What is Danube Cultural Cluster?

Short introduction of the organization

The Danube Cultural Cluster – an international project – is an initiative of Balassi Institute – Collegium Hungaricum Vienna, established in 2012. The Danube Cultural Cluster is a cooperation platform, developed in accordance with the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR). Its primary aim is to represent the interests of contemporary cultural and creative projects, as well as to establish a communication and cooperation platform for them while generating own projects with an eye toward enhancing the 'Danube' as a quality cultural brand.

The Danube Cultural Cluster belongs to the Priority Area 3 (Culture, Tourism, and People-to-people Relations) of the EUSDR, based and developed under the recommendations of the action plan of EUSDR. Recently an excellent horizontal collaboration has been developed with Priority Area 10 (Stepping up institutional capacity and cooperation).

The Danube Cultural Cluster association is proud to collaborate with such institutes and NGOs that have been engaging in numerous international and cultural events and partnerships. The 12 members of the association in 2015 are (in order of Danube flow direction):

The members mutually support each other’s Danube-related activities and projects by promotion, recommendation, acquiring of partners, sponsors or venues.

The Danube Cultural Cluster's thus far most successful, international literature brand is the DONAU LOUNGE. It was originally developed along with its own stand and program for the area's international book fairs – hence a typically urban topic. The DONAU LOUNGE started in 2012 and has been featured in Vienna (AT), Târgu Mureș (RO), Bucharest (RO), and Lviv/Lemberg (UA). This year the DONAU LOUNGE goes to Bucharest, Belgrade and Vienna.

The Danube Cultural Cluster is proud to be the first owner and submitter of a cultural project that got funding from the EUDRS's Technical Assistance Facility throughout 2014. This project was created by an international consortium of institutions from Germany, Austria, Hungary and Romania, and is titled 'Danube Culture Dialogue/Platform'. It will contain a cultural guiding structure, strategy creation, and a Small Project Fund.

The cluster is regularly involved into the preparatory activities and the organization of the Danube Conferences on Culture (2013: Ulm, DE and 2014: Novi Sad, RS). The next issue will take place in Timişoara (RO) in May 2015.

The Danube Cultural Cluster association is a strong partner of important Danube-related organizations and institutions like the Council of Danube Cities and Regions, the „Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Donauländer“ (ARGE Donau) and the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe.

So far, the association has been supported by Balassi Institute – Collegium Hungaricum Vienna, the Austrian Federal Chancellery) and the „EU Förderagentur GmbH“ of the City of Vienna. The DONAU LOUNGE project was supported by the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and External Affairs and Land Niederösterreich (Upper Austria).

General aims of the Cluster

  • to fulfil the desire of cultural players in the Danube region to increase the number of quality cooperations
  • to establish the „Danube” as a quality cultural brand, to strengthen the Danube community and identity through more dialogue between the different players
  • to create a platform that serves as a permanent room for strategic policy exchange on cultural matters in the Danube area based on policy priorities both from policy/administration side as well as from the side of the NGOs mixing in a new approach top-down and bottom-up initiatives in order to best support the attractiveness and innovation potential of the Danube Region (see also: TAF-DRP application)
  • to fight for a so-called „small project fund” for joint contemporary cultural projects in the Danube region
  • to fulfil the action plan of the EUDRS and the targets of Priority Area 3 (Culture and Tourism), especially the following ones:
    • “Develop a Danube Brand for the entire Danube Region based on already existing work”.
    • “Ensure the sustainable preservation of cultural heritage and natural values by developing relevant clusters, and networks of museums, interpretation and visitor centres within the Danube Region.”
    • “Promoting exchange and networking in the field of the contemporary arts in the Danube Region.”

Methods, tools and implementation

  • to serve as a project development centre (brand building through own initiatives, projects and promotion campaigns)
  • to establish an information and cooperation network (based on reciprocity, when added together the power of cluster members is greater than the sum of the parts)
  • to serve as a consultancy and lobby centre (for cultural affairs and activities in the Danube region)

Managing organisation and contact

Danube Cultural Cluster – Verein für die engere kulturelle Zusammenarbeit der Donauländer (association for the strenghtening of the cultural cooperation in the Danube region) – registered association under Austrian law (reg. no.: 556555445, date: 27 Dec 2012) Initiator: Balassi Institute – Collegium Hungaricum Vienna (Hungarian Cultural Institute) Address: c/o Balassi Institute – Collegium Hungaricum Vienna (A-1020 Vienna, Hollandstraße 4) Contact person: Dr. Márton Méhes (founding member and statutory of the association) Email: danubecluster [at] gmail.com Organisation structure: independent (non-profit) association with

  • an international membership based on partner institutions and NGOs from the Danube region (invitations to membership in progress)
  • an advisory board representing important stakeholder institutions and distinguished personalities

Expert works

EUDRS PA3 membership

Márton Méhes is observing member in the international Steering Group of Priority Area 3 (Culture and Tourism) of the EUDRS and can therefore contribute to the development of the cultural and touristic issues of the Strategy. More info about the Priority Areas >>

River Show

The Danube Strategy River Show project is specially designed to inform interested local organisations, people, as well as administrations of cities and municipalities in the Danube Area about the Strategy and its implications for the coming years. During 2013/14 forums in several cities in Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Ukraine will be organised. Márton Méhes is the permanent referent and moderator for the cultural sector. Until now, River Show information days have taken place in the following cities: Esztergom (HU), Novi Sad (RS), Smederevo (RS) and Ruse (BG), bringing new expertise and contacts for the Danube Cultural Cluster. Initiators: European Danube Academy Ulm, the Foster Europe Foundation, Eisenstadt.


Photo: Paolo Margari_ulmos_