Davide Greco

Słubfurt: a double European dream
Location: Turin, Italy
Nationality: Italian
Biography: Born in 1982, I’m an Italian freelance documentary and corporate photographer. I’m currently based in Turin, where I work on documentary projects, editorial assignments and portraiture. My personal works often explore identity... MORE
Public Story
Słubfurt: a double European dream
Copyright Davide Greco 2023
Date of Work Apr 2019 - Oct 2019
Updated Feb 2022
Location Frankfurt (Oder)
Topics Borders, Citizenship, Community, Conflict, Cross border, Cross-border, Cross-border cities, Cross-border city, Culture, Editorial, Eu, Europe, European union, Europeism, Europeismo, Frankfurt, Frankfurt (Oder), Fronteria, Frontiere, Germany, Historical, History, Identity, International Stories, mass displacement, Oder, Oppression, Peace, Peacekeeping, Personal Projects, Photography, Poland, Politics, Portraiture, Racism, Relationships, Reportage, Slubfurt, Slubice, Transfrontaliero, Trasfrontaliero, Twin cities, Twin city, Ue, Unione europea
Słubfurt is the virtual union of the two cities: Frankfurt (Oder) and Słubice. Arising on the German and Polish banks of the Oder river, the two districts constitute one of the most famous cases of European border towns. The two cities remained separate from 1945 to 2007. With Poland’s entry in Europe, borders were dismantled and institutional relations between the cities intensified, giving rise to an innovative cross-border development model. Słubfurt is an in-between land where its inhabitants collaborate to give shape to a new identity, beyond the stereotypes fed in 60 years of isolation.
An hour by train from Berlin, a blue bridge connects the destinies of two cities: Frankfurt an der Oder (Germany) and its “younger” sister Slubice (Poland), the most famous of Europe’s 36 cross-border towns.

Up until 1945, in fact, the two cities were part of a single urban conglomerate within the Third Reich. Following the post-war agreements, the neighbourhoods to the east of the river – the future Slubice – found themselves in Polish territory and German inhabitants were forced to flee by night, camping on the western bank of the river.

Slubice became a ghost town so the government decided to repopulate it by forcibly bringing in thousands of new inhabitants from the east of Poland. Since then the destinies of the two towns divided and in the following decades, crossing the bridge over the Oder meant strict controls and hours of waiting. This changed in December 2007, however, when Poland became part of the Schengen area and the remains of the border posts were dismantled: the relationship between the two cities intensified, giving life to a model of cross-border development that touched on sectors such as urban planning, services and education as well as tourism, and even creativity.

In 1999, in fact, exactly 20 years ago, German artist Michael Kurzwelly came up with the idea of “Slubfurt”: the virtual union of the two towns (although a real council body exists), a concept aimed to fight the stereotypes that had developed over 60 years of separation. At the heart of the Old Continent, Slubfurt today is arguably the best antidote to the growing anti-European sentiment.

All the pictures have been taken in 2019. The project was co-financed with a STEP travel grant by the European Cultural Foundation Labs.

The international distribution of the project is in charge of Parallelozero agency: https://parallelozero.com/slubfurt/
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Słubfurt: a double European dream by Davide Greco
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