Restoration of Ehrenberg Castle creates visitor attraction in Tyrol

In the mid-1990s, the historic Ehrenberg Castle was in a bad condition, with the ruins decaying quickly. Thanks to a large-scale renovation project, it is today one of the main tourist attractions in the region, and an important economic driver.

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Burg Ehrenberg has been preserved as a cultural treasure for future generations. Burg Ehrenberg has been preserved as a cultural treasure for future generations.

" Thanks to the Burg Ehrenberg project, a valuable and identity forming cultural asset has been preserved for future generations. Besides this cultural success, Ehrenberg has developed into a unique selling point in tourism and has now become a significant economic factor in the region. Without the leverage of the ERDF-support, this project would certainly not have become this significant. "

MMag. Martin Traxl, project coordinator, Regional Government of Tyrol

The dramatic location includes Ehrenberg Castle (dating from 1293), the Klause (1480), Fort Claudia (1645) and Schlosskopf Fortress (1741). All of these are now part of an interactive museum which also offers an event arena, a nature exhibition, holiday accommodation, programmes for children, and much more, making it an attractive destination for tourists and locals alike. The numbers speak for themselves: while Ehrenberg Castle counted around 3 000 to 5 000 yearly visitors at the end of the 1990s, around 140 000 visitors are now expected per year.

Creating identity and boosting the economy

Over the course of the project, the Ehrenberg Castle has become one of the main identification points in the region, and a major element for regional marketing. This is true not only for Austrians. The town of Reutte, where the castle is located, is only a few kilometres distant from the German border, and large parts of the restoration scheme were actually carried out as a cross-border cooperation project under the “Interreg III” programme.

Besides the ideational benefits of preserving a cultural treasure, local and regional companies have also profited from the investments. The combination of EU co-funding from two instruments - the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) - served as leverage to collect additional financial support from regional and national sponsors. Thus, in the 2007-2013 programming period alone, around EUR 207 000 of ERDF-support triggered investments of over EUR 860 000.

An interactive experience

The popularity of the Ehrenberg Castle is largely due to the firsthand experience the museum offers. The replicas on site can be touched and tried out – a big attraction for children, the main target audience. “Knight Rüdiger”, the castle’s mascot, leads the children on their journey. The castle also stages yearly “knight tournaments”, which regularly attract thousands of visitors.

The project generated 16 new jobs, among them 9 for women.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Burg Ehrenberg” is EUR 4 640 000 with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 1 070 000 through the “Interreg III A Austria-Germany/Bavaria” Operational Programme for the 2000-2006 programming period, and EUR 207 000 through the “Tyrol” Operational Programme, for the 2007-2013 programming period.

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