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Linking Bridges, an integration project 2013 - 2015

Since the mid-1960's the immigration to EU has been increasing and this development will continue, partly as a result of overpopulation in other parts of the world (especially Africa), partly as a result of conflicts around the world. Furthermore the business' needs of labour will be increasing (both skilled labour and unskilled labor) and this together with the consequences of free movement of labour within the EU is going to change the demography in most European countries.

Parallel to this development the fertility rate (live births per woman) has been declining in all EU countries (A total fertility rate of around 2.1 live births per woman is considered to be the replacement level in industrialized countries).
"The total fertility rate was 1.47 live births per woman in the EU-28 in 2003. A slight increase was subsequently observed in most EU Member States, with the EU-28 average increasing to 1.62 live births per woman up to 2010, but then decreasing to 1.55 in 2013." (source: Eurostat).
In Germany the fertility rate was 1.39 in 2013 and in Denmark the fertility rate in 2013 was 1.67

A third challenge ahead to EU countries is the ageing population. We are going to see a rapid growth in the number of older people, particularly in the group aged 80.
The number of older people aged 65 or over will grow by about 12 million, reaching 20.4 % of the total population in 2020. These trends will continue at an even faster rate in the following decade, with the population aged 65 or over climbing to 23.9  %, making up almost a quarter of the total population in 2030 (source: Eurostat).

Seen in this perspective the success of integration of immigrants is of great importance.

  • How do we secure a sustainable population development where social cohesion is maintained?
  • What kind of education should be offered to prepare our children for the challenges from a more and more globalized world?
  • How are we preparing for the "competition" about new citizens and new jobs and how are the regions (Kaiserslautern / Silkeborg) going to act in an increasingly internationalized everyday life?"

These are questions we have been dealing with during the 3 Regio Projects between the partners in Kaiserslautern and Silkeborg.
Based on the school departments in the two regions we have tried to involve schools, politicians, school boards, integration councils, ngo´s and culture departments (libraries) in the project as we are convinced that a holistic approach is needed when dealing with integration and internationalization.

Our motto "When many small people in many small villages take many small steps the world is changed" (an old African saying) indicates that we do not expect fast results.
The management of migration has since the 70s been influenced by the idea of "migration control" - and "migration management" have in many municipalities politically and administratively been largely neglected (e.g. parked in an integration office or at NGO's).
The attitude has to change to regard immigrants as an opportunity to overcome the challenges of our societies instead of being a burden. Immigration control at a national- and EU level is needed but it should not affect integration policies or lack of integration policies at a local level.

Integration policy (dealing with immigrants) must become an integrated part of all policies and strategies at all levels in our regions and we hope that our project has contributed to make a small step in that direction.
The project results are displayed in the "Best Practice" menu and in the "Project" menu. Our "Intercultural Cook Book" (in German and Danish) contains results and good ideas from our previous project "Crossing Bridges".
Our first project period "Building Bridges" was very much used to learn about and understand the German and Danish culture as represented by the two regions, Kaiserslautern and Silkeborg, with focus on integration.

Education Fairs

Planning meeting September 2013Both partner regions have worked with education fairs to qualify students and parents choice of school after basic education.

In Kaiserslautern after grade 4 and in Silkeborg after grade 9.

Soenderbro Kulturhus

communityStudy visit to Soenderbro House of Cultures in Horsens DK

Soenderbro district is a part of Horsens, a town in Denmark. Horsens has approximately 80.000 inhabitants and of these 9000 lives in the Soenderbro district. There is a church, a mosque, a municipal school, 3 different day nurseries (for children from 3 months to 6 year), an after-school center and a nursing home for the elderly. There is a large park and other green areas.

Most of the residents live in flats in blocks built partly in the Fifties and partly in the Sixties (the last ones are concrete blocks of op to 8 storeys high called Axelborg). In the district there also is an area with older detached houses.

This is very much the same description as the one you can see for the two partner schools in the crossing-bridges project.

In the Soenderbro district the school and the local community has worked together for 20 years to transfer the WHO concept of health from the individual level to the district level.

Since 2005 House of Cultures has been an important part of the project. This ´house´ is physically connected to the school. In all 13.000 m 2 , and they are used by the school and the citizens from 8 am to 11.30 pm every day of the week.

The Soenderbroproject has received funds from different foundations and considerable resources both equipment and know-how have been donated from companies and institutions inside and outside of Horsens.

Read about the project
The story about a ghetto (in English - pdf - 1MB)
Historien om en ghetto (in Danish - pdf - 3MB)


Steering Group Meetings

kaiserslauternSteering group meetings referred to is steering group meetings for all partners in both regions.

The local steering group meetings is only referred to if they are of special interest to the other partner region.


Steering group meeting in Silkeborg July 2015:
Programme July 2015

Steering group meeting in Kaiserslautern, June/July 2015:
Programme June 2015
Notes June 2015

Steering group meeting in Silkeborg, February 2015:
Programme February 2015

Steering group meeting in Silkeborg, November 2014:
Programme November 2014

  • Partners from Kaiserslautern visiting the Intercultural Week at Sølystskolen October 2014
  • 45 students and 4 teachers from Sølystskolen participate in the Intercultural Week in Kaiserslautern, September 2014
  • Study visit to Kaiserserlautern in September 2014 - including a steering group meeting - See Studyvisits

Steering group meeting in Silkeborg, September 2014:
Programme September 2014

Steering group meeting in Silkeborg, June 2014:
Programme June 2014
Notes June 2014

Steering group meeting in Kaiserslautern, March 2014:
Programme steering goup meeting Kaiserslautern March 2014

  • Study visit to Kaiserserlautern in September 2013 - including a steering group meeting - See Studyvisits

Steering group meeting in Silkeborg, August 2013:
See programme
See notes


Crossing Bridges

Steering group meeting in Silkeborg, June 2013:
See programme

Steering Group meeting in Kaiserslautern, April 2013
See programme

Steering group meeting in Silkeborg, January 2013: 

See progamme

See notes
Steering group meeting in Silkeborg, November 2012: 

Read about the meeting - open menu item to the left

Steering group meeting in Kaiserslautern, September 2012:

See agenda and notes

Steering group meeting in Kaiserslautern, May 2012: 

center1Read about the meeting - open menu item to the left

Steering group meeting in Silkeborg, February 2012:

See programme 
See notes
Steering group meeting in Silkeborg, September 2011:

See programme 
See notes

Steering Group Meeting in Kaiserslautern

Programme june12Thursday, 24 Mai 2012 to Saturday, 26 Mai 2012


See programme

See notes