Rural development

Krabat e.V. | DERREG


Krabat was initiated bottom-up by private individuals and the administrations of their home villages in Upper Lusatia, an area within the Direktionsbezirk Dresden. This area is home to the Sorbian minority, which has a strong cultural link to the Slavic culture in Poland and Czech Republic.

Initiators of Krabat e.V. argued for a cooperation between different villages and between local administrations and citizens in order to define issues and concepts for a future development of the region Upper Lusatia. Therefore they organized within a registered association (e.V.), which was given the name of the Sorbian saga figure Krabat.

The philosophy of the association is to support self-empowerment of the rural communities without becoming dependent on public funding.Therefore, Krabat developed a concept to secure economic autonomy of its activities: the name of Krabat was registered as a regional trademark. Regional companies are encouraged to offer existing products and services under the common marketing strategy Krabat®.

To date, food (milk products, beer, liquor, bread), ceramics, jewellery, a computer game, various tourist services, as well as literature are offered by regional producers as Krabat® products. Thus, Krabat e.V.  is a good example of how regional specificity and history is employed for endogenous processes of rural development.

In addition, Krabat e.V. actively participates in development policy making. Krabat members authored a regional development concept based on renewable energies, which was submitted to the national competition ‘Bioenergieregionen’. Although, the concept was not awarded, its implementation is still pursued by Krabat e.V. Concerning, the Sorbian cultural heritage of Upper Lusatia, Krabat e.V. engages in German-Sorbian exchange within the region as well as German-Sorbian-Czech-Polish encounter across the borders. As the Sorbian minority is shrinking, a main goal is to preserve the cultural heritage. Sorbian festivals and cultural events (annually the KRABATfestival and the international sculptor workshop) go along with educational offers (travelling exhibition for children & travelling exhibition about Krabat-region). Also important sites of the Sorbian history are re-constructed and integrated into tourist offers (e.g. Neues Vorwerk in Groß-Särchen and Krabat-Mühle in Schwarzkollm).

Krabat e.V. is also an important regional network broker which brings together regional stakeholders in particular in the field of tourism. Also in the education sector, Krabat is engaged, offering specific content for schools in the region. Finally, a movie production was supported by Krabat e.V., presenting the Krabat saga, and having been presented in 2008.

Krabat e.V. could be considered an ideal type of an endogenous regional development initiative. It was founded by citizens in cooperation with their community administrations; it connects different villages and rural towns; it brings together companies, public stakeholders and private individuals; it created a common development agenda (Sorbian heritage); it secured economic autonomy (trademark Krabat®); and it includes education and intercultural exchange across the borders to Poland and the Czech Republic.