Academic Council








Sultans Trail Foundation:
“Close Encounters of East and West”

Welcome to the Symposium of the academic council of the Sultans Trail. Former minister Mr. Pronk and Ton Waarts Chair of the Academic council of the Academic board and Sedat Çakır founder of the Sultans Trail open this platform for historical, cultural heritage and tourism.

Video: Rob Bruijnen
Sound: Piet Bezuijen
Video-edit: Rob Bruijnen

With special thanks to our sponsors and donors, who made this symposium a big success.

The symposium had a full program that you can download with the blue buton ‘download the program flyer’ the speakers will have their own YouTube video’s and the panel discussions and audience questions stay tuned on our website or subscribe to our YouTube Chanel if you don’t want to miss the following episodes.


We are delighted to have once again found many international academics from various disciplines willing to invest their time and tell us about different aspects of culture, history and the theme of (slow-)travel. The input comes from various universities in the Netherlands and abroad, so the language of instruction will be English. The symposium will take place on the 26th of August 2022 in Hodshon Huis, Spaarne 17, Haarlem, The Netherlands.

The four themes that will be discussed are: history, culture, heritage and travel; in mutual coherence, but also with visions of the contemporary geopolitical situation and challenges for the future policy of the Sultans Trail.

1. Travel &Tourism
The merits of the travel type of the Sultans Trail (slow tourism). The comparison with other cultural routes and other forms of tourism. Hiking or cycling on The Sultans Trail is a form of “slow tourism”.

Prof. dr. Dominique Vanneste, University of Leuven, sheds light on the growing interest in this type of tourism, which has limitations but above all benefits, such as sustainability, respect for local culture and meeting people.

Dr. Aleksandra Terzic, Belgrade, University of Novi Sad, has engaged in research, with colleagues, on the opportunities of the Ottoman heritage theme for tourism in the region.

Mehmet Tutuncu, SOTA (Research Centre for the Turkish and Arabic World), talks about the travels in the past of Ottoman writer Evliya Çeleby and diplomat “dragoman” Gaspard Testa.

2. Geographical and geopolitical aspects

Dr. Stefan van der Poel, University of Groningen, sees the Hungarian capital Budapest as a crossroads of cultures, with the option of either a Western or an Eastern orientation.

Dr. Claske Vos, European Studies, University of Amsterdam, analyzes the international cultural policy of the European Union, with a view to objectives and possibilities for Southeastern Europe.

3. History
Attention to important aspects of the history of the region and its significance for the present time.

4. “Reconciliation”, the route and travellers from a “peace perspective”

Dr. Niké Wentholt, University of Humanistic Studies (Utrecht), wonders how the Western Balkans can look to the past after the rise of nationalism following the fall of Yugoslavia.

Drs. Natasja Nicolic-Brancovic, political scientist and lecturer in European Affairs, argues that Serbia will be faced with the choice between East and West.

Mehmet Tutuncu refers to the unique friendship treaty between the Ottoman Empire and the brand new Republic of the United Netherlands (in 1612).

Prof. Jovan Popesku, Institute for Tourism through Peace, chapter Serbia, will tell us how the mechanisms of tourism may contribute to peace. 

The symposium will be concluded with a concluding remark and recommendations for the future of the route.

We cordially invite you all, as an audience member and/or participant in the various discussion groups!

On behalf of the Academic Council and the Board of Sultans Trail Foundation,

Ton Waarts
Chairperson of the Academic Council

Sultans Trail Academic Council


The Sultans Trail Academy aims to highlight the backgrounds and characteristics of the cultures and the region of the route through South-eastern Europe. The symposium was postponed last year due to Covid 19.

The location, the Hodshon house on the Spaarne, is the residence of the Royal Dutch Society of Sciences. Die KHMW is the oldest “Learned Society” in the Netherlands, founded in 1752 in Haarlem and based in the Hodshon house since 1841. The Royal designation was awarded in honour of its 250th anniversary, in 2002.

Background information on the SultansTrail


 The Sultans Trail is a long-distance cultural route, for walkers and cyclists, between Vienna and Istanbul. The route passes through eight European countries: Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey and threads a pearly string of prestigious cities and towns, following the footsteps of pilgrims, merchants, crusaders, ottomans and many others

The region contains the heritage of several important cultures and empires, from ancient times through the Ottoman, Habsburg and Soviet periods. A legacy that is still noticeable in today’s modern states of South-eastern Europe.

For travellers, the Sultans Trail is not just about physical achievements, but above all about getting to know Eastern Europe (often only known from the media) and about surprising encounters with its hospitable inhabitants.


The Sultans Trail is a path of people, progress, peace and participation.

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