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The times are challenging, but we continue to plan the next activities, webinars and training sessions. Soon we will send you more info on the upcoming transnational project management & capacity building activities.

Stay tuned!

We are super excited to announce that our project has been extended until the end of the year! What does it mean for you?

Even more webinars with our experts who will help you in creating new, original projects or improving those already started. Also, check out #Umbrella training and rent-an-expert sessions on-line! Soon we will come back with the first dates and information on the topics. If you’re looking for some specific topic or have any suggestions – just let us know!

We would like to present to you one of the outcomes of YCGN project – an ebook on “Youth civic engagement in the South Baltic Region.
The main aim of the YCGN project led by the Association of Polish Communes Euroregion Baltic was to increase cross-border cooperation resulting in building capacity of local actors working with youth and to demonstrate the benefits of soft cross-border cooperation for solving common youth issues. Project objectives were: enhancing cross-border cooperation of young people in partner countries; improving capacity and competencies of local governments and their representatives to engage in civil dialogue with youth, and disseminating project results for the development of future plans for increased youth participation in local and cross-border issues in the SB region.

The issues of civic participation, including youth civic participation, have been present in both the scientific and political discourse for many years. The changes taking place in modern societies and civic activity encourage the search for effective solutions, especially systemic ones, to involve as many citizens as possible in decision-making processes.
The importance of youth issues has been emphasised in a number of European Union documents: the Maastricht Treaty, the Treaty of Lisbon, European Commission White Paper, the European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life, the European Pact for Youth and the EU Strategy for Youth. Young people are also the subject of many national documents: laws, ordinances and strategies of Sweden, Lithuania and Poland. However, neither the European Union policy nor the policies of Lithuania, Poland and Sweden concerning youth and its civic participation can ensure the desired level of youth engagement in decision-making concerning young people as citizens. International projects,
particularly those co-financed by the European Union, have an important role to play in promoting young people’s civic participation. They allow the exchange of knowledge and experience, the creation of new solutions to problems and their implementation at the grassroots level. This was the role of the South Baltic Youth Core Groups Network (SB YCGN) project implemented in the framework of the 2014–2020 Interreg V-A South Baltic Programme by a Polish-Lithuanian-Swedish partnership. One of its outputs is this monograph.

The aim of this study was to show youth civic participation as a social inclusion element in the Southern Baltic region in need of reinforcement, based on the examples of selected municipalities from Lithuania, Poland and Sweden. The authors focused on the diagnosis of key elements of youth civic engagement at local and cross-border level, taking into account the context of national youth policies and the European Union policy. The problem was highlighted from the perspective of two social groups: adult decision-makers represented by employees of local institutions and young people aged 14–24 from the Lithuanian municipality of Telšiai, Polish municipalities of Dzierzgoń, Elbląg, Gdynia, Iława and Nowe Miasto Lubawskie, and the Swedish municipality of Hässleholm. For this reason, the core part of the monograph consists of the results of quantitative studies and qualitative studies conducted on the two populations. The objective of the quantitative studies was to identify and assess the needs of institutions and young people relating to the stimulation of youth civic participation at local and cross-border level, youth engagement in decision-making processes, key barriers to civic participation of young people and effective forms and methods of involving youth in active citizenship. The quantitative studies of institutions and youth were conducted by a Polish-Lithuanian group whose members were Prof. Krystyna Gomółka, Dr.
Izabela Borucińska (Gdańsk University of Technology), Prof. Ligita Šimanskienė and Dr. Jurgita Paužuolienė (Klaipeda University). The qualitative studies were carried out with the aim of supplementing and broadening the knowledge of youth civic participation issues at local and cross-border level, with particular emphasis on political involvement. The authors of these studies were the Lithuanian team composed of Prof. Rimantas Stašys (Klaipeda University) and Dr. Remigijus Civinskas (Vytautas Magnus University).

To read more about the YCGN project –

On 25-26 February 2020, the Umbrella project held its third cross border conference on Sustainable Tourism at the beautiful Hotel Saxkjøbing in Guldborgsund municipality, Denmark. More than 65 participants from Poland, Lithuania, Denmark, Sweden and Germany took part in the conference to discuss the latest trends of sustainable tourism in the Baltic Sea Region.

The conference offered an excellent overview of the objectives in the EU Baltic Sea Strategy – and how different regions and projects in the South Baltic Sea work within the frame of sustainable tourism.

We also had some fantastic workshops in the areas of;

1) Nature and Coastal Tourism,

2) Cultural heritage Tourism,

3) Food / Gastro Tourism,

and 4) Cycling Tourism, and we hope that these workshops have paved the ground for future projects and international cooperation.

A big thank you to the host of Guldborgsund Municipality for organising this event.

FOTO: Anders Knudsen/Folketidende

Presentations to download:

EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, Policy Area Tourism, Andrea Krabbe PA Tourism_ Andrea Krabbe

Biking South Baltic, Jesper Pørksen 2020-02-25 cross border konference sakskøbing

South Baltic Wellbeing Tourism, Joanna Kohnen SBWELL_Presentation_24-24-Feb-20_Umbrella_Tourism_Conference_Joanna_Kohnen

FOTO: Anders Knudsen/Folketidende

FOTO: Anders Knudsen/Folketidende

FOTO: Anders Knudsen/Folketidende

Dear Friends,

Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 and the pandemic situation we decided to postpone the Umbrella project final conference that was planned on 18-19th May in Gdańsk, Poland. We hope that the event will take place in fall and we will let you know the exact date as soon as we confirm the new dates.

Please stay safe and all the best from Umbrella and Euroregion Baltic Team!

The study visit in the Umbrella project framework took place in November 2019, but we decided we should present you the outcomes, as it was a very fruitful and exciting meeting for our participants.

Report from Swedish Study Trip to Guldborgsund Municipality, Denmark 12/11/19 – 14/11/19 – prepared by Daniel Granello.


Kalmar County is characterized by low population density and large rural areas. Many of these areas are dealing with challenges, such as depopulation and lack of employment opportunities.

Kalmar county consists of 12 municipalities and Region Kalmar County organizes a network of rural developers. Within the network, common challenges and experiences are discussed. Likewise, the public officials have many contacts and exchange of experiences with other municipalities, counties and organizations in Sweden. The contacts with organizations outside Sweden are, however, limited.

Danish society has many common traits with Swedish society. Likewise, the challenges in rural areas are often common in Denmark and Sweden.

Within the Umbrella project, Interreg SBP, a study trip was organized to Guldborgsund municipality in southern Denmark, where rural developers from Kalmar County and Guldborgsund municipality could meet and exchange experiences and discuss common challenges and possibilities for common projects.

Participants from Sweden

  • Kalmar County Administrative board
  • Högsby municipality
  • Mörbylånga municipality
  •  Oskarshamn municipality
  •  Region Kalmar County
  • Västervik municipality

Participants from Denmark

  • Gulborgsund municipality


12/11/19          18:00   Welcome dinner

13/11/19        09:30     Welcome to Guldborgsund municipality,

                            Presentation- Rural development in Guldborg municipality

Anna Topp Gustavsen and Carina Woolhead from Gulborgsund municipality gave a presentation about Guldborgsund municipality and the organization of the rural development initiatives. In many ways, the situation in Guldborgsund is similar to the situation in Kalmar county, yet there are also some big differences, such as Guldborgsund’s position, inbetween Copenhagen and Hamburg.

10:45               Danish rural development Policies and cooperation with municipalities

Camilla Nissen from the Danish Business Authority gave a presentation about the strategies from the authority to gain back a ”regaining vicinity” as a way of stimulating development and also about recent political initiatives to stimulate rural development in Denmark.

14:30               Initiatives and development in Nystedt: strengths and weaknesses, international projects, LAG-projects.

Helle Levisen and Jesper Pedersen from Nystedt Development Group gave a presentation about development initiatives in Nystedt and a round tour of the village. The closeness to the sea and the marina has a special role for the development of the village.

18:30               Dinner and discussions

14/11/19          10:00   Local initiatives in Guldborg and Omegn

Guldborg and Omegn Development Group gave a presentation about the local initiatives for development in Guldborg and Omegn and a guided tour in Guldborg. Guldborg has seen a radical change to come since the E47 was built and the village’s position changed from being a natural stop on the way between Copenhagen and Hamburg, to the present situation, where a stop in Guldborg usually requires a detour.

12:00   Lunch and information about the Black-Spotted Goby project

Bithe Pawlik’s restaurant Postholderens sted is famous for local food of high quality. We enjoyed local food and got a presentation about the Round Goby project, in which they have experimented in different ways to use the invasive species Round Goby to develop food.


The aim of the study trip was to exchange experiences, learn from good examples and discuss possible joint projects and cooperation in the future.

During the study trip, there have been a lot of interesting discussions and exchange of experiences. As mentioned before, the similarities between Sweden and Denmark are many and the societies are organized in a similar way. In the same way, Guldborgsund Municipality and Kalmar county have some similar traits: both have a strong rural character and are characterized by food production and to some extent, tourism.

Yet, there are also some major differences between our countries, and between Guldborgsund Municipality and Kalmar Region county.

Guldborgsund municipality is situated in-between two metropolitan areas: Copenhagen and Hamburg. In the future, the Femern Bælt-connection will, even more, emphasize this fact. Kalmar county, on the other hand, is situated in the easternmost part of Sweden with poor connections to metropolitan areas.

In 2007, Denmark conducted a large reform of the society where the number of municipalities was radically reduced from 270 to 98. This, of course, affected the rural society since the municipalities became larger all over Denmark. In Sweden, there have been a lot of discussions of a similar reform, but it has not yet been conducted. Therefore, In Sweden, there are a lot of municipalities with small populations.

Another difference between Sweden and Denmark is that since a long time, but especially since 2015 Sweden experienced large immigration, while the immigration to Denmark has been of a different size. The immigration has in many ways affected Swedish society, not at least in some rural areas. This is also the case in Kalmar county.

The similarities are however more than the differences, and the study trip has resulted in gained experiences and knowledge, new contacts, and ideas for common projects in the future (see below).

Areas of special interest for cooperation and projects

For the Swedish delegation, in the excellent work of rural development in Guldborgsund, there were some areas of special interest for the Swedish context:

The inclusion of the civil society in the work of the public sector

The tradition of voluntary organizations is strong in the Scandinavian countries. In Sweden, the importance of these organizations in the rural areas has been stronger since changes in the society have weakened the public sector and the commercial service in the countryside. In Sweden, we are looking at different models to assist the civil society in taking the role of the public sector in certain areas. This will bring many positive effects, but will not always be easy to organize.

In Guldborgsund municipality, in some ways as a response to the reform of 2007 where the municipalities grew and therefore required a larger inclusion, the civil sector is included in the public work on a regular basis.

Picture 1. One example of inclusion on a regular basis of the civil society in the public work in Guldborgsund municipality.

The presentations of Anna Topp Gustavsen and Carina Woolhead from Gulborgsund municipality showed how this work was organized. There is an organisation of village councils for each village, and there are also thematic groups, within for example bike tourism or horse tourism.

Also, during the visits to Nystedt and Guldborg, the local groups presented their strategies and work to develop their villages and surrounding areas.

While both Denmark and Sweden have a similarly strong tradition with civil organisations and the work of inclusion is going on in both countries, a joint project would be interesting to strengthen the work. The importance of the civil sector seems to constantly increase concerning the rural development in both countries, and it would be fruitful and beneficial to work together with these questions.  In this work the theories of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs could be included.

Storytelling for rural development

The exploration of the local history and storytelling is a way of regaining the unity and the engagement in local communities. The result may also be used to attract visitors and develop the rural areas in different ways.

In Sweden, there are some places where local groups in cooperation with museums and the public sector have made the legends and stories available to visitors. One of the examples is the land of legends in Ljungby (http://www.sagobygden.se/en/the-land-of-legends).

Both Guldborgsund and Kalmar county are areas of long history where the people are proud of their history. During the study visit to Guldborgsund, it was obvious in both Nystedt and Guldborg, that the history of the place was of major importance.

In a joint project we could work together, and in cooperation with the civil society, to develop different methods to explore and make the local history visible and to use it to increase the attractiveness of the village or the area.

Networking for rural development

Rural developers are often quite alone in their profession in municipalities and counties. In Kalmar county, the Region Kalmar county runs a network for rural developers, where the participants can exchange experiences, run common projects, listen to guest lectures and conduct study visits. Also, within the network, there are cooperation with the local level as well as with the governmental level of the society.

It would be interesting to develop the network to include civil society as well. This could be a way to really increase the capability to run projects and to include the civil society in the work of the public sector.

In the work, a cooperation between Denmark and Sweden would be fruitful. How could we together develop our rural networks in the best way?

Small harbour and marina development

In both Guldborgsund municipality and Kalmar county the sea is always present. Kalmar county has the longest coast of Sweden, with plenty of small marinas and harbours. Guldborgsund municipality is surrounded by the seas and they also have many small harbours and marinas along the coast.

Often these marinas are managed by civil organisations in cooperation with the public sector and may contribute in an essential way to the development of the village. Different methods to attract tourists and to include the local society in the work of preserving the harbours could be studied.

Picture 2. View from the newly built sauna in the marina of Guldborgsund.

Other common areas of interest

Since there are many similarities between Kalmar county and Guldborgsund municipality, there are more fields of interest for joint projects in the future.

Both areas are strong in food production and tourism. With food production, projects with a focus on local food, food tourism and new crops are of interest. Within tourism, rural tourism in general, as well as special initiatives for bike tourism, trekking and horse tourism would be interesting. And of course, maritime tourism and activities, as sailing, fishing or diving tourism.

 Newsletter No 3

The FilmNet project is one of the few projects implemented in the Interreg South Baltic program, which used such a method as “Job Shadowing” (JS). What is it? How can it be used? What are the benefits?

The concept of Job Shadowing comes from business and means “accompanying internship”. It involves learning by observing the work of others, more experienced employees. Hence, moreover, the name – a person who determines with the help of this tool accompanies the employee being watched – is like a shadow. This is also the difference between JS and professional internship or volunteering – here, the delegated person does not provide work for the organization or institution, does not make the decisions and actively participate in meetings. Of course, can be involved in various activities, but this doesn’t impose any obligations on this person.

Job shadowing is a relatively new phenomenon but can bring direct benefits to both companies and employees. What about projects within international cooperation?

 It turns out that this tool is very rarely used – although it could be more often applied, especially in projects related to employee mobility or capacity building of partner organizations. In Interreg programs, it is used only marginally, in Erasmus + slightly better – but also to a limited extent. Meanwhile, according to many reports, it is the ability to directly track the work of foreign teachers and experts which provide the best results.

In Interreg programs, where we talk about exchange of experience, good practices, building organizational potential, contacts between people – job shadowing can be a great tool, opening both people and organizations

The FilmNet project is one of those unusual activities where the Job Shadowing instrument was used. Almost every partner accepted employees of partner organizations within their institution. The visits took place in October at the Institute for New Media in Rostock, (Germany) and in November 2018 at FilmRegion Sydost in Växjo, (Sweden),  in September 2019 at Center of European Meetings “Światowid” in Elbląg, (Poland) and last – on 24 -28.02.2020 at the Business and Tourist Information Center in Rietavas, (Lithuania). Each of these events lasted five business days.

 What were the results?

 Employees of the Polish CSE “Światowid” could “get inside” other solutions and experiences in the field of film education, e.g. see how film clubs work in Sweden, mini film funds for young filmmakers. They gained inspiration for innovative initiatives and projects of a film nature, e.g. in the functioning of the Swedish project “Filmriket” the platform related to the promotion of film production among children and young people.

Partners from Rostock (Institute for New Media) emphasized the positive aspect of professional exchange with partners abroad in the form of obtaining a different perspective and the opportunity to reflect on their work, meet new project partners and establish relationships with them. It was essential to include some of the experience gained into the daily practice of their organization, primarily related to the creation of a network of film festivals for children and young people (based on the experience of the Youth Cinema Network through participation in Job shadowing in Sweden).

The possibility of intensive exchange with festivals throughout the Baltic Sea region was also gained. The experience and knowledge gathered in this way allowed to slightly modify the program of this year’s German film festival FiSH, which was to begin in 2020 with a competition for young filmmakers in the entire Baltic Sea region!

How can you prepare yourself as an organization and your employees to use such a tool?

We have a few hints…

How long can job shadowing take? From 2 to 60 days, depending on your needs. Partners from the Institute for New Media suggest limiting the shadowing period of work to 3 days. They always combine it with specific work processes, e.g. selection committees, future workshops, media camps. It is worth that the organization sent an employee of its institution identifies its areas for improvement – then it is easier to organize such observation. We do not send our observers either when there is a lot of work in the host organization (the so-called “hot period”), or when we have a “hot season” – there is nothing to observe.

In fact, we should not force a particular scenario – job shadowing is an observation of our daily work, habits, organizational culture – just the life of the organization.

So, we encourage you to take an example from the FilmNet project and the wider use of such a tool as Job Shadowing!

The contents of this Newsletter are the sole responsibility of the authors and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union, the Managing Authority or the Joint Secretariat of the Interreg South Baltic Programme 2014-2020.“

In Interconnect Interreg South Baltic project, we support the idea of sustainable public transport in the South Baltic Sea.
See how easy & pleasurable a journey can be in our coproduction video clip, promoting the #InterCombiTicket connection between Rostock and Nykøbing Falster


#connectivity #mobility #SouthBaltic

This month Umbrella is coming back with the Success Story on INTERCONNECT project. Interconnect supports new and more efficient public transport services both in and between the coastal regions of the South Baltic area – to give the residents and tourists broader and more sustainable options for realising their mobility needs.

Today, the public transport offer in the South Baltic area hardly meets customer expectations for the comfort of making regional and cross-border journeys. Communities of the coastal regions see no clear benefits of choosing public transport over a car for longer trips:

  • dissatisfied with a shortage of tickets allowing multimodal rides (e.g. bus-ferry-train) across the regional borders,
  • difficult access to one-spot passenger information
  • a lack of tailor-made products.

This is particularly visible on ferry links, which see a steadily growing number of cross-border car travels due to customised services and price packages for motorised passengers, while the market segment of foot passengers remains marginal.

Public transport authorities in the South Baltic area require more knowledge about regional and cross-border mobility needs in their communities – both now and in the future – and need deeper expertise on how to match them with sustainable solutions. The usual planning and management tools, market incentives and promotion campaigns in the regional communities to change the travel behaviour tend to fail, as they are usually not preceded by a mapping of no-car travel preferences.

Although many interesting public transport services and products in the South Baltic area have been developed locally, the experience is very scattered and the good practice has not been effectively exchanged at the region-to-region level so far. In addition, some South Baltic regions lack public transport systems and organisations to manage this process.

Read below some useful tips and info from the project partner responsible for the Communication in Interconnect. Answers provided by Ms Ania Dudziak, Project Officer at Euroregion Baltic, Poland.

What has been valuable or what was the most significant asset for you as a person to be a part of this project?

Being a part of this project has given me new self-development opportunities and has widened my knowledge about cross-border cooperation. But most of all, it gave me a  chance to meet many great people from different countries.

What have you discovered from working with other nationalities? Is there something you discovered and you considered as a surprise (for its originality, something you discovered about your the country that you did not know before?)

When working in an international environment, you can always discover something new and surprising, something to learn from. I guess every nationality has a lot to bring “onboard the project”, whether it’s cultural, social, or legal issues. The beauty of working with other nationalities is the possibility of creating something unique that might reach beyond any kind of borders.

If newcomer: What was your experience as a newcomer in the Partnership?

As a newcomer in both partnership and international projects, I was amazed by how well people from different environments/institutions can work together, overcoming any boundaries and sharing their experience and knowledge to gain common goals.

What has your organization gained from the project?

The Interconnect project partnership is about being a part of changes that affect our everyday life, e.g. sustainable transport, mobility etc. The partnership gave us a great chance to extend the contact network of experts, local institutions and companies to cooperate with in the future. It is also a significant opportunity to share know-how and international experience in implementing technical solutions when it comes to a particular area of regional development.

How has the project made an impact on your area?

A great success of the Interconnect project is the intense cross-border cooperation and pilot work to implement technical solutions in developing a model of paying for public transport journeys in cross-border traffic between Region Blekinge(Sweden) and Pomorskie Voivodeship (Poland), as well as the development of the FALA integrated ticket system in Pomorskie Voivodeship.

Has something changed/ improved thanks to your Project?
The process of the implementation of the FALA integrated ticket system in Pomorskie Voivodeship has already started, which will have a significant impact on the ease of use of public transport in this area.

Do you have any good advice for potential new organizations that wish to enter into international projects and CBC networks?

No organization should hesitate to enter into CBC networks and transfer their project ideas to the international level. Reaching international partners gives a project better chances of evolvement and implementation.

In Newsletter No. 1, we wrote about film screenings as a part of the activities within the FilmNet project  – about “Baltic Identity Film Tour”. Such shows and discussions have already taken place in all partner countries, and the Baltic Sea Culture Center from Gdańsk has prepared an Activity Report. What were the results?

The main question we tried to answer is: what is the common Baltic identity and does it exist at all, despite many differences between our countries?

 The tool that was used to study the identity elements of the inhabitants of the Baltic countries – was, of course, the film. Partners from each country have selected short films (not earlier than in 2016) – and together they chose about a 100-minute set of films, each of them individually selected for public screening and film discussion (with experts and the audience). All films were discussed in details, often induce heated debate about their connection with the map of concepts.

Nevertheless, several common thematic areas were identified in the selection process, forming groups of related films from all partner countries. These issues include: present, cultural code, individual identity, past. 

There were a total of 2 shows in Germany, 1 in Sweden, 1 in Lithuania and 2 in Poland. What are the conclusions?


 As the authors of reports from shows and discussions state: at all meetings, the discussants were sceptical about the existence of the Baltic identity. It’s not easy to find the answers through the films. They emphasize the differences between more than common features.  

It can, therefore, be said that the effect of these meetings was a kind of “discrepancy protocol” – differences in the history, mentality and customs of the citizens of individual countries. Therefore, it is worth to consider if the searching/building a joint part between the Baltic Sea countries should not start from a geographically lower-level – regional level determined in one way or another by the Baltic Sea (in psychosocial, economic and tourist terms, maybe also historical).

In sum: experience from the film shows and discussions (and quite common skepticism of interlocutors regarding the Baltic community/identity) inclines to go dawn on the lower level of the debate, and at the same time strongly associated with the Baltic Sea, which in this case becomes a geographical but also a cultural centre of experience of the Baltic regions.

if the film it’s supposed to be an image of the problems of the community living in this region and also the starting point for a more monophonic discussion (and comparable inference), it is worth considering whether to choose films that directly refer to the Baltic Sea and regional communities located around it – Prof. Krzysztof Kornacki Institute of Culture Research Gdańsk University

More information in the Report “Baltic Identity Film Tour” http://www.nck.org.pl/en/publications/publications

The content of this website is the sole responsibility of the author and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union, the Managing Authority or the Joint Secretariat of the South Baltic Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2014-2020. The project UMBRELLA is partly financed from the Interreg South Baltic Programme 2014-2020 through the European Regional Development Fund.