovac and Bar.

Germersheim (DE): Fortress tour for blind and visually impaired people established

As part of a project funded by Aktion Mensch Lottrery in the programme "#1 Barrier Less", a fortress tour for blind and visually impaired people was set up together with FORTE CULTURA. The tour leads through the most prominent part of the fortress town of Germersheim and is equipped with tactile signs in Braille. Furthermore, a QR code makes it possible to play explanatory audio files for the respective location.

Other fortress locations in Germany can also break down barriers this year with FORTE CULTURA and the Aktion Mensch programme. Further information is available from the network office.

Armenia: FORTE CULTURA study tour successfully carried out

Originally planned for 2020, the study tour with Dr. Hans-Rudolf Neumann could only be carried out now due to the pandemic. The study tour led from Yerevan to Ambered, Dashtadem, Gyumri, Vandzor, Lori, Haghpat, Dilijan, Sevan, Bjni, Yeghegis, Tatev and back via Smataberd. Armenia's fortified heritage dates back to the Christian religious struggle against the surrounding religions, including fortified monasteries that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. (Foto: H.R. Neumann)

Medzhybizh (UA): Medzhybizh Fortress becomes first FORTE CULTURA station in Ukraine

FORTE CULTURA declares the Ukrainian fortress Medzhybizh a full member of the network during the International Symposium in Terezín. The fortress on the banks of the Bug River was previously a passive network member. With the upgrade, Medzhybizh now becomes the first official station of the European Cultural Route in Ukraine. Membership is non-contributory for an indefinite period. FORTE CULTURA is thus setting a sign of solidarity for the people in Ukraine.

Terezín (CZ): European Fortress Summer 2022 launched

The European Fortress Summer 2022 was opened with cannon salvos during the International Fortress Conference in Terezín. Until the final event on 5 October in Kaunas (LT), more than 200 exciting events will take place in European fortresses. Register your event free of charge for the European Fortress Summer: EFS Event Registration.

Terezín (CZ): International Fortress Conference successfully held

From 5-7 April, fortress experts from 7 countries met in the fortified ideal city of Terezín and conferred on the topic "Common European Cultural Heritage Fortified Monuments - Initiatives for Transnational Cooperation and Networking". The aim of the conference was to draw attention to today's challenges for the cultural heritage of fortified monuments and to present best practices of transnational cooperation, projects and networking. The fortress conference was part of a cross-border funding project in the Euroregion Elbe/Labe DE-CZ. Project partners are Terezín - město změny, the Fortress Königstein gGmbH and the FORTE CULTURA Network. Results Terezin 2022

Wroclaw (PL): FORTE CULTURA at the tourism fair

From 4-6 March the International Tourism Fair Targi Turystyki took place in the stadium of Wroclaw (PL). FORTE CULTURA was present at the stand of the fortress Königstein as well as at the joint stand of Seelow-Kostrzyn nad Odra and could inspire many guests for the versatile stations of our cultural route, especially in Poland. For this purpose, the FORTE CULTURA flyer and the network flyer were reissued in Polish. Check out the opportunities to present your fortress and FORTE CULTURA at regional tourism fairs.

Hatten (FR): Musée de l´Abri de Hatten wird neue FORTE CULTURA Station im Elsass

The Abri de Hatten is located in Hatten, Alsace, about 50 km from Strasbourg and 40 km from Karlsruhe. Abri means shelter, which is somewhat of an understatement, for a Maginot Line bunker designed for 220 crew. The Musée de l'Abri dedicates its 28 exhibition rooms to the moving local history and in particular the Battle of Hatten in January 1944. In addition to the bunker and other exhibition buildings, the museum grounds include the "Forest of Remembrance" memorial and a rich collection of military equipment and vehicles from 1939 to the present day, divided according to their country of origin. Since March 2022, the Musée de l'Abri de Hatten has enriched the diverse fortress landscape of the European cultural route FORTE CULTURA.

Germersheim (DE): “Aktion Mensch” project "#1 Barrier Less" approved

FORTE CULTURA, in partnership with the City of Germersheim, has received a grant of €5,000 from Aktion Mensch. As part of the campaign "#1 Barrier Less", the Germersheim Fortress is to be made more accessible for blind and visually impaired people. The aim of the project is to signpost a circular route with Braille around the Weissenburg Gate. The circular route is to be inaugurated in April 2022. Further information can be found in the Germersheimer Stadtanzeiger.


You would also like to have "#1 Barrier Less" in your fortress? Contact our network office!

Prague (CZ): Vyšehrad Fortress becomes FORTE CULTURA station in Prague

The Prague Fortress Vyšehrad National Cultural Monument becomes the first FORTE CULTURA member in the Czech Republic. The fortress above the Vltava River offers a beautiful view over the Czech capital as well as a museum, a cathedral and many leisure activities. Prague Vyšehrad was already involved in the activities of the FORTE CULTURA Regional Cluster Elbe Fortresses and now wants to take advantage of all the benefits of membership as a fully-fledged Station of the Cultural Route.

Cochem (DE): Federal Bank Bunker as new FORTE CULTURA station on the Moselle

The Federal Bank bunker in Cochem was a carefully camouflaged secret of the FRG for decades. During the Cold War, 15 billion German marks were stored here in an area of around 1,500m² as secret currency reserve in case of an emergency. Since 2016, the former nuclear bunker has been an exciting museum for German history during the Cold War, managed by Reuter & Reuter GbR. Since January 2022, the Federal Bank bunker in Cochem has complemented the fascinating fortress world of the European Cultural Route FORTE CULTURA.

Bellheim (DE): Queich line strengthens FORTE CULTURA regional network on the Upper Rhine

With the entry of the municipality of Bellheim into the FORTE CULTURA network, a large part of the Queich line becomes a new stop on the European Cultural Route. The Queich is a small river that rises in the Palatinate Forest and flows into the Rhine near Germersheim. In the 18th century, the Queich lines were built as field fortifications during the War of the Austrian Succession. They stretched along the Queich for a good 30 km from Annweiler via Landau to the Rhine at Germersheim. Some of them are still preserved and are popular excursion destinations, maintained by the Bellheim Cultural Association.


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