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  • Writer's pictureHana Křížová

InterBridge at Europafest: Connecting science and culture acrossborders

Updated: May 18

On Saturday, April 27, 2024, I ventured to the tri-border area between Zittau, Bogatynia, and Hrádek nad Nisou to participate in Europafest - the Tri-Border Celebrations. This event marked the 20th anniversary of the Czech Republic and Poland accession to the European Union and promised a diverse program full of cultural experiences and international meetings.

I must admit, I am not a fan of large events with noise and crowds of people, but I saw Europafest as an important platform for meetings and sharing among people from different cultures.

I arrived well before the start of the festival, so around half-past eight, I was still walking through the semi-empty venue, enjoying the peaceful, cool, but beautiful sunny early morning. I also walked along the shore of the nearby Christine lake. The event was not set to start until around 11 AM, and when I returned to the venue at this time, I found myself in a sea of smiling faces and contagious energy. People from the Czech Republic, Poland, and Germany wandered between the stalls with food and souvenirs, watched performances by musical groups, and eagerly tasted specialties from various regions. The atmosphere was friendly and relaxed, whether I was in the crowd at the stage or chatting with the nice vendors or hostesses at the stalls.

During the festival, I presented our project, InterBridge, which focuses on connecting science and art in the Czech-Saxon border region. I set up my improvised "stall" or rather a position near a balloon that was intended as a planned attraction for visitors but unfortunately served mostly as decoration due to strong winds. I approached many visitors, handed out our informational flyers, and explained the goals of our project. Judging by their reactions and the amount of specific inquiries, the idea of connecting science and art interested most of them. Some were curious about how the project contributes to the development of the region, others were interested in our workshops, studying opportunities at TUL, or research on nanofibers. I was delighted to share our visions and plans and establish contacts with potential partners.

After I had handed out all the flyers I had brought, I simply enjoyed the festival atmosphere, took photos, tasted food, and talked to people. I took a ride on the EuroCity train that traveled through the picturesque landscape of the three neighboring countries, joined other participants in cutting the celebratory European cake, and watched the performances of musical groups on stage. Every moment of the festival was filled with inspiration and positive energy.

Europafest was more than just an ordinary festival. It was a symbol of friendship, mutual respect, and shared identity. I am glad that I could be part of this unique event, promote our project, and contribute to strengthening international ties in the heart of Europe.

Hana Křížová

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