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„Regional action means international action”

The european Rrgion of lake Constance

From a bird´s eye view it is hard to tell where one city begins and where the other one ends. They have grown together and are yet separated by a borderline: Constance on the German side and Kreuzlingen on the Swiss side of the border. Together they represent the sixth biggest town of Switzerland und the largest economic area at Lake Constance. Constance and Kreuzlingen are an urban agglomeration of approximately 100.000 inhabitants, 45.000 workplaces and 4.500 available job positions and excellent conditions for a successful future.

Besides good contacts in many areas, both cities are bound by a cordial relationship. Constance and Kreuzlingen have joint forces in environmental protection and sewage disposals. They operate a cross-border bus line, the gas supply for both cities comes from the same pipes and they support each other in matters of water supply. In the political field there are also mutual activities: The Borderland Conference is the only institutionalized cooperation between Swiss and German communities along the borderline. Executive authorities from Constance, Kreuzlingen and Tägerwilen meet here to discuss common topics. These examples illustrate the commitment and challenge of crossborder cooperation. The work that has been achieved here can be used as a model for other border regions. The European Union Interreg Program has sponsored some of these crossborder projects. There are various fields of cooperation: Procurement functions, mutual education and training events, and social prevention projects. These kinds of projects are usually part of regional or national programs. In this case they are of international relevance since cities of abutting countries around Lake Constance are cooperating. Cultural matters represent an important part of crossborder cooperation. For example the „Konstanzer Kunstpreis” (the Constance Art Award), which is awarded every two years. It is important to the German Lake Constance region, Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein. Cultural institutions, such as the Constance Theatre, the Südwestdeutsche Philharmonics, the Cultural Centre and all of the museums bring people together on either side of the border. Approximately 10% of the theatre audience in Constance comes from canton Thurgau in Switzerland. Many guests from Switzerland are enjoying Philharmonics concerts at the council. People from Constance are visiting cultural institutions in Switzerland, such as the theatre in St. Gallen, art exhibitions at the Carthusian monastery of Ittingen and of course, the open air Opera Festival in Bregenz. It is a tradition here to schedule a „Constance Day”, an exclusive performance for guests from Constance who come here by boat with the „White Fleet” of Lake Constance. Last but not least two original Euroregion institutions need to be mentioned that have chosen the biggest city on the lake for their main branches: The „Internationale Bodenseekonferenz IBK” (International Lake Constance Conference) and the „Internationale Bodensee Tourismus GmbH, IBT” (International Lake Constance Tourism Company). The IBK is a cooperative association of all countries and cantons around Lake Constance. Through mutual commitment in politics and different projects borders in the region should be overcome. As we can see in the cooperation between the cities of Constance and Kreuzlingen, regional action at Lake Constance always means international action.

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