Newsletter December 2022


General Assembly 2022 Online

About 35 members and guests from 7 countries participated in the online general meeting. The detailed reports of the Board of Directors and the Scientific Advisory Board highlighted above all the positive development of membership. In 2021/22, FORTE CULTURA as the European Cultural Route grew to 50 fortress stations in 10 countries, the strongest growth since its foundation. Other focal points of the network's work were also the European Fortress Summer, activities with Ukraine (both together with EFFORTS), work in the fortress clusters as well as in the development of new marketing partnerships and tools for 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 membership fee regulations). We thank all members for their trust and the good cooperation.


The next General Assembly will already take place at the end of March in Šibenik (HR), registration link see below.

Christmas tree campaign #LightupforUKRAINE

On the initiative of Friedrich Wein (Upper Rhine, Hornisgrinde), FORTE CULTURA and EFFORTS have launched another online initiative for peace in Ukraine. All partners are called upon to post a picture of a Christmas tree in their fortress on social media, together with a Ukrainian flag, as a sign of solidarity. Please use the hashtags #LightUPforUKRAINE and #WarBelongsInMuseums when doing so. Please also direct your Facebook post to @ForteCulturaNet and @effortseurope.


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 €. After FORTE CULTURA was already able to realise 2 projects with the Fortress Town Germersheim, a project with 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 plain 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 then 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 Aktion Mensch. Would you also like "#1 Barrier Less" in your fortress? Contact our network office!


FORTE CULTURA Tourism Catalogue 2023-24

For better marketing of the FORTE CULTURA stations to tour operators and interested individual travellers, the FORTE CULTURA Tourism Catalogue will be published for the first time in 2023. All member stations are shown in detail on 1-2 pages, grouped by regions. The catalogue thus contains all the information on FORTE CULTURA stations and regional clusters that a tour operator needs for tour development and implementation, including information on barrier-free offers. The catalogue comprises more than 100 pages and will initially be published in German and English. The contents are to be entered online by the FORTE CULTURA member stations themselves and updated regularly. The network office will send out information to all members in the new year with a request to enter / correct catalogue data.

New FORTE CULTURA travel sales platform

In cooperation with Martin Kaule Reisen und Service GmbH, FORTE CULTURA will offer all member stations the opportunity to sell their travel and tour offers on a new web platform from spring 2023. Both individual offers (e.g. guided tours) and multi-day tours can be posted in several languages. Travellers can thus put together their own individual trip on the platform from different components and book it as a "package". As a tour operator for educational and long-distance travel, Martin Kaule Reisen assumes responsibility in the sense of the Package Travel Act, which relieves the burden on individual providers. As members, FORTE CULTURA stations are exempt from the monthly offer fee on the new sales platform (saving 348€ p.a.). Sales fees will be charged in addition. The network office will provide comprehensive information on the launch of the platform.

FORTE CULTURA Actionbound App

In cooperation with Actionbound GmbH, FORTE CULTURA will offer all member stations the opportunity to create and offer digital-real scavenger hunts, fortress rallies, puzzle games and much more with the Actionbound app from spring 2023. Actionbound is an excellent option to quickly, easily and cost-effectively create digital content in their fortress monument that enjoys a wide demand worldwide. As part of the FORTE CULTURA licence, our members' Actionbounds are executed and summarised in the FORTE CULTURA layout. Members receive free access to the Actionbound offer and are only charged per user (saving approx. 500€ p.a.). Further information will be available from the network office shortly, but interested stations are welcome to contact us now.

EuroSchein-Souvenir as „FORTE CULTURA Edition“

In cooperation with EuroSchein-Souvenir GmbH, FORTE CULTURA offers the possibility to create and sell individual souvenir banknotes (0€). For example, the Fortress Town Germersheim has been successfully offering souvenir notes for sale at the Tourist Info for €3 each since the end of 2021.


Money printing has never been so easy. FORTE CULTURA members receive a 5% discount on the purchase price. For further information, please contact the network office.


Certification programme for tourist guides

FORTE CULTURA guides offer very special insights into the fascinating fortress worlds of our cultural route. Whether in historical costume, on underground paths or with exclusive content, the tours with certified guides are always an experience. You too can qualify as a FORTE CULTURA-certified tour guide.


During the online general meeting, some partners took the opportunity to report from their fortresses:

Fortress system Ulm/Neu-Ulm

Wolfgang Dieterich (Managing Director Ulm/ Neu-Ulm Touristik GmbH), reported on the successful cultural festival "Stürmt die Burg" in July and August 2022 in the Wilhelmsburg, the citadel of the former federal fortress of Ulm.

Furthermore, the Ulm fortress system with 14 outdoor forts was the venue of the International Biehler Fort Conference in May 2022. In the summer of 2023, the open-air musical "Sister-Act" will be performed in the Wilhelmsburg. There are also efforts to establish a new FORTE CULTURA fortress cluster along the Danube, together with Rastatt and Ingolstadt.

Fortresses of the Rhineland-Palatinate Directorate General for Cultural Heritage (GDKE)

Katja Geltz (GDKE Marketing Department) gave an overview of the 10 fortress monuments in the GDKE's inventory, including Ehrenbreitstein Fortress in Koblenz, which attracts around 500,000 visitors a year. Multimedia presentations, exciting guided tours, numerous exhibitions and events make a visit to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress an experience. Not to forget: the exciting cable car ride over the Rhine. the FORTE CULTURA Fortress Portraits for more information.

Fortress Grauerort, Stade

Werner Weimar (Festung Grauerort e.V.) reported on the extremely successful year 2022 with around 23,000 visitors to the former Sperrfort on the Elbe.
And this despite extensive renovation measures in the fortress, including new barrier-free sanitary facilities, new access to the Elbe cycle path and the renovation of gun emplacements to create a barrier-free roof terrace with a café and a view of the Elbe.

Upper Rhine Fortress Cluster (DE-FR)

Mireille Acker (Eurodistrict PAMINA Baden-Elsace-Palatinate) reported on behalf of the group on the extensive activities in the cross-border fortress cooperation of 30 museums and monuments with FORTE CULTURA. These included a touring exhibition, a folding map and a stamp pass, the development of FORTE CULTURA tours in the region, the regional annual conference in Germersheim and much more. The cross-border Upper Rhine fortress cluster is a best practice for fortress cooperation with FORTE CULTURA.

Regional Fortress Group
Fortresses and Military History on the Upper Rhine 1870-1999 (DE-FR)

Friedrich Wein (Bunker Hornisgrinde) präsentierte die 8 Stationen der Festungsgruppe in der Oberrheinregion, mit spannenden Objekten des Westwalls und der Maginot-Linie, kaiserlichen Armierungsbefestigungen von Straßburg sowie dem Museum für die Wehrgeschichte des Nordelsass in Walbourg. In 2022, there were many activities such as the Open Monument Day or the start of fortification partnerships with Ukrainian forts.

Fortified Ideal City Jaromer Josefov (CZ)

Ilona Honzerová and Tomas Jirouch presented the latest FORTE CULTURA station, the Ideal Fortress City of Jaromer Josefov. Many activities were just starting up again after Corona, when the war in Ukraine again caused a lot of uncertainty. Without further ado, events were modified in content to show solidarity and send a signal against the war, as part of the European Fortress Summer. Josefov and Terezín (Theresienstadt) have also received a large renovation grant, which will enable the restoration of parts of the two great fortified ideal cities.

Fortress City Torgau (DE)

Anja Bauermeister (Head of Tourist Information Torgau) provided information on the exciting history of the fortress system on the Elbe. There is also major funding in Torgau to renovate the fortress areas of the bridgehead. In 2022, many events took place, e.g. the Elbe-Day as part of the European Fortress Summer or the State Garden Show with more than 360,000 visitors. In connection with the Garden Show, a casemate was also renovated and made accessible to the public again.

Rastatt Museum of Military History

Dr Alexander Jordan (Museum Director, member of FORTE CULTURA Scientific Committee) briefly presented the exciting museum in the Residence Palace in the former federal fortress Rastatt. The museum represents the military history of the Baden region with permanent and special exhibitions and is also an active part of the Upper Rhine Cluster.


2022 represents war in Europe like no other year since the turn of the millennium.


Fortress monuments are, like hardly any other building, manifestations of the war of many epochs that have endured for centuries. Built to protect people against deadly weapons, today they are sites of peace and culture for all people. They tell the story of Europe and serve as a reminder of the devastating consequences of countless wars.


FORTE CULTURA and its partners could not prevent the war in Ukraine.
However, we can always remind people that right now people have to live in war,
that war harms everyone and benefits very few,
that there is only one place where war belongs, in the (fortress) museum.


Christmas stands for peace on earth like no other festival.


In this spirit, we thank you for the great cooperation in 2022. We wish you a peaceful Christmas and a good start into the new year. May every guided fortress tour be a sustainable contribution to peace, democracy, solidarity and international understanding.






Upcoming Events

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  • 9-11 February 2023: Symposium on the 20th century fortress heritage of the fortified region of A Coruna, Ferrol (ES)
  • 23-25 March 2023: FORTMED Conference, Pisa (IT)
  • 29-31 March 2023: FORTE CULTURA Tourism and Guide Congress, Šibenik (HR)
    - International Tourism and Guide Congress
    - Workshop "Sustainable Fortress Tourism and Inclusion" at Knin Fortress
    - FORTE CULTURA General Assembly 2023
    - Launch of the European Fortress Summer 2023
    Programme and registration
  • 13-17 April 2023: 4th Biehler Fort Conference in Strasbourg (FR)
  • 15-28 April 2023: FORTE CULTURA Pilot and Study Tour Morocco
  • October 2023: EFFORTS Annual Congress, Maastricht (NL)


More news and previous FORTE CULTURA newsletters.


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