Danube Day has become the largest river festival in the world, with huge festivities on the riverbanks, public meetings and educational events. It is also a basin-wide celebration reflecting the diversity of the region. It pays tribute to the vital role the Danube and its tributaries play in people's lives: providing water, food, power, recreation and livelihoods. Coordination is carried out by the ICPDR’s Public Participation Expert Group (PP EG) at the international level – providing branded goods, give-aways such as the Danube Day bags, hotly tipped fashion items; nationally, member countries and partners organise the events with support from local corporate partners.
When the ICPDR began planning the first Danube Day, it was never dreamt that it would grow into the massive event that it is today. Back then, active partners numbered around 150 and there were 100 events taking place. Now, the ICPDR and more than 450 partner organisations plan and coordinate over 200 events in 14 countries around the Danube region.
Danube Day prides itself on being the biggest river party in the world. Government, NGO and corporate partners worked hard to ensure a spread of events across the entire Basin.
The ICPDR would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everybody who got involved in Danube Day 2019!
Read on for national and international highlights...
Bavarians celebrated in close partnership with their Austrian neighbours at the border, including demonstrations of taking and analysing samples. Baden-Württembergers on the other hand, held an afternoon of Danube-related activities for kids, including handicraft workshops with kids, book-reading sessions, the creation of a 'Danube fish tank' (built inside a shoe box) and a 'raft' (made of recycled wine corks)!
As in previous years, Czech festivities were focused in 2019 in the Moravia-Silesia region, centred in the village of Mosty u Jablunkova. The village dedicated its annual 'Children's Day' to the Danube River, with river-themed puzzles and creative eco activities. Events were also hosted in Prague and Brno, educating the public on Austro-Czech transboundary cooperation.
Vienna’s Stadtpark hosted over a dozen stalls presenting the biodiversity, cultural diversity, and natural importance of the Danube to the public. Over 1,000 local schoolchildren were also invited to test their knowledge in an exciting 'puzzle rally', experiment with water, or get creative at one of the many drawing and crafting stations.
2,000 people attended Danube Day events at the Gabčíkovo Dam in June featuring river cruises on the Danube, a 'dog rescue squad' demonstration, a huge foam show, environmental quizzes, a show by Slovak singer Karmen Pál-Baláž, and more. People could also take the chance to visit the hydropower plant during free tours.
Three days of events reached thousands of people across Hungary for Danube Day 2019. These include a host of activities including a fireboat demonstration and firefighter orchestra on Budapest's Margaret Island; races, music, and cooking in the city of Győr; and a “Safer Danube” focus at the annual Györkőc Kid Festival.
A cast of thousands throughout Slovenia got down to the river for Danube Day 2019 actions, focusing on education. The Bled Water Festival discussed pressing water issues worldwide, the 8th Meeting of the Sava Youth Parliament discussed harmonizing water interests in the DRB, and ICPDR President Péter Kovács attended the International Conference, ‘Live with Water’, resolving to further integrate young people into water resources management.
Hrvatske Vode celebrated Danube Day 2019 along the riverbanks in the form of children’s education with picture books and a workshop. Employees from Croatia’s Main Water Management lab also showed the kids how to perform water analysis, measuring dissolved oxygen and nutrients in river water, and comparing samples of polluted and clean water.
Educational workshops throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina introduced schoolchildren and adults to the plant and animal life of the river on Danube Day 2019, raising awareness about conservation and river protection.
Serbia hosted swathes of Danube Day 2019 celebrations across the country, organized with the support of the Republic Water Directorate. The core central event took place in Belgrade however, aiming to reach elementary schoolchildren and young Serbians with workshops on the importance of rivers and methods for their sustainable use and long-term preservation – plus a program of ballet and other performances!
Each of Romania’s 11 water basin authorities hosted events, including boat cruises, educational activities, riverbank cleaning actions, river dam field visits, and more. “I would like not to remember the importance of Danube River only during the anniversaries. Moment by moment, citizens, specialists, all of us, must be responsible. We must be active for a Safer Danube!" - Mr. Ioan Denes, Minister of Waters and Forest of Romania at Danube Day in Braila.
Bulgaria hosted over 30 initiatives for Danube Day 2019. The event-packed program included festivals, open air events, environmental events, exhibitions, triathlon racing, discussions and town celebrations. More than 5,700 people participated in all the initiatives, including events in Vidin, and a fish festival in Kozloduy and Nikopol, river stone painting in Oryahovo they painted on river stone, and a Danube quiz in Gulyantsi.
At the centre of 2019's Danube Day events in Moldova was the Folc Festival in the village of Giurgiulesti located just on the confluence of the Prut and Danube, involving overt 100 artists in traditional music, dance, and art. Other activities included the presentation of some 50 artworks for the Danube Art Master competition, plus a bike tour along the Prut river, from Ungheni to its confluence with the Danube (around 220 km).
At the Danube Delta in Kiliya, an event was hosted featuring a variety of voices a faces regarding water management. Experts from the Dnipro basin within the frame of the EU's Water Initiative project shared information, while the Joint Danube and Black Sea Surveys were presented to the public. A live sampling also took place, demonstrating how the process works right there on the banks of the Danube.