Festivities stretched along rivers in 14 countries, 6 capitals and 100s of towns. With the final endorsement of the EU Danube Strategy the previous week, river basin issues were prominent in the region: Danube Day also provided a platform to launch implementation of the Strategy.
Danube Day travelled through the air on the ‘Greet the Danube' horn blast, fluttered in the wind on the ‘Danube United' flag and empowered its way across the internet. It was carried in the words of ministers opening festivities, in the exertion of volunteers clearing rubbish and in the spirit of those working on a better future. It was set into stone in a 5-country Tisza tribute. Its influence grew in the hearts and minds of children striving to be ‘Art Masters' and could be heard in the laughter of thousands as they joined in Danube Day fun.
We got active for the Danube on the water, in the air, on the earth... and with the odd firework or two!
Read a review of Danube Day 2011 in Danube Watch (2011/3).
International and cross-border events united the Basin in celebration:
Danube Art Master competition
16,000 children from 14 Danube countries expressed how they felt about their river in this basin-wide contest. 8 years of the competition have produced over 30,000 artworks. Overseen by new coordinators - Global Water Partnership - 14,000 drawings and nearly 1000 sculptures were created this year. German children were crowned the ‘2011 International Art Masters'. View the winning artworks on Flickr.
Five-country tribute at the source of the Tisza
Officials from Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Serbia unveiled plaques commemorating the 5 countries' solid commitment to ongoing cooperation. The plaques mark the 2011 adoption of the Tisza River Basin Management Plan.
Danube Box international workshop and competition
The first Danube Box Workshop in Budapest saw teachers from 7 countries share experience of using the ICPDR's interactive educational kit for schools. The 4th annual Danube Box competition organised by GWP Hungary and involving 400 schools went international in 2011 with Slovakia securing first place. Czech and Serbian versions were also distributed in 2011. See www.danubebox.org for details of Austrian, Bulgarian, Czech , German, Hungarian, Romanian and Serbian versions (also in English).
Danube Day flag ceremony
The 'Danube Fish United' flag continued on its 14-year tour of the Basin, passing from Romania to Hungary at a ceremony in Budapest. The flag depicting 14 Danube fish, each in the colours of one of the 14 countries, is a symbol of Basin solidarity.
Organised by WWF, this canoe expedition saw Bulgarian and Romanian scientists jointly survey a 400km stretch of the river. The bird survey from Silistra to Vidin found drastic declines. Counts were 500 pairs down on 2010, thought to be due to unprecedented low water: Squacco heron, Night heron and Little egret were most affected.
Danube + website
A new interactive way to learn about the Danube was launched by WWF and the Coca-Cola Company Europe Group, with support from the ICPDR. The online platform provides a satellite map and allows you to access and share information on a specific river stretch. Try it out at www.danube.panda.org.
Danube Day at the European Parliament
An initiative of MEPs from Romania, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia and Austria resulted in the opening of a Danube Day photo exhibition - Treasures of the Danube - at the European Parliament.
EU Danube Strategy
To mark the endorsement of the EU Danube Strategy, independent events took place including the Hungarofest Duna Party and Floating Danube Conference.