The successful project “The Wanted Danube” demonstrated how mutual knowledge and first steps of mutual friendship between people from all over the Danube Area can develop from a hand-crocheted friendship ribbon. The project was initiated in November 2013 by the Ulm-based educational network „Danube-Networkers “ in cooperation with partner organizations from eight different countries along the Danube river. The presentation of the “common Danube-River carpet” on the Cathedral Place in Ulm during the International Danube Festival Ulm/Neu-Ulm on July 13, 2014 included representatives of all involved institutions along the Danube and was a big public success.
Designed as a parallel to the European Union’s Danube Area Strategy, which involves politics and economy, the goal of “The Wanted Danube” was to address the people on a personal level. They should view it as a positive challenge to get involved with each other and to improve their mutual knowledge, especially people from Western and South Eastern Europe as well as the people from different ethnicities in various Danube countries.
The output of the project is unique. More than 6.000 people from 8 Danube countries (Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria took an active part, seniors as well as pupils and students. 1.457,99 km of friendship ribbon were crocheted, 3.649 “river-piece carpets” were hand-crafted by the participants, along with many cultural and educational side events. A lot of engagement and interest in the Danube Area was demonstrated. The Danube Area became topic of many school classes. Wide-spread media coverage turned public interest to the project.
The project evaluation showed high outcomes on the individual level as well as on the group and institutional level. The “river carpets” and many hand crafted wool products, such as bags, blankets, cushions and more made from the friendship ribbon after the July 2014 presentation, are given away for donations which are used for social purposes and Danube-focused educational activities developed together with the partners from the Danube countries. The Ulm Danube-Networkers had been very engaged to promote the project „The wanted Danube“ after the main event, which took place at the 13th of July 2014 during the International Danube Festival Ulm/Neu-Ulm. Five Danube-Networker-Days had been organized in Germany, Serbia and Bulgaria in 2015 with big participation from the citizens. In Ulm the Danube-Networkers did made a lot of action to get donations for the „river carpets“.
In October 2015 the project „The wanted Danube“ got the Citizen Price 2015 from the European Parliament and the „Europa-Lilie für Bürgerschaftliches Engagement“ (Europe lily for the citizens engagement) by the Europaunion Deutschland (European Union Germany).
The project was supported by various sponsors, mainly by Baden-Württemberg Stiftung, Germany.
Contact: Carmen Stadelhofer, chairwoman ILEU e.V. and DANET e.V.