Rural areas of Europe in the spotlight

The photography competition "European Rural Visions 2020 - created by farmers, supported by the EU", announced by the European Association for Rural Development and Village Renewal in the summer of 2013, yet again highlights the beautiful diversity of rural areas as well as the agriculture's defining effect on them.

The aim of this competition is to draw attention to the appeal and the vast importance of Europe's rural areas. There are no limits to the subject, setting or technique of the photograph. It is important to the organizers of the competition that the pictures transport the "face" of the rural cultural landscape and how it is affected and shaped by agriculture.


The competition was arranged in two categories - one general, and one especially for kids and adolescents up to the age of 14 years. Every participant was allowed to submit a maximum of three pictures. A jury, consisting of seven international and interdisciplinary people selected the best eleven pictures anonymously through a multilevel process. These eleven photographs were put online as "finalists" for the final, public voting.



223 1 Kopie



The fact that 250 people from numerous countries and regions of Europe, including copious children and adolescents, took part in the competition makes it obvious that people still care a lot about Europe. The great number of participants from urban areas and large cities also shows the desire for vital, rural areas.

No less a figure than the bavarian minister of state Helmut Brunner, who is also vice-chairman of the European Association for Rural Development and village Renewal, awarded the winners their prizes. "Once again we can see that a picture is worth a thousand words. And especially meaningful to the jury and the over 13.000 people from all over the world, who took part in the final online voting, were the winning photographs", said Brunner appreciatively.


In the category "Children up to 14 years", Christoph Riegler, a 14-year-old boy from Lower Austria managed to impress young photographers from Dortmund and Dresden with an atmospheric picture of his home area Engabrunn. Also, the "Adults" category was won by an Austrian participant: journalist and photographer Walter Schweinöster from Salzburg came in first before participants from Lower Saxony and Hungary. The winning photograph showed a South Tyrolean farmer working his alp - hard manual labor, indispensable for a society that values the beauty and diversity of our alpine pastures and the cultural landscape in general.








Prizes - a variety of agricultural goods from different European regions - were given to the best five participants of each category. The winners received a journey to the multiply priced municipality Sand in Taufers in South Tyrol. Only recently the design hotel Feldmilla in Sand in Taufers was awarded the "Award for Excellence" as the most sustainable and welcoming hotel in Europe. Therefore, it served perfectly as accommodation for the winners of "European Rural Visions 2020".

The award presentation ceremony in Munich was highlighted and underlined by the conference "Cultural Landscapes between the poles of Tradition, Production and Innovation", as intended by the organizers of the competition. The conference addressed questions about the future of Europe's cultural landscapes in times of climate change and constantly diverging claims on soil utilisation. Speakers and attendees of the conference could agree that on the one hand, these cultural landscapes should be protected and maintained. On the other hand, it is important to allow them to develop and change. According to the speakers and attendees, it is thus necessary to find balance between both.