REFREsh - Rural revitalisation for cultural heritage

Start Date

1 July 2017

End Date




Summary - Project achievements:

The main objective of the REFREsh project was to reutilize industrial heritage through new forms of creative use, involving creative actors but also actors from the trade and service sector in the process. During the project, ten partners from Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy and Croatia collaborated for three years to reutilize five selected industrial sites in the countries. Investments were implemented in Freiberg (DE), Komló (HU), Piran (SI), Castello di Godego (IT) and Lokve (HR). 
After the sites were refurbished, their new use was tested through pilot actions in all regions. Thereby, the integration of the creative scene was focused to test the reutilization of the spaces as cultural centers - the starting points for the development of the selected industrial areas, municipalities and regions. The pilot actions included exhibitions, cultural events and creative workshops, with the intention to reach a critical mass of creative actors and to foster transnational cooperation of the creative scene. Unfortunately, due to a pandemic caused by COVID-19, most of the events could not be implemented as foreseen.
However, successful alternatives in form of videos and digital implementation were developed to test the reutilization concepts in the countries and implement the pilot actions in new ways. They proved the success of the newly created spaces. Within the project a benchmarking and strategies for the integration of the creative scene were developed as well. All this brought a new value to the rural regions and led to sustainable results. The tested approaches of the REFREsh project can be transferred to other rural areas in Central Europe where old industrial heritage can be given a new purpose as well. Through the project, partners have improved capacities for a sustainable use of cultural heritage and resources and tried to show how old industrial heritage transformed into cultural centers could be a starting point for development of the industrial areas, municipalities, and regions in Central Europe.





The Project REFREsh tackled the main challenges of rural areas in Central Europes. All over the rural areas exist unused industrial heritage with needs for revitalization and a new form of use. 


6th Partner Meeting online (Skype)


Following the ISC meeting, the 6th CU meeting took place on September 15, 2020, online, via Skype. 


REFREsh International Photo Exhibition opened at the Lake Guard House in Lokve


The International Photo Exhibition is created within the project REFREsh - Rural Revitalization for Cultural Heritage funded by the INTERREG Central Europe 2014-2020 program was officially opened on 19th of June 2020, ... 




One of the activities of the REFREsh project is the presentation of the industrial heritage of all participating countries in a joint photo exhibition. 


Project budget in eur

ERDF founDing in eur

outputs and results in in numbers










Regional Strategies 

Joint Transnational Strategy

Reutilization concepts

Pilot investments 


Transnational Peer Reviewes

Open Industrial Heritage Days


Story Brochure 

pilot actions and investments - SUMMARY

During the REFREsh project, three pilot actions per project region were implemented. The following reutilization concepts were tested: Freiberg (DE) – Huthaus as cultural contact point; Komlo (HU) – communist headquarter as cultural centre; Piran (SLO) – salt warehouse as cultural entertainment center; Castello di Godego (IT) – old store as cultural hub and Lokve (HR) – old water dam house as cultural centre. 


Before the concepts could be tested, five investments were completed, during which the selected old industrial sites were refurbished. After the investments in the five project regions were completed, the pilot actions were implemented in the refurbished spaces. During the pilot actions, which included photo exhibitions, concerts, dialogue forums, film events, music workshops, traditional craft workshops and festivals, the reutilization concepts were tested through the integration of the creative scene as final step of the revitalization process. The pilot actions are just the starting point for further actions in the industrial areas.

The revitalization of abandoned cultural heritage during the REFREsh project was a fantastic experience and learningprocess for all the partners and many stakeholders. The transnational context and the permanent exchange of experience between the partners from Germany, Italy,Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary gave the opportunity to constantly learn and gather new ideas and waysof thinking. The pilot actions were the example of good practice in the field of reutilization and revitalization of outdated municipal structures. All of that can be transferred to any other similar regions in the way of encouraging the social entrepreneurship and to valorize heritage which some destination has to offer. The pilot actions’ implementation gave many interesting inputs to be taken into consideration for the future, both, in terms of realizing a similar project in a different place and in continuing using the new hub for the future activities.

Pilot Action Reports

Freiberg (DE)  -  Komlo (HU)  -  Piran (SLO)  -  Castello di Godego (IT)  -  Lokve (HR) 

Open Industrial Heritage Days





The analysis of the demand for utilization and integration of the creative scene in the functional structures

The main output of this Work Package is the transnational benchmarking tool as a complex analysis tool for partner´s policy makers, planners and site managers with the recommendations on how to analyse regional situation for creative scene and potentials for their integration. 

The analysis of the demand for utilization and integration of the creative scene in the functional structures

The main outputs of this Work Package will be five regional strategies which will result in a joint developed transnational strategy for the integration of creative actors in the existing spatial structures dominated by trade and service actors for a multifunctional and well working cooperation.
This brings added value through the mutual support of all sectors by creating synergies and workflows for each other.

The reutilization of the industrial heritage through the integration of creative scene

Main outputs of this Work Package are pilot actions which will show successful implementation of reutilization of an old industrial heritage through the integration of the creative scene and new cultural use, which leads to the valorisation of cultural heritage and exchange of creative scene.

The cultural reutilization of the Huthaus in Freiberg

The, so called, “Huthaus” has around 360m2 and is a part of one of the most important Hutcomplexes in the ore mountains, including different unused old industrial productive places. It will be used for the events and exchange of creative actors and as the contact point for the creative scene. It will be also used for dialogues between different stakeholders from service, trade and industry together with the creative scene.

The cultural reutilization of the communist headquarter in Komlo

The investment transforms the former communist headquarter to the regional cultural centre. Today it is a museum and library but it needs a new concept to present the town’s industrial heritage. Therefore, Komlo involves the creative sector and trade sector from mining industry and services providers. Together they will create a cultural centre which focuses on the methods of transformation from an old communist era to the modern cultural and creative centre with exhibition halls and visual performances providing a new opportunity for the creative scene.

The cultural reutilization of the salt warehouse in Piran

The Municipality of Piran is the owner of the salt warehouse which was built around 1850. The warehouse is categorised as a monument of cultural heritage. Since the warehouse is not in use anymore, the Municipality of Piran wants to convert it for alternative uses. The reutilization is a starting point for the development of the whole harbour area. The result of the investment will be a multipurpose space for various events (indoor cultural events, concerts, exhibitions) while the basic infrastructure can be upgraded for any specific need. 

The cultural reutilization of an old store in Castello di Godego

The building which will be reutilized to a cultural hub is an old abandoned store which is used as a recovery of the Municipality´s tools and vehicles. The ground floor level will be transformed into a cultural hall for the community and creative scene where creative actors and associations can meet and organise cultural events and creative activities while meeting other actors from the territory.

The cultural reutilization of an old technic house of water dam in Lokve 

The investment refers to the revitalization of an old technical house of dam to the cultural centre for working spaces and exhibitions. It will be the international centre for examination of Gorski kotar and will include space for stay and work of the international groups of creative scene. Also, there will be a space for creation of interactive exhibitions which will tour the mountain area of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County and industrial development of the region, esp. the development of traditional crafts such as lime woodcaving, embroiding of textiles and energy production through the dam.


Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Pecs-Baranya
Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia
Venetian Cluster
Primorje-Gorski Kotar County
Local government of Komló
Municipality of Piran
Municipality of Castello di Godego
Municipality of Lokve


No.1 - No.2 - No.3 - No.4 - No.5 - No.6 - No.7