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05 Jun 2024

EU funds Great Spa Towns of Europe youth project to foster intercultural dialogue among spa towns
BY Megan Whitby

In March, pupils from Montecatini Terme visited Baden Bei Wien, where they took part in a World Heritage Puzzle rally – INTERPACE exchange students will take part in similar activities

In March, pupils from Montecatini Terme visited Baden Bei Wien, where they took part in a World Heritage Puzzle rally – INTERPACE exchange students will take part in similar activities
photo: psb/sap

The Great Spa Towns of Europe (GSTE) has announced the successful approval of its funding application under the European Town Twinning Programme. This funding will support a year-long project named INTERSPACE, aimed at fostering intercultural dialogue among communities within the GSTE network.

INTERSPACE, which stands for "Inter-spa town celebration of European culture and heritage," aims to raise awareness and understanding of shared European heritage and values, with GSTE towns serving as the central locations for all activities.

The initiative is set to engage more than 400 young people and citizens from six European countries, speaking five different languages, and living in the 11 distinct spa towns.

As part of the project, students will visit Baden bei Wien in November 2024 and Mariánské Lázně in April 2025 (both GSTE member towns), coinciding with the GSTE General Assemblies.
These visits and other planned activities will highlight and promote the cultural legacy of European spa towns, reinforcing the unity and diversity of European heritage.

Chiara Ronchini, GSTE secretary general, said: "This will be the first youth project to involve all the Great Spa Towns, and the first to use co-design and co-creation approaches.

“The young participants will learn about our shared heritage and also express why heritage matters to them and how they can champion and preserve it. This project will also lay the foundation for a Great Spa Towns Youth Forum, allowing young people to actively participate in the management, promotion, and conservation of our spa heritage.

“We are grateful for the European Union's support, as this funding enables us to achieve much more than we could have otherwise."

The main objectives of the project and the GSTE include promoting active youth participation and education, fostering cooperation between municipalities, and instilling a sense of belonging and custodianship of European cultural heritage.

Through this project, the GSTE aims to enhance intercultural dialogue, mutual understanding and friendship, while raising awareness of a unique European narrative.

The project will run until June 30, 2025.

More about GSTE
The GSTE is a serial transnational World Heritage Site, comprising 11 famous historic thermal spa towns and cities in seven countries.

These include:
• Baden bei Wien, Austria.
• Spa, Belgium.
• Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.
• Marianske Lazne, Czech Republic.
• Frantiskovy Lazne, Czech Republic.
• Vichy, France.
• Baden-Baden, Germany.
• Bad Ems, Germany.
• Bad Kissingen, Germany.
• Montecatini Terme, Italy.
• Bath, UK.

There are over 400 working spa towns across Europe and those selected are said to be the crème de la crème of Europe’s best.

The GSTE was inscribed on the World Heritage List at the 44th World Heritage Committee meeting in July 2021.



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