project partners

Who is participating?


Lead Partner – Steirisches Vulkanland – Association for the Advancement of Steirisches Vulkanland, Austria

The region
The region of Steirisches Vulkanland is situated in the South-East of the province of Styria, Austria, at the border to Slovenia and next to the Hungarian border. It covers more than 1.100 km² with about 100.000 inhabitants. The landscape, lying in the foothills of the Alps, is dominated by smooth hills which have partly been shaped by volcanoes and many small rivers. Especially the valleys and the southern slopes are used by the small structured agriculture.

The organisation
Steirisches Vulkanland – precisely: Verein zur Förderung des Steirischen Vulkanlands - is an association, representing 79 communities in 5 districts, which has been leading the process of regional development in the region of Steirisches Vulkanland since 1995.

Regional development
The goal of the development is to make the region fit for the future - in human, ecologic and economic terms. Therefore, the main fields of activity are our culture of living, our relation to our living environment and the regional economy. In the field of economy we want to become a culinary region, a region of crafts and a region of vitality. Furthermore, the region wants to cover its energy demand by 100% from regional, renewable resources by 2025.

Up to now, the process could change a lot in the region, most notably the creation of a new identity, self-confidence, increased entrepreneurship and a common brand.

The regional development focuses on the valorisation of existing knowledge, skills and capabilities and intends to capitalise the regionally specific natural, human, cultural and social resources.

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Project partner 2 – Kulturpark Eisenstraße – Culture park Iron Road-Oetscherland, Austria

The region
The region “Kulturpark Eisenstraße-Ötscherland” is situated in Austria, in the South-Eastern part of Lower Austria. The 5 elements fire, water, soil, wood and metal have always been important for the region: Fire, water and wood have been the basis for the production of iron (element metal) which was the reason for the wealth of the region. The fertile soil was the basis for the nutrition of the blacksmiths and the other workers, not only in our region but also in others. Nowadays, the visitors of “Kulturpark Eisenstraße” can encounter the 5 elements in more than 170 destinations: They can visit forges and observe blacksmiths at their work, but also see how timber has been transported in former times by water power.

The organisation
The institution “Kulturpark Eisenstraße” exists since 1996 and has always been working in the domain of regional development. It comprises 25 municipalities and 66.000 inhabitants. With its project “Dokumentation Eisenstraße” Kulturpark Eisenstraße won the EDEN-award in 2008. In this project knowledge about the region was collected and published in the database “Schatzsuche Eisenstraße” with more than 100.000 data records.

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Project partner 3 – Verona Innovation - Special Agency of the Chamber of Commerce of Verona, Italy

Veneto Region:
Veneto is the 8th largest region in Italy located in the north-eastern part of Italy. Though being a heavily industrialized region, it offers a rich cultural heritage and natural environment. With Venice as main attraction. Verona is the western-most province of the Veneto Region, near Garda Lake and at the feet of the pre-alpine mountains, it enjoys a strategic and fortunate climatic position.

Verona Innovazione:
Verona Innovazione – Special Agency of the Chamber of Commerce of Verona is an independent, not-for-profit business support and networking organization that aims to enhance the economical and sustainable development of the local territory, focusing on quality and innovation by development strategies, implementing projects and providing services to SMEs.

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Project partner 4 - LaMoRo development agency, Italy

The Region
The Piemonte region is set in the Western part of Italy. Its name means “at the foot of mountains”. Most of the population live in the plain, especially in the wide metropolitan area of Turin, where most industries are located. Agriculture is very important, the main products being rice, wine, maize, potatoes and the precious white truffle. Tourism is lively especially in the winter resorts of the Alps and the hills of Langhe and Monferrato (candidate of being inserted into the World Heritage list).

The organisation
Born in 1995 as a consortium of public and private bodies, LAMORO is in charge of improving the development opportunities for a vast rural area in Italy in terms of sustainable development strategies. LAMORO’s mission is to increase levels of socio-economic development through the support of local/municipal actors and their associations. Core activities are represented by the management of EU funded projects and the promotion of cultural heritage.

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Project partner 5 - Development centre of the Heart of Slovenia, Slovenia

The region
THE HEART OF SLOVENIA is a brand which geographicly connects the area in the shape of the heart with geometric centre of Slovenia GEOSS as the focal point, aiming at development of partnership co-operation and connection of individual participants. In this way it wants to arouse the creative potential of the space, as well as the quality of staying in it. The Heart of Slovenia is the brand connecting projects, events, initiatives and products, where the key element is connecting people who live and create in this area. On 1.555 km2 (7,7% area of Slovenia) live around  196.000 inhabitants. Main pillars for development of our local area are tourism, entrepreneurship and environment.

The organisation
The Development Centre of the Heart of Slovenia was founded by the Municipality Litija in 2000 as motivator of entrepreneurial environment on local level. We are recognised today as coordinator of development projects in the area of mutually linked municipalities; with our projects we successfully enter the wider regional and European environment. We have been launching innovative recognitions as added value into educational, economic and local fields and we have been interconnecting them. In this way, by our work, we develop environment to be open for new development challenges.

Heritage for sustainable development
One of the objectives of the priorities in development strategy of the LAG Heart of Slovenia 2007-2013 is upgrading of thematic channels, with an emphasis on the exploitation of the rich cultural heritage.

The common thread of the Heart of Slovenia area is an exceptionally rich cultural and natural heritage, linked to the first joint product brand Knocking on the door of heritage. These are selected and marked points of heritage, which are linked to other tourism points. They are also basis for the creation of tourism facilities in the future.

We believe that the integration of heritage in tourism can contribute to sustainable development and improve the quality of life in rural areas.

More information:, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Project partner 6 - Local Tourist Organisation Bovec, Slovenia

The region:
The Land of Bovec is situated in the north-western side of Slovenia. It covers around 1.100 km² with about 3.300 inhabitants. The territory is fully in line with the area of the municipality of Bovec. The Land of Bovec is best known for its protected natural values, but also for several ethnological, technical, linguistic and other specialities.

In an effort to preserve the natural and cultural heritage in  the Land of Bovec , the Soca valley with the project Tales of the Soca in 2008 bacame a "European Destination of Excellence".

The organization
The Local tourist organization of Bovec was founded in 2000 by the Municipality of Bovec. It is a public institution, established to promote the development of tourism in the municipality of Bovec, strengthening the competitive position of tourism providers in the market, contributing to the overall economic development of the municipality and improving the quality of life of citizens.

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Project partner 7 - Winehill Sheperd Association, Hungary

The region
The Small Region of Vasvár is located in West-Hungary. It covers 474 km2 and has nearly 15.000 inhabitants. It comprises 23 settlements with a centre of the little town of Vasvár with 4500 inhabitants. The small region belongs to the underdeveloped regions from an economic point of view – without significant industry and still relying mostly on agriculture. However, the region is rich in historical, cultural, natural, geological values which are still waiting for their utilization.

The organisation
The Hegypásztor Kör was founded in 1985 by young people from Oszkó with the aim to document and safeguard the old thatched-roof wine cellars of the local wine hill. Besides the original goals, the activity of the association was extended by the following fields: rural development, safeguarding traditional cultural values, tourism development, vine-culture / enology, youth activity, telehouse services, supporting local products – to name some of the wide range of activities. The typical bottom-up self-organization, by keeping its community developing character, became a social employer, a real non-profit unit.



Project partner 8 - Sub-Carpathian Chamber of Commerce, Poland

The region
The Podkarpackie is a province in south-eastern Poland. Its cultural life mostly thanks to numerous cultural institutions, which exist in the province. They initiate important cultural events, and motivate artists to participate in undertakings meant to preserve the cultural heritage, as well as inspire them to create new trends. The rich offer proposed by different institutions, takes into account many different tastes and supports artists in actively creating the cultural image of the province. For centuries, the lands of the Podkarpackie province were part of a national, cultural and religious borderland. This situation generated a cultural symbiosis based on coexistence of many different minorities, ethnic and ethnographic groups. Many of the material relics of culture are gone or forgotten. However, the original customs are still cultivated, and gain increasing popularity among the members of young generations. Preservation of cultural heritage is becoming the challenge, to save it for the future generations… The Podkarpackie province enchants tourists with the diversity of its nature, landscapes and culture. The diversity and multitude of various peculiarities has been helpful in marking out theme routes, which should lead to all the interesting places and objects. The most interesting routes are the ones, which allow tourists to admire the real “pearls” of architecture, but also to wander the province following the footsteps of historic people or proceed along the route of handicraft centers, for example: The Wooden Architecture Route, The Lubomirski Family Estates Route, The Pottery Route, The Icon Route, The Soldier Švejk Route, The Petroleum Route.

The organisation
The Sub-Carpathian Chamber of Commerce is an independent non-governmental organization, created in 1994. Main goal of the Chamber is regional development, based on the development of the enterprise and innovation, as well as protection of cultural heritage – tangible and intangible. According to the statue, basic tasks of the Chamber include, in particular: representation of the interests of the associated firms and other economic entities, organizing the help in solving theirs economic problems and supporting enterprise in the region.

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Project partner 9 - b&s consulting and training for the rural area GmbH, Germany

The region
East elbe country - this is the right-side bank of the Elbe district north of Saxony, which connects the Free State of Saxony with the neighboring states of Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt.

Here live to 161 km2 approximately 6,800 inhabitants (31.12.2010). In addition to the 29 districts of the two communities Arzberg and Beilrode, which together form a joint administration, the territory east of the Elbe are still parts of the county town of Torgau. The best known is Graditz, famous for its over 325-year tradition of horse breeding.

The region characterizes a charming landscape with an unspoilt nature. It is home for the Elbe beaver and white storks. Ostelbien also attracts many tourist attractions. Besides the historic buildings of nine castles, manors and stately homes, the twelve churches in the region are considered architectural gems.

The organisation
b&s consulting and training for the rural area GmbH was founded in 1990 in Leipzig. The company is active in consulting and education especially in rural areas and in rural development. The project works b & s very closely with the association for the preservation and promotion of east elbe country in the district north of Saxony. Today is the in 1997 founded east elbe association of 63 members (2 municipalities, 9 associations, 11 companies and 41 individuals) the recognized governing body of the region and the motor of the regional development.

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Project partner 10 – Brandenburg University of Technology – Chair Intercultural Studies, Germany

The organisation
The Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus was founded in 1991 as the only technological university in the Federal State of Brandenburg. The Chair Intercultural Studies has been in existence since 1994, the World Heritage Studies programme since 1999, the International Graduate School of Heritage Studies at Cottbus University began its activities in early 2010. BTU Cottbus is a research-intensive technological university with a balanced emphasis on theory and practical applications, the major research areas include: environment, rational use of energy, evaluation of cultural landscapes, innovative planning and building.

The International Graduate School of Heritage Studies at Cottbus University is a culmination of efforts to integrate cultural and technological studies. The Graduate School will enhance research on the protection and use of heritage by examining phenomena of transformation caused by globalisation. The Graduate School draws on the experience of the World Heritage Studies programme as well as on the expertise of the associated university chairs.



Associated Partner: Austrian Commission of UNESCO - National Agency for the Intangible Cultural Heritage

The UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was established within the context of the 32nd session of the UNESCO General Conference of 2003 and constitutes one of the organization’s seven conventions with regard to culture.

The main objectives of this Convention are:

  • to safeguard the intangible cultural heritage,
  • to ensure respect for the intangible cultural heritage of the communities, groups and individuals concerned,
  • to raise awareness at the local, national and international levels of the importance of the intangible cultural heritage, and of ensuring mutual appreciation thereof,
  • and to provide for international cooperation and assistance.

Within the framework of the Austrian Commission for UNESCO, the National Agency for the Intangible Cultural Heritage is responsible for the implementation of the convention and the drawing up of the national inventory of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria.

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