2012 Review

Danube Day 2012: Get active for the rivers! The 9th Danube Day reached millions of people in 2012, generating enthusiasm and creativity for the Danube rivers. Hundreds of thousands participated at 350 events, involving 900 organisations.

EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, undertook a 5-day tour of the region to assess benefits arising from the Danube Strategy. Serbia held the largest celebration: 150,000 people at 150 events in 28 locations; media coverage reached up to 4 million. In Romania, 192 organisations energised Danube spirits, with major events in Bucharest and regional festivals in 15 towns. Persina Nature Park was the setting for Bulgaria's main Danube Festival, enjoyed by thousands. While Ukraine's ‘Tisza - Younger Sister of the Danube' festival brought together hundreds of children from the Tisza and Danube Delta regions.

Austria's Danube Day ship, the MS Negrelli, brought Danube Day to 5000 people in Upper and Lower Austria; while 2000 Germans took part in Bavaria's Action Weekend. Hungary's Rural Development Ministry held a celebration whilst Budapest residents took part in the summer-long ‘Danube Flow - Danube is Calling' festival. 2000 Slovakians enjoyed boat trips, tours and performances in the park at the 6th Gabčíkovo Open-Day.

The largest event in 2012 was the basin-wide Danube Art Master schools competition, coordinated by Global Water Partnership (GWPCEE). 1400 artworks from 14 countries were entered in 2012. The Czech Republic held the largest contest with 450 children submitting entries. News of Danube Day in Bosnia-Herzegovina reached thousands via radio interviews about the Art Master competition. Whilst in Slovenia, 1000 young Slovenes vied to be Sava-Drava Art Masters, Water Detectives and top journalists in three national art and science challenges. These are just a few of the 100 events showcasing the ‘Danube Arts'.

The day provided the impetus for cross-sector cooperation in many countries: in Croatia, navigation and environmental sectors met at Kopački rit to discuss joint initiatives; while in Moldova, the Environment Minister, officials, NGOs and civil society discussed River Prut cooperation and joined in a ‘Prut - the river that unites us' festival in Valeni near Cahul.

International events

  • Danube Art Master competition
    Children from 14 Danube countries demonstrate what the rivers mean to them in an annual basin-wide contest. Out of 1,400 entries, Czech children were crowned overall ‘International Art Masters for 2012'. View winning artworks on Flickr. The competition is overseen by Global Water Partnership. 
  • Commissioner Hahn tours the region
    EU Regional Policy Commissioner, Johannes Hahn, undertook a 5-day tour to coincide with Danube Day, visiting Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria one year on from the launch of the Danube Strategy. See Serbia below.
  • Joint Romanian-Bulgarian sustainable development project
    During Romania's Danube Day conference, Ministers Rovana Plumb and Eduard Hellvig signed a funding contract for a joint Romanian-Bulgarian sustainable development project, ‘Danube WATER'. Along with EU Commissioner Hahn, Mrs Plumb attended an international seminar on Romanian-Bulgarian relations. See Romania below.
  • International Blue Week
    Blue Week is an initiative of the Danube Competence Centre working with city/municipality authorities to celebrate the Danube through music, carnivals, theatre, workshops, sport and exhibitions. The 3 Danube-dedicated days took place in Vidin and Donji Milanovac in Bulgaria and Kladovo in Serbia.
  • Joint survey of the Romanian-Bulgarian border
    The annual Bulgarian-Romanian expedition examines bird colonies along the 400km stretch from Silistra to Vidin. Undertaken by canoe and foot, it brings together scientists from WWF, the Bulgarian Academy of Science and Romanian Ornithological Society.
  • ‘Blessed is the swamp': cross-border cooperation at Kopački rit
    A joint Croatian-Hungarian celebration took place at Kopački rit to increase public awareness of the area's value. Visitors were led on an adventure tour and boat trip, part of an initiative taking place within the EU Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) ‘Cross-border protection of the middle Danube' project. 
  • International Sava Commission 2012 Youth Parliament
    Young people from Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina met in Lonjsko polje Nature Park in Croatia for a two-day camp to discuss water issues. 
  • Danube Day on the Austrian-Slovak border
    A joint Austrian-Slovak action saw people jump on their bikes, board the train, ride the ferry and swim for the Morava! Prof Klaghofer of WPA Vienna explained the role of soil in predicting flood risk at the event run by the SONDAR Soil Strategy Network. 
  • Romanian-Moldovan Danube exhibition
    A ‘Danube History and Iconography' exhibition was the highlight of a series of Galati County Council touring exhibitions visiting Galati, Drobeta Turnu Severin and Cahul (Moldova).