For 30 years now is certain, never again an Iron Curtain

Foreign ministers meeting of Austria and Czech Republic 2019.

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The Inter-Nationalpark Thayatal-Podyjí celebrated 30 years fall of the Iron Curtain by a series of transboundary events and were selected as the hosting location for the foreign ministers meeting of the Republic of Austria and the Czech Republic in 2019.

Article issued by the Transboundary Park Thayatal-Podyjí

Celebrating 30 years without the Iron Curtain

Since 1951 the Iron Curtain separated not just the people, but families, friends and neighbours of Austria and the Czech Republic for decades. While bridges are generally a symbol of connection, the Thayabrücke in Hardegg became symbolic for the separation in the Thayatal region. It is the only bridge in the border town of Hardegg that united inhabitants from both countries. The bridge was deprived of its deck and the access was blocked by a fence.

The ministers symbolically cut the barbed wire in the Nationalpark Thayatal-Podyji.

But in 1989, after a long struggle, the Iron Curtain has finally fallen. On the 26. December 1989, the locals from both countries met in Hardegg and climbed over to the neighbours on the other side of the river.

Since then a steady development brings the people from Austria and the Czech Republic progressively closer together. In 1991 the Nationalpark Podyjí was founded and then completed by the establishment of the Nationalpark Thayatal in 2000.

In 2019, 30 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, both National parks celebrated this historic event with a whole series of transboundary events, such as excursions, concerts, an exhibition, a city festival and much more.

Foreign ministers meeting in the Thayatal-Podyji Transboundary Park.

The highlight and the reward for those transboundary efforts occurred on 29. November 2019, as the Inter-Nationalpark Thayatal-Podyjí was chosen to be the hosting location for the only meeting of the ministers of Austria and the Czech Republic in 2019.

The foreign minister of the Republic of Austria Mag. Alexander Schallenberg, was accompanied by the governess of lower Austria, Mag. Johanna Mikl-Leitner, and the ambassador of Austria in the Czech Republic, Dr. Alexander Grubmayr. The Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Mgr. Tomáš Petříček attended together with the governor of south Moravia JUDr. Bohumil Šimek and the ambassadress of the Czech Republic in Austria, Dr. iur. Ivana Červenková.

Both delegations met on the Thayabrücke in Hardegg, right in the heart of the National parks, were they were welcomed by the director of the Thayatal National park, Christian Übl and the director of the Podyjí National park, Ing. Tomáš Rothröckl. Afterwards both delegations visited an original section of the former Iron Curtain in the Podyjí National park, where in a press conference both delegations emphasized the necessity of transboundary cooperation in Europe.

It was an honour for both National parks to have been chosen to host this event, which gave a lot of energy for the upcoming transboundary efforts of the Inter-Nationalpark Thayatal-Podyjí.

Read and download the Declaration published by the European Transboundary parks on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Berlin Wall Fall.