The Sultans Trail is a long-distance hiking and cycling trail between Vienna and Istanbul, using various itineraries. It aims to highlight the Ottoman past of the region involved. As such it strives for the certificate of European Cultural Route from the Council of Europe. Custodian of the route is the NGO “Sultans Trail Foundation”, based in the Netherlands.
In order to achieve its goal, the Sultans Trail Foundation seeks active cooperation with academics, students, young scientists in a wide range of academic fields and associated institutions. The Foundation has an Academic Council, which is responsible for organizing this collaboration.
Fields of involvement
It is our aim to explore the Ottoman past of Europe for seeks ways of revealing it to the public and potentially touristic use. Fed by the knowledge of historians specialized in European, Habsburg and Ottoman history, local material and immaterial heritage needs to be identified, studied, documented, explained and shown to the public. Contributions may come from many fields such as: History, Tourism, Cultural heritage management, Communication & Marketing, Musicology, Museology, Journalism, Literature, Creative Arts and Performances, Rural Development, Economics, Ecology and Natural conservation, etc.
Forms of involvement
Sultans Trail Academic Network.
A range of academics have reacted to the call to support and be involved in the development of the Sultans Trail to their own capabilities. This includes scholars in the field of Tourism from the ATLAS network and various historians. These individuals meet 3-4 times a year in a video conference
Out of this Sultans Trail Academic Network the initiative was taken to apply for a COST Action grant which will enable scholars, students and young professionals to work together.
This network also conducted a survey among students with regard to their perception of the Ottoman past.
Three schools in the Netherlands have already adopted the Sultans Trail as subject for student activities. The Sultans Trail has figured as case for student assignments at bachelor and master level. Individual students have written a master thesis about the Sultans Trail. Graduates from Italy and Belgium are preparing for a PhD study related to the Sultans Trail.
The Wageningen University is considering a large field project related to the Sultans Trail in Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, (postponed due to COVID).
A substantial number of students from Dutch and Austrian schools have taken the opportunity to fulfil internships at the Sultans Trail Foundation. Interns have come from Indonesia, Egypt, Austria, the Caribbean, Lithuania and various other countries. Internships are primarily done online.
An international Symposium “Close Encounters of East and West” was planned, but postponed due to COVID, and will now be held on August 26, 2022.
Inter Institutional Cooperation
It is hoped that cooperation between individual academics will lead to cross border institutional cooperation in which schools jointly develop educational projects related to the Sultans Trail.
We actively strive to acquire European funding for student projects from programs like COSME, Erasmus+, COST, Horizon Europe and others.
TERZIĆ, Aleksandra, DOGRAMADJIEVA, Elka, & SMITS, Max. 2021. Ottoman heritage in Europe as an opportunity for a cultural route development: an international study of students perceptions. Presented at the 34th International Geographical Congress in Istanbul, 16-20 August, 2021.
Wageningen University & Research (WUR), Academic Consultancy Training:
ACT2711-A. Sultans Trails’ Target Group: The first step on the Road to Environmentally and Socio-Culturally Sustainable Development, June 2021. Read here
ACT2711-B. Sultans Trail as a smart destination: sustainable tourism development in South-East Europe, June 2021. Read here
ACT2776. Roadmap to successfully position the Sultans Trail in the landscape of European Cultural Routes, October 2021. Read here
Breda University of Applied Sciences, International Field Project:
Cycling Tourism and its Potential for European Cultural Routes’ Optimization. Read here
NHL-Stenden University of Applied Sciences:
The Sultans Trail. Strategic Development. Read here
Tourism Research Conference; Successful Cultural Routes. The Sultans Trail. Read here
MOHAMED, Omar. 2021. Developing a Marketing Plan for Sultan’s Trail Foundation. Master Thesis NHL-Stenden University, June 14, 2021. Read here
HUIZEN, Bonita van, 2021. Sultan’s Trail Stakeholder Analysis. Master Thesis NHL-Stenden University, April, 2021. Read here
Since the start of the Internship program in April 2020, the Sultans Trail offered Internship positions to students from Austria, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Aruba, Egypt, and Uganda. More information is available in the Sultans Trail Website, Internship.
Through its Academic Network, the Sultans Trail is affiliated with the following Academic Institutions:
FH JOANNEUM – University of Applied Sciences, Austria
University of Vienna, Austria
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
Sofia University “St.Kliment Ohridski”, Bulgaria
American University in Bulgaria, Bulgaria
University of Zagreb, Croatia
University of Leipzig, Germany
Humboldt University Berlin, Germany
Museumspädagogisches Zentrum München, Germany
University of Debrecen, Hungary
Eötvös Loránd University Budapest, Hungary
Kodolányi János University – Budapest, Hungary
IMT School for Advance Studies Lucca, Italy
RUG – Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, The Netherlands
WUR -Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands
NHL-Stenden University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
BUAS – Breda University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
“Goce Delcev” University Stip, Northern-Macedonia
Bucharest Municipality Museum, Romania
Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Serbia
University of Belgrade, Serbia
University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Netherlands Institute in Turkey, Istanbul, Turkey
Necmettin Erbakan University, Turkey
Boğaziçi Üniversitesi, Istanbul, Turkey
Strath – University of Strathclyde, Scotland
SOAS – University of London, England
University of Exeter, UK
As well as non-academic organizations:
Orgamarket GmbH, Germany
Danube Competence Centre, Belgrade, Serbia
 Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Geographical Institute “Jovan Cvijić”, Belgrade, Serbia
 Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Geography of Tourism Department, Sofia, Bulgaria
 Sultans Trail Foundation, Haarlem, The Netherlands