Network activities


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Network activities 2019

Brussels (BE): FORTE CULTURA© meets Liberation Route Europe (LRE)

Fortress monuments and the Second World War have many points of contact. The European Cultural Route “Liberation Route Europe”, certified by the Council of Europe in 2019, leads on remembrance ways to the historical sites of the Second World War in Europe.


Remy Praud (Director LRE) and Dirk Röder (European Fortress Tourism and Fortress Marketing Network e.V.) met at the Brussels branch of Liberation Route Europe to discuss common travel topics, events and possible projects. For example, the commemorative events of our network initiative "75 years end of the Second World War in fortresses" will be parallel shared about the LRE's "Europe Remembers" label. At the beginning of 2020, both cultural routes want to draw up a cooperation agreement.

Antwerp (BE): EFFORTS Annual Congress 2019 “Fortified Heritage and Water - The European Dimension”

The fortress city of Antwerp hosted this year's General Assembly of EFFORTS (European Federation of Fortified Sites), during which Dirk Röder (European Fortress Tourism and Fortress Marketing Network e.V.) was elected to the board of the European network. EFFORTS is a Brussels-based fortress lobby organisation that is doing important work for the preservation and use of the cultural heritage of fortress monuments in Europe.


With candidacy and election, both networks underlined their intentions to work even more closely together in the future. The aim is to provide the most effective and comprehensive support for the interests of fortress monuments in Europe. Röder takes over the task of reorganizing member structures and strategic orientations in EFFORTS. In the first half of 2020, both networks intend to sign a cooperation agreement.

Cologne (DE): Symposium "One Hundred Years of the Cologne Green Lung - From Historic Defense Systems to the trendsetting Green System" in Geography Institute at the University of Cologne

Embedded between the opening speeches of the two organizers, the chairman of the association FORTIS COLONIA, Konrad Adenauer, and the treasurer of the Rheinischer Verein für Denkmalpflege RVDL, Rudolf Conrads, Dr.-Ing. Hans-Rudolf Neumann in his function as deputy chairman of the Association of the European Cooperation Center for the fortified cultural heritage ECCOFORT e.V. and at the same time Voting Member ICOFORT, transmitted his best regards and wishes to the conference.


In his message, Dr. Neumann pointed out the necessity of this meeting not only from an ecological point of view, but also with regard to cultural-historical developments, which are groundbreaking for the future. He also cited the two major European INTERREG projects "Baltic Fort Route" and "FORTE CULTURA®" realized by ECCOFORT e.V. In both projects, it has been proven that every occupation with historical fortress building substance also serves at the same time the sustainable ecological aspect of the environment. This applies above all to the area-intensive major fortifications such in Cologne, which often went into a cultural landscape. Moreover, the development of the European cultural route "FORTE CULTURA®" by means of historic fortifications would create instruments for a gentle and sustainable niche tourism on the way to a further and deeper unification of Europe.

Cologne (DE): Scientific Advisory Board active in Cologne

During the symposium "One Hundred Years of the Cologne Green Lung - From Historic Defense Systems to the Forward-Looking Green System" on 23 November 2019 in the Department of Geography at the University of Cologne, the Polish curator of the Scientific Advisory Board of FORTE CULTURA®, Marcin Gorski, gave the opening lecture.


Prof. Dr. inz. Gorski from the University of Warsaw spoke in German under the theme "From the green fortifications to greening the city". On the example of several European strongholds, he showed how the attitude towards the fortified cultural heritage changed several times. Historic forts now are considered not only as cultural-historical and technical monuments, but also play an important role in the ecological balance of a city. Outstanding examples are the major fortresses in Warsaw and Krakow, which at the same time have a special role for leisure and tourism.

Berlin (DE): FORTE CULTURA® meets Routes of Reformation

Following the talks during the yearly meeting of culture routes in Sibiu, representatives of Routes of Reformation and FORTE CULTURA® met in Berlin to discuss interfaces and joint activities.


Among others. They discussed the possibility of joint travel topics and routes and activities of co-marketing. Reformation and fortress architecture as well as fortress history have an interesting connection to each other, a good base, to reach more touristic attention for network members.

Ohrid (North Macedonia): New network member comes from North Macedonia

Ohrid is a city on the South West of the Republic North Macedonia at the same-named Ohrid lake at the border to Albania. This place is famous for its medieval churches and monasteries in the beautiful old city and the Samuel Fortress over the city, which goes back to Czar Samuel in the 11th century.


After intense personal exchange with our board member Agnieszka Zurawska-Tatala, the National Institution for the protection of monuments of culture and Museum – Ohrid declared its membership in the European Fortress Tourism and Fortress Marketing Network.

Ziegenhain (DE): symposium cultural heritage fortified monuments in Hesse and Thuringia

Ziegenhain is not just an imposing fortress city and therefore station on the culture route FORTE CULTURA, but it also belongs to the network of GrimmHeimat (home of Grimm) and the red riding hood land, touches the German Fairy Tale route and many other cultural topics.

This made Schwalm tourism discuss the possibilities of fortress tourism and a closer cooperation with culture routes, with our network and 24 experts, to reach a better market presence of the city Ziegenhain and Norther Hesse altogether.

The interface will be especially fortified castles and palaces as well as fortresses and fortress cities in Hesse and Thuringia. Among them the water fortress Ziegenhain, the fortified castle Marburg, the fortified castle Herzberg, the movie castle Querfurt, castle Felsberg, fortress Königstein in Taunus and the municipal Jesberg.

Engin Eroglu, member of the European Parliament and born in Ziegenhain appreciated, in a guest contribution, the initiative for fortress cooperation in tourism and marketing especially in the rural areas. Report (de)

Magdeburg (DE): 2nd forum cultural heritage Elbe fortresses

Rainer Nitsche, assigned by state capital Magdeburg in department III economy, tourism and regional cooperation, opened the “2nd forum cultural heritage Elbe fortresses”, in which besides Magdeburg, the mayor of Dömitz and representatives of Stade, Königstein, Terezin (CZ), Torgau, Dresde and the fortress network participated.

Among others, they discussed intensely joint marketing instruments for the new regional brand FORTE CULTURA® Elbe fortifications and joint activities for the season 2020.

During the following tour through the fortress city Magdeburg, the ravelin 2 was most impressive, which developed to a touristic pearl in Magdeburg due to enormous voluntary commitment under Rüdiger Stefanek and his restoration association “Ravelin 2” e.V..

Sibiu (RO): 9th Annual Advisory Forum on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe

Around 80 representatives of European culture routes, the Institute of Culture Routes Luxembourg and the EPA* member states met for a yearly meeting of culture routes of the European Council in Sibiu, Romania. FORTE CULTURA® and the European Fortress Tourism and Fortress Marketing Network acted as candidates for the certification as culture route by the European Council in the evaluation round 2020/21.

During the 3-day-symposium many contacts with representatives of the EPA* countries were made, to further implement FORTE CULTURA® as culture route in Europe. Moreover, cooperation possibilities and synergies with other European culture route were discussed.

*EPA= Enlarged Partial Agreement of Culture Routes by the European Council

Malta (MT): FORTE CULTURA® pilot tour successfully completed

As part of a FORTE CULTURA piloted tour to Malta and Gozo, initial contacts were established with the state-owned Maltese heritage organization HERITAGE MALTA. The participants of the pilot tour from four European countries were impressed by the restoration work on the fortifications in Malta and on Gozo. These ongoing efforts were mainly made between 2006 and 2016 with European Union Funds, Local Government Funds and private investment. So alone by a private real estate consortium, Fort Manoel in Gżira for about 60 million euros was restored. Chief executive of the two state forts St. Elmo and St. Angelo, Matthew Balzan, and senior executive marketing & sales, Ryan Vella, both from HERITAGE MALTA, welcomed the group to Fort St. Elmo and explained in the presence of architect Ruben Abela completed renovation work. The existence of a European cultural route was noted with great interest; it was promised to hand over the documents of FORTE CULTURA to the responsible board with regard to membership. All in all, it should be noted that the Maltese are aware of their historic fortress heritage and are trying hard to preserve it.

Malta (MT): First Honorary FORTE CULTURA® "Certified Guide" awarded to Malta

Due to her commitment in supporting the FORTE CULTURA pilot tour to Malta and Gozo, the local tourist guide Nynke van Ek has been awarded honorary with the "Certified Guide" by co-founder of the Cultural Route, Dr.-Ing. Neumann. A book documentary from last year's pilot tour to Gibraltar was also given to her. All participants were enthusiastic about their daily work in the area of a previously unknown task. Mrs van Ek confirmed that the future of cultural fortress tourism in Malta is very bright. This could develop in a long term as alternative and gentle tourism to a real enrichment in the already rich cultural offer of Malta. It would be important to have a central point that takes care of the coordination with the individual objects and events. In cooperation with MaltaVisit, the Fortress Interpretation Center offers very favorable conditions.

Berlin (DE): German-Chinese cooperation in fortress tourism and marketing signed

Representatives of the Chinese city of Shouzhou, the European Fortress Tourism and Fortress Marketing Network and ECCOFORT have signed a memorandum on the development of friendly and cooperative relations for fortress tourism and marketing in the Spandau Citadel. The memorandum contains a detailed agenda with topics for the design of the cooperation, such as research and monument protection, mutual marketing and travel offers with FORTE CULTURA® as well as youth exchange.

The cooperation meeting was accompanied by the German-Chinese Understanding Society and by China Tours Hamburg.

The city of Shouzhou in Shanxi Province is located on a 300 km section of the Great Wall, has medieval fortifications and other UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are 7 other fortresses in Shanxi Province.

Fortress Town Germersheim (DE): 3rd symposium on the extension of fortress cooperation on the Upper Rhine

This year's symposium focused on the cross-border cooperation of the fortress monuments on the Upper Rhine. First results of the project of the tourism community "Vis-á-Vis" (Baden-Alsace-Palatinate) were presented for the development of regional tourist modules for fortified monuments and an accompanying research project of the University of Karlsruhe.

The project results can be used to create reliable offers for cross-border fortress tourism in the region and, in conjunction with the European cultural route FORTE CULTURA®, beyond.

Also presented and intensively discussed were funding programs and project ideas for fortress monuments in the Upper Rhine region.

The symposium was attended by representatives of 10 fortress monuments on both sides of the Upper Rhine, as well as representatives of the PAMINA region, the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region and Southern Palatinate tourism. In the evening, the 10th Germersheim Fortress Festival was ceremoniously opened, with many thousands of guests, re-enactment groups, artists and actors. Report

Besancon (FR): Dr.-Ing. Hans-Rudolf Neumann deepens contact with Réseau of the Sites majeures de Vauban

In 2018, Réseau Vauban participated with its 10th anniversary of the recognition of the 12 Vauban network fortresses as a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the European Fortress Summer. What started as a first step towards successful cooperation was temporarily interrupted by the sudden death of Director Ms. Birgit Wallborn in May 2019.

A personal conversation with Ms Julie Mottet, Acting Director of Réseau Vauban, revealed that a continuation of the talks with regard to the potential involvement of the French Fortress Association in the European cultural route FORTE CULTURA® under tourism aspects, could mediate to the Réseau network. Also, due to the upcoming evaluation by the UNESCO, it would be desirable and of great advantage if the board of directors of Réseau Vauban could bring about a positive decision to make the Vauban fortresses overall in other European countries even more attractive to tourists.

Alesia (FR): Roman memorial site expressed interest in FORTE CULTURA®

The conquest of the Gallic city and fortress Alesia in today's Burgundy by Gajus Julius Caesar in the year 52 BC Chr. belongs to one of the most remarkable and sustainable siege conquests in the Roman Empire. Only in the 19th century was it possible to locate and dig out the historic sites under Napoleon III. With the con-struction of an interpretation center and the establishment of a museum park, which also includes the reconstruction of Roman siege works as part of the former 28 km enclosure line, a modern national memorial and adventure site was created a few years ago, which included the historical places represents a highly interesting complex of not only French but European history as a whole.

Due to a visit by Dr.-Ing. Hans-Rudolf Neumann, the director of the facility, Michel Rouger, has meanwhile expressed his interest in participating in FORTE CULTURA®. Further talks are planned later this year.

Fort Konstantin, Koblenz (DE): Workshop „The major fortress system Koblenz in the cultural route FORTE CULTURA®“

Under the leadership of Koblenz's cultural affairs director Dr Margit, Theis-Scholz, the workshop brought together around 20 stakeholders across all departments who dealt with the future of the Koblenz major fortress in connection with the European cultural route FORTE CULTURA®.

The result is the formation of a working group consisting of the departments of Culture, Tourism, Marketing, Business Development, Facility Management, Historic Preservation and Green Space Office as well as the GDKE and the actors in the major fortress system (e.g. historians, funding associations, city archives, etc.). Together, the potentials of the major fortress system Koblenz should be developed and valorised in the medium term.

Königstein, Saxony (DE): Forum Cultural Heritage Elbe-Fortresses

How can the 25 historic fortresses along the Elbe help each other out in tourist marketing? This was the central question of a conference that brought together 15 representatives of important Elbe defense facilities from Germany and the Czech Republic at the fortress Königstein. Along the Elbe include: the Czech cultural sites Josefov, Terezin and Hradec Kralove and the German fortresses Königstein, Dresden, Torgau, Wittenberg, Magdeburg, Dömitz, Stade, Glückstadt and Cuxhaven. There are also rare castles with fortress architecture, such as the castles Pardubice, Sonnenstein in Pirna and Hartenfels in Torgau.

As a way to greater competitiveness in the tourism market participants discussed the formation of a common umbrella brand "Heritage Elbe Fortresses" as well as various thematic travel offers of the European cultural route fortress monuments - FORTE CULTURA®. Already in the 2020 season, joint campaigns are to start under the new umbrella brand "Elbe fortresses". Report (de)

Fortress town Germersheim (DE) Four tour guides awarded with FORTE CULTURA® certificate

Four long-term tour guides of the city of Germersheim have successfully completed the qualification as tour guide with FORTE CULTURA® certificate. Mayor Marcus Schaile presented Brigitte Hoffmann, Kurt Burger, Andreas Baus and Erich Fleischer their certificates.

"I congratulate you warmly and I am delighted that you can now enrich your city and fortress tours with the knowledge of the multifaceted European cultural route. With your support, it is possible to bring the cultural heritage of the fortress monuments and thus the European history more into the public eye", says Mayor Marcus Schaile (2nd from the right).

Algeciras (ES): Workshop FORTE CULTURA® regional cluster Campo de Gibraltar

At the initiative of our member La Línea de la Concepcion (ES), for the first time, representatives of fortified monuments and tourism experts from the Campo de Gibraltar tourism region met on the theme "Development of regional fortress tourism with FORTE CULTURA®".

The conditions and objectives for fortress tourism in the region and first tourist offers and products under the umbrella of FORTE CULTURA® were discussed. The tourist region of southwestern Andalusia has a rich cultural heritage fortified monuments from the Romans to the Moors and until the 20th century.

Giżycko (PL): Giżycko Cultural Center – Fortress Boyen becomes the newest network member

The Boyen fortress was built in 1843 as a Prussian ring fortress in today Giżycko, formerly Lötzen, and was one of the most powerful fortresses Masuria.

With numerous exciting cultural events, open-air stage, gallery and museum, the Boyen Fortress is today a popular destination in the region and now also enriches the European Cultural Route fortified monuments FORTE CULTURA®.

Mainz (DE): Forum Cultural Heritage Fortified Monuments

The conference formed the framework of the General Assembly of the European Fortress Tourism and Fortress Marketing Network. An international audience of over forty fortress experts, tourism experts and marketing specialists learned about the development status of FORTE CULTURA®, the European cultural route fortified monuments, and discussed the marketing of tourist attractions in fortifications.

As the hostess, the city of Mainz at the confluence of the Main and Rhine was represented in detail from Marianne Grosse (Head of Department for Building, Monument Protection and Culture), Philipp Meier (director mainzplus Citymarketing GmbH), Uwe Schreiber und Dr. Rudolf Büllesbach (Initiative Zitadelle Mainz e.V.) with its eventful and exciting 2,000-year fortress history.

Mainz (DE): Annual General Meeting 2019

The General Assembly of the European Fortress Tourism and Fortress Marketing Network elected a Scientific Advisory Board consisting of six experts in the fields of tourism, fortress architecture and history. This marks another milestone on the road to certification as a European Cultural Route of the Council of Europe. Stefano Dominioni, Director of the European Cultural Route Institute and Executive Secretary of the Council of Europe, commended the progress of the network and the cultural route FORTE CULTURA® in a video message to the members.


The International Tourism Exchange Berlin once again provided a good opportunity for exchange with network members and possible cooperation partners for fortress tourism and fortress marketing from all over the world. For example, with the city of Dresden, which promoted offensively its hidden fortress elements under the Brühl's terraces.

Madrid (ES): FORTE CULTURA® at the FITUR 2019

There was a lot of crowds at the Campo de Gibraltar stand during Spain's biggest international travel fair in Madrid.


José Juan Franco Rodríguez, mayor of our network member La Línea de La Concepcíon impressively presented his fortifications in La Línea and the European Cultural Route FORTE CULTURA® with informational materials and a video.

Torgau (DE): Grenadier Battalion of Spiegel e.V. becomes a new member of the network

Torgau is the only, still partially preserved, major fortress system in Saxony. At the heart of the Elbe fortress are the historic old town and the fortified Renaissance castle Hartenfels.


The grenadier battalion Spiegel e.V. with its president Manfred Dauer now represents the city of Torgau in the European Fortress Tourism and Fortress Marketing Network and strengthens the FORTE CULTURA®-cluster "Elbe Fortresses".


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