DANUBEparksCONNECTED Bridging the Danube Protected Areas towards a Danube Habitat Corridor

Cycling the Danube in Germany


Neuburg - Schrobenhausen 12th April 2019 - The Start

At the Beginning


Photos and Text: Jovan Eraković

At the beginning of all big tasks it is always nice to actually start with something... So I liked it very much when I experienced such a positive development as well. The spring? Well a spring is off course important, but even more important is how the water behaves after it. Will it, without any further ambition, agree to just fill someone's bottle? Or will it soon hide underneath a stone and remain remembered only as being too lazy for the "success is 10% of talent and 90% of work" rule? Or will it actually grow into a serious and socially engaged river, the one that (besides all other things it offers) gives you even a chance to follow it three thousand kilometers on the bicycle? To be sure, my first stop on such a long trip was where one could already have certain confidence to this water.

So let’s start with this: between Neuburg on the Danube and Ingolstadt lies one of the most important floodplain areas on the German Danube.

District Neuburg – Schrobenhausen, City Ingolstadt, Germany
Size: 2,927 hectares
Established: 2005.

The Danube riparian forest Neuburg-Ingolstadt comprises the EU Flora-Fauna-Habitats Directive area ‘Danube Floodplains with Gerolfinger oak forest’ and parts of the Special Protection Area ‘Danube Floodplain between the mouth of the Lech and Ingolstadt’. Its inheritance from the past is its very good preservation level - a happy consequence of the protection by the former Dukes of Bavaria as a hunting area. And today, one of the largest exterior dynamisation projects in Central Europe is currently taking place here.

Which is even more important if we keep in mind that in last 100-150 years, due to all the dams built, Germany lost as much as 90% of its flooded areas.

A brave group against the frosty morning

Our guide: Siegfried Geißler, nature conservation authority for the district Neuburg-Schrobenhausen.

Immediately after start we descended to the Bertoldsheim Danube reservoir, an important bird habitat. Two years ago a passage for fish was made near the dam - about 35 similar ones should be installed in Bavaria in the near future and each will cost from 1 to 5 million EUR. This one at 1.5 million EUR belongs to cheaper ones. But it isn’t perfect, explains Siegfried: it is narrow and water flows through it quickly, making it unsuitable for some fish species.

The fish passage, stone “ribs” slow down water,  making it easier for fish to swim upstream

On the forest road to Stepperg  there is always something interesting to discuss.

And beavers have something to say too…

The relentless spring bites cheeks and ears but we love him anyway – it is ours :)

Flood marks from 1999. and 2005. Except animals and plants, nobody else likes high water. But like it or not, it has an exceptional importance that can be compared only to the damage and misery it brings to human lives. The only solution? It should be kept far from settlements and enterprises. Easy to say, not easy (and cheap) to make it possible.

Magic of the natural monument Antoniberg, high above Stepperg and the Danube..
On the left, the tomb chapel of the aristocratic families of Arco and Moy. On the right, the humble Antonius chapel. Around: ancient oaks and old linden. To prevent the growth of semi-dry grassland, and to secure its biodiversity, a shepherd's shed is required.

Talking with the mayor.


The goal of this project implemented by Jan Tenner is to establish a system that will change habits of shepherds in the region. Instead of always using the same old zones in their close vicinity, they would be directed to areas where characteristics of their flocks would fit current habitat needs. Becoming some kind of “shepherds without borders”, they would help to preserve and maintain health of local ecosystems.


The City of Ingolstadt - 2nd Stop


Photos and Text: Jovan Eraković

The city of Ingolstadt: recognizing its part of the Danube paradise

The ride with Mr. Geißler ended in the castle Grünau. Another group of cyclists was already waiting there, led by Mr. Thomas Schneider, Danube and climate commissioner from Ingolstadt Department for health, climate protection, and environmental protection. Also with us is Dr. Rupert Ebner, a member of the Ingolstadt city Council and officer for health, climate protection and environment.

Meeting at the castle Grünau

The castle hosts a modern outdoor visitor center opened in 2008. It was established by the district of Neuburg-Schrobenhausen, in order to underline the importance of the natural heritage and to support the renaturation of the Danube. The center is a „package“ of the entire competence of the European outdoor subject – from experiences of the past and awareness of the current situation to development of future visions and strategies for the region. It serves research, information of the public and the exchange of experience on the topic floodplain and river, thanks to the fact that it contains three main pillars under one roof, cooperating closely with each other: Aueninstitut, Aueninformationszentrum, and Auenforum.

What is on the menu today? 
The visitor center’s home specialty is the whole Danube on a buffet – please serve yourself.

And there are some other scenes to enjoy in the theatre of Nature.

Ready for "Brennen"!
Wait… is it dangerous? Ahem… not really, see below.

Dr. Ebner's other serious life preoccupation is the "Slow Food". As a treasurer and international counselor, he preaches a food philosophy that is not much different from any fair ecology approach: „Food should be: good, clean and fair. “Good” (taste) does need more explanation, „clean“ means that it should not contain any harmful ingredients and "fair" means that it should be produced without economic, social or political exploitation of the workforce and small manufacturers in general.

One kilometer from the castle we crossed the stream Ott-Heinrich. This was actually a canal made in 2010 as a joint effort of Ingolstadt and Bavarian administration in order to turn the zone back again into a regular flooding area.

(Do we want to put efforts and even money into creating of flooding areas? Off course we do… it is just a matter of choosing the right places.)

Riding along the young and still shy Danube

"Brennen Flächen"

When a pebble bed gets colonized with plants adapted to such lean and dry site, a new special biotope, so-called “Brennen” is born. These semi-arid grasslands contain even a number of alpine plants that were transported by the river and its tributaries, and in the wake of the plants, diverse wildlife settles on. Orchids species, various gentians and other flowering plants, special insects, butterflies (some of them on the Red List of threatened animals in Bavaria) can be found in these dry, nutrient-poor habitats.

Considered as wastelands in the past, dry grasslands are still endangered today. Thomas explains that the biotope we are looking at the moment supports its plants with app. 5 cm thick layer of hummus. Leaves and other organic material was brought by the river during periods of high water levels, but pebble was necessary to crush and grind that material into a fine-grained mass containing the necessary minimum amount of nutrients. Numerous hydroelectric power plants built in the second half of the 20th century block pebble transport and distribution along the river so the big “organic mill” barely works today.

“We need to bring more people to see dry grasslands and to learn how important and at the same time how fragile they are”, says Thomas. “We already had some actions of that type, but need to do even more.”

On a "Brenne", with Thomas explaining the details

Secret roads to Ingolstadt

Grazing is important to keep dam sides in good condition. And herds consisting of sheep and goats (like this one) are an especially efficient tool: sheep cut the higher grass while goats do fine trimming, eating what is close to the ground.

Ducking the dyke

Then suddenly – high above Ingolstadt!
This the charm it spells in front of a curious eye perched on top of the city tower.
(But don’t look too far away, or medieval romantic will give place to the sheer power of 45000- souls-strong Audi kingdom that takes the better part of the horizon.)

Morning briefing: The  same team, but our cycling guide today will be Mr. Thomas Kirchhammer from ADFC

Humans and animals: (how) can we live together? Which brings us to…
“Animal-Aided Design”: closing the gap between landscape architecture and conservation of the nature

"Ingolstadt Natur" is a project of which Thomas is particularly proud as it brings a new quality in city’s habitat and offers a potential to bridge the gap between landscape architecture and nature conservation.
The basic idea behind it is that the „green infrastructure“ is as important to the human society as other infrastructures such as electricity grids, road networks, etc.

Standard urban planning procedures do not create a green infrastructure. On the other hand, the focus of the nature conservation is usually just on sensitive remaining areas that already see little influence of humans – it does not target places with no wilderness left (including urban zones, off course). As a consequence, such places do not get in scope as candidates for green infrastructure. Urban planning and conservation actually often work against each other.

Animal-Aided Design® is developed in cooperation with Dr.Thomas Hauck (University Kassel) as a methodology for open spaces design that can help to overcome this discordance. It includes the presence of animals as an integral part of the green infrastructure final concept:

  • The desired species are chosen at the beginning of a project.
  • The requirements of the target species (i.e. their life-cycles) then set a frame / boundary conditions and serve as an inspiration for the design.

You can find here a very interesting booklet that describes the whole concept in detail (in German only but shown design examples speak for themselves).

High gas price is the reason why this 5 years old power plant between Mailing and Großmehring works only during quite rare emergency situations in the electric network.

River water is used for cooling the plant and projected increase of its temperature at the exhaust side is only 1 degree Celsius. But even that much brings quite considerable strain to the habitat: warmer water contains less oxygen, which is not suitable for some fish and plants species.

Changing side, changing point of view...
Crossing the river every so often is a popular sport, thanks to the perfect cycling network:  there is usually a path at both sides and there surely is no shortage of bridges and ferries.

We went by boat from Weltenburg to Kelheim.
But before that, the famous monastery Weltenburg is a must see. Here is a scene from the church.

So here we are - six kilometers of sailing. Or was it six degrees Celsius? My memory fails when it comes to these numbers, but one is sure: that was a memorable passage through one of the most beautiful results of water-vs- stone outsmarting game along the Danube.

As a strange twist and a strong accent, the Hall of Liberation appears above pristine cliffs. It was commissioned by King Ludwig I, to commemorate the victorious battles against Napoleon in the Wars of Liberation, 1813-1815. Behind it lies Kelheim, the terminal of our sail and at the same time the point from which ships are allowed to navigate the river. (Before this small town the minimal demanded depth of 2 meters is not guaranteed.)

Before continuing solo: dear group thank you for the company,
and thank you Thomas for sharing your knowledge with us :)


Landkreis Passau - 3rd Stop


Photos and Text: Jovan Eraković

Passau: on current with Ms. Christiane Kotz

It was in a sunny morning when I met my new cycling friends in small but charming Windorf, at the entrance of its island. And the Windorfer Donauinsel is quite a special one: it is the longest river island in Germany and is protected due to its special biodiversity.

Christiane was busy with last minute small things before the start of the 40 km long ride – the group was quite large. So I decided to skip asking something so weird and meaningless as “do they have Windorfs on computers there?” The mayor, Mr. Franz Langer, wished us a nice day and here we were – on our saddles, pedaling towards the distant Passau.

- We were collecting garbage and cleaning the area yesterday – said Christiane.

And when you are not cleaning, what do you do?

We are an administrative office responsible for the whole district. Our main duty is the nature protection, taking care that the urban development doesn’t endanger it. We are also active with landscape design. There are three persons in our office responsible for these tasks.

What is your role in the DANUBEparksCONNECTED?

We take care mainly about work package 5 – dry habitats. But it is important to note that the steep slopes of the Danube in our area are very different from riparian forests in other parts along the river. The gorge that we have here between Hofkirchen to Aschach is almost 90 km long and the part we take care of is 50 km long. It is a different habitat with different characteristics and different way of functions.

What has the project brought to you?
Did it change a bit the way you are seeing your own experience?

Through the project we discovered that we are not special and that other similar areas along the Danube have the same problems we have. We are now well connected with the colleagues in other gorges downstream – Wachau in Germany, Duna-Ipoly in Hungary, Djerdap National Park in Serbia and the Iron gates Nature protected area in Romania (opposite side from Djerdap). I personally visited Wachau, Duna-Ipoly and Djerdap.

We learned a lot about their experiences and difficulties. We see what they do and we also share our experience with them: the Danube water doesn’t know borders and we should look at things the same way. It is also necessary to open the eyes of politicians, to help them to really adopt the fact that some problems can’t be solved within one country - what is needed is an international approach.

One important result that we produced in the frame of this project and through joint work with others was a dry habitats map of the complete Danube. It was a big task and a huge challenge because different countries had different quantities and qualities of available data, used different systems to gather and record the data and different formats to view them. We took what was available and our IT experts managed to synchronize the data and to turn it into a universally readable and available database. For some countries working on this map was also a great push forward: they established systems of data gathering and processing which will serve many  purposes in the future.

Christiane and the new info boards that introduce walkers and cyclists
to the wonderful world of Danube’s narrow valley in the Passau district

What would be a result of your work that gives you the strongest feeling of a personal pride?

We accomplished two projects with the Upper Austria region comprising the rivers Danube and Inn. Through these projects we (the district) were able to actually buy 60 hectares of land on the Danube slopes and 25 hectares in the Inn riparian forests. We use that land now to design different landscape and habitat approaches, and to demonstrate to others what a good approach policy should be and what advantages it brings. Based on this we were also able to convince politicians and other authorities to assign more money to protect nature in the district
and to support our work.

Is there any resistance?

Not if we speak of steep slopes which are not attractive for development, construction etc. But in other areas there is sometimes friction when it comes to preventing people from building objects or from using land in a harmful way. Fortunately, there are much more nice moments like our ride today and such things give us a full satisfaction :)

At the end: how does it come that you know almost every small side path that we pass?

Well, I am in the office since 1985.

But there are many people who work in similar jobs and they don’t seem to know all trails and hidden corners of an area they are supposed to take care of?

I am an enthusiast at the first place so I spend a lot of time in nature – smiles Christiane.

Passau awaited us in this solemn apparel

Passau is also known as the Dreiflüssestadt ("City of Three Rivers") because the Danube is joined here by the Inn from the south and the Ilz from the north.

Meeting the deputy mayor, Mr. Urban Mangold

The Danube stretch from Passau to Jochenstein is one of Germany's most important and most protected areas. The steep valley slopes are since 1986 a nature reserve and since 2003. they are included in the Europe-wide important system "Natura 2000 Protected Area" (Fauna-Flora-Habitat area).

The most valuable element in the zone is the unique reptile fauna. There are seven species of reptiles, including the largest and most beautiful reptiles of Germany: the green lizard and the aesculapian snake.

However, the nature reserve is also very rich in other species and a valuable refuge for butterflies, beetles, wild bees and many other animal groups. It is home to a diverse flora and a fascinating variety of mushrooms. Already extinct species were rediscovered on these valley slopes and even completely new species for the whole Bavaria and Germany were found.

The uniqueness of the area is the result of several factors: at the first place the Danube as the European migratory axis, and responsible for the exchange of animal and plant species between East and West. Secondly, southern exposed slopes of the narrow, deep valley are also in contact with the zone of the Bavarian forests. As a result, very different sites are created with communities that are a very special combination of different regions of Europe.

And we reached the Jochenstein power plant and the House Am Strom – the final point of our cycling program.

But it was not the end yet: we boarded a bus that took us high above the Danube, then walked to the view point Ebenstein (513 m above sea level)

On the path to Ebenstein…

...and the deserved fantastic view.

Jochenstein is protruding from the Danube waters
– a stubborn witness of the distant geological past.

Sharing the view with the mayor

The DANUBEPARKS and the cooperation of the “Danube Canyons”

The Danube is a green line for biodiversity and its protected areas preserve the most valuable sites – they are crucial zones for the long-term preservation of the rich biodiversity and natural heritage.

DANUBEPARKS – The Danube River network of Protected Areas - has been working for 10 years now on a harmonized and unified approach for nature conservation along the Danube. The Danube Canyons are its long time important partners within this network.

Danube canyons stand for the need of cross-border cooperation and sharing experience and activities between countries and regions – they should not stand for separation but cooperation.

The intention to share the know-how and good practice resulted in a shared project activity in the frame of DANUBEparksCONNECTED – a Danube-wide project on the field of ecological networks, co-funded by the EU Interreg Danube Transnational Programme.

The “Haus am Strom”

The environmental station Haus am Strom is positioned right at the left end of the Jochenstein dam. Its name is a little play of words: „strom“ means river current but also an electrical current.

The station is organized as a non-profit GmbH and is recognized by the Ministry of the Environment as an environmental station.

- Our central task is environmental education: sensitizing and motivating visitors to deal with the environment and nature with care - says Raymond Kneidinger, the Managing Director and Deputy District Administrator of the district of Passau.

But what we as visitors should know is that the House is full of genial ways to teach and illustrate processes in the nature and the way humans influence them. So a visit is a must.

Pump the water to see the height of a catastrophic flood. But the text at this model says something really worth thinking about:

“Chaos, catastrophe, deluge, sinking... That’s how man expresses this natural happening. These words reflect our perception of the destructive power of a big flood. But the Nature has learned to live with these "catastrophes" - communities of rivers and floodplains are vital enough to survive such  processes of purification and renewal in the great cycle of becoming and passing away. We can learn from the Nature how to deal with these elemental forces without being exposed to their destructive side. The most important step is “a step back ": to give the river more space again - in its very own area.”

Here you can turn the wheel to see the consequences of using water for your needs.
For the everyday things like showers, washing, cleaning, cooking and toilet, we already consume almost 125 liters of water every day. But even more striking is our “hidden" consumption – the water used to produce our consumer goods. When taking this into account, the consumption amounts to an unbelievable sum of 4000-5000 liters per day for every German consumer.

Maybe the best game of the exhibition: this is a plate with holes representing
dangers that certain species encounter on their migratory way.
This one is about fish: move and incline the plate trying to bring the ball (a fish)
to the Passau protected zone, passing holes marked as  “illegal fishing”, “sea pollution”, “toxic wastewater” and others.




Interview with Fish Ecologist Gerald Zauner


With one Autochthonous Acipenser ruthenus (Danube sturgeon) from Engelhartszell
Photo: G. Zauner

Story and Photos by Jovan Eraković

A very sedimental talk with Mr. Gerald Zauner.
Plus: an ecological fairy-tale that turned to reality.

Next day after Hause am Strom I returned to Engelhartszell to meet a person recommended by Christiane and I was really happy that I did that: during the talk with a fish ecologist DI Dr. Gerald Zauner I was probably barely blinking my eyes – that interesting was what he had to say.

After working on University Vienna for 20 years he decided to take advanced control of his dreams and initiatives. In his birthplace, Engelhartszell, he established the company ezb / TB Zauner GmbH that specialized in working on and revitalization of big rivers like the Danube or Inn. They make concepts to improve the ecological situation, then suggest solutions to the state, local governments and power plants, helping the country to meet guidelines from the “EU water framework” - a document that defines related obligations for the EU members.

What is it that what makes you most satisfied after all this time?

Back in the 80s we started the first project and research in Engelhartszell. It has been a long journey now, long enough to see and confirm the good results.

One  result of our work is a lot of side arms in the Wachau area – what one can see today while watching the Google Earth images is actually a continuous 30 km long zone there completely changed by measurements in the past..

Several years long construction of a fish passage Aschach-Wilhering ended in 2016.  With the length of 14.2 km it is the longest in the EU and might be the longest in the world as well.

The Aschach end of the fish passage Aschach-Wilhering

5 km further downstream it grows into a real beauty…

… before returning to the Danube at the Wilhering end

But there is still a lot more to do?

Habitat situation of the Danube is not good. It is a highly regulated river and mostly not a free-flowing one. In Austria there are only two free-flowing sections: 50 km long Wachau part (30 km from power plant Melk and 20 km more from Krems) and 50 km long part east of Vienna (.e. where the last power plant in Austria is).

At Jochenstein power plant (where the Haus am Strom is) the height difference between upstream and downstream side is ten meters. And there are ten other power plants along the Danube in Austria. Then the huge Gabčikovo dam in Slovakia influences the flow for almost 60 km upstream - all the way to the mouth of Morava River, 10 km before Bratislava.

So Danube’s slavery in a glance looks like this:
- Austria has 10 power plants;
- Then there is Gabčikovo dam in Slovakia;
- Then there are power plants Iron Gate 1 and 2, shared between Serbia and Romania.

The power plant Jochenstein

The power plant Jochenstein

It is interesting that Hungary does not have any power plants on the Danube. They almost finished one in 90s but then abandoned it due to strong public opposition and maybe also due to lack of funds (Hungary wasn’t an EU member at that time).

What about Germany?

Some small power plants, but it is also a small and kind of different river there too… The Danube before Passau by its characteristics (temperature, flora,..) actually looks more like the Inn. This is understandable if we now that the Danube discharge before the Inn entrance is 600 m3/sec. The discharge of the Inn is 770 m3/sec. That’s how the Danube comes to a discharge of 1450 m3/sec. (Later in Vienna it will get to 1920 m3/sec.)

At this point we could get into doubt about which is the main river and which is a tributary here. But although the Inn has a greater average flow than the Danube when they converge in Passau, the Danube has a greater length, drains a larger surface area and has a more consistent flow – that is why the Inn is considered a tributary of the Danube and not the opposite. (The Inn is thus the only river originating in Switzerland that ends in the Black Sea - via the Danube.)

How do we determine start and end of a free-flowing section?

The starting point is where the influence of an upstream impoundment ends. That would be a place where the river water is back to its natural level, the one it would have if there was no impoundment. And end of a free-flowing section is off course at the next power plant downstream.

How and when the Danube in Austria got captured that much and turned to… a slave?

Power plant Jochenstein was the first one that was built. It was after WW II, from 1952. to 1956. Four years later came next one, then even more of them - ten  in  total. The last one was built in Vienna in 1995.

Are there consequences? A revenge of the tied river? To discover that we should first learn something about the stuff that the Danube chews all the time.

There are two types of sediment: the fine sediment - mostly fine sand - comes mainly from glaciers in the Alps: they grind and mill rocks and stones into fine particles, plus the Alpine rivers have big fall and speed. Thirty milligrams per liter is how much of it is transported from the Alps now, with a total of 4 million m3 per year. But in the past, it didn’t stay...
Today, Jochenstein is the first power plant on the way and it stops most of the fine sediment. It is actually being deposited in the upper flow of the river all the time from 1965, and the total quantity is estimated to be - 25 million m3.

The first solution to get rid of it was to dig it and to deposit it on the banks - but that off course was a dead end. During big floods and extreme high flows, these deposits are flushed away: we once lost 8 million m3 during just one flood. This material ends on arable, cultivable land, in layers that can be up to 1-2 m thick.

And then?

And then you bring machines and perform a gigantic task of removing that stuff from fields, to make them usable again.

In Austria as in Germany, the Danube banks are usually reinforced at least with packed stones

The fine sediment, used as handy garnish on a photo with castle Ottensheim..
 After that… one has to move it out of the way.

There is one more type of the sediment…

The original rough sediment of the Danube is a pebble with size of a fist. It used to come from tributaries, mostly from Inn, and in the past the Danube transported app. 400,000 m3 of that type per year. But the Inn is also totally impounded today (there are five power plants there now) and other important tributaries have similar destiny - so the pebble supply stopped. At the same time the Danube dynamics is the same as it always was: especially in free-flowing areas, water speed (i.e, energy) is high and it moves downstream the pebble that is still in the bed. But today there is no compensation for that transported material and the consequence is that the river is actually digging itself into its bed. So the water level sinks - typically 1-2 cm per year.

A typical pebble of the upper Danube

You mentioned a specter of unexpected problems that come to existence since the river got heavily impounded. Can you illustrate some of them?

An interesting phenomenon, for example, is that during extreme flooding the pebble in the Aschach impoundment has been transported from the upper to the middle part. (The water energy is not high enough to move it more towards the end of the impoundment.) That deposit was pushing the water level above the allowed limit and that’s why twice so far -  in 2011. and again in 2017. - it had to be excavated  (all together 750,000 m3), and moved… back to the upper part. Expenses were covered by the power plant.

An interesting game it is… Is there more?

The sedimentation is a constant process in the Danube flow, but once that sediment gets into riparian forests as well (typically during high water levels) the river is not strong enough to later  flush it out of the forests.

Sedimentation without transportation – that brings problems. Especially after Vienna, the soil becomes higher and higher after every flooding. But the original forest habitat there is characterized by a small level difference between soil and water, while typical plants have shallow roots. When that difference starts to increase the original plants disappear and get replaced by new, untypical ones.


And then, almost at the end of the conversation and almost by chance, this jumped out and delighted me the most: an ecological fairy-tale that became reality.

In 2011. one company was about to fill up parts of the Linz harbor to increase its useful area. The operation was planned to last until 2013. But Gerald had a concept to propose to the Upper Austria government: the contractor should provide some kind of compensation for the area of the river he will turn into the land.

The idea came from old maps showing a jagged coastline at a certain zone upstream from Linz instead of the simple, continuous present-day banks reinforced by stones. The contractor should make a sidearm and an island, converting the area into the former state.

The hard working Danube finally got a present from someone: a brand new island

The company fiercely opposed the concept, stating that it would make expenses much higher. At the same time, they planned to buy filling material somewhere else and to transport it to the harbor by 20.000 truck rides (through the heavy Linz traffic): the Danube didn’t exist  in their plans at all, except as “the water in the harbor”.

But by using the excavated material from island/sidearm area (and that material was not only free but also of higher quality comparing to the one they planned to buy) and transporting it by river to the harbor, the project price actually got - lower than projected.

At the same time the Danube got better bank configuration: the terrain was lowered by 5 m on an area of 16 hectares to make the island (its top is 3m lower than the landscape before) and by 10 m to make the sidearm.

The map shows filled up zones in the Linz harbor (red) and the new island (green)

And they all lived happily after all. While the story shows that, at least sometimes, business/development and ecology can be reconciled. Thank you Mr. Zauner.:)

If you ask me, Gerald can be also proud of how he fixed my glasses while we were talking the Danube stuff. I even noted that with this small antenna, Wi-Fi reception of my phone improved by 18%.


Good bye Germany - Hello Austria


I come from a country where we at first could travel the world without a visa, like almost no one else. And then there was a time when we couldn’t travel anywhere without (hard to get) visa. So I learned to appreciate every crossing of a border, even if it was as symbolic as this one. It is beautiful - and important - to cross borders easily as if they do not exist. It is a natural right that we acquire by birth and that we carry through our whole life - regardless of whether others respect it or not. It is part of our dignity, the measure of our humanity.

And where it could feel stronger than along a mighty river that just flows and flows, minds its own business and does not care about human passion for invisible lines? I want to flow like that. But instead of diverging in a sea, after passing this board I will feel a bit more compact, a bit more human :)

Continue in Austria

Programme co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI)