Ecomuseums and thematic villages


Ecomuseums are a network of sites dispersed over a given area which together form a ‘living’ museum which illustrates the natural and cultural identity and values of the region and the heritage and achievements of its inhabitants past and present. The unique character of the region is presented as the outcome of natural and man-made activities and conditions, both historical and ongoing.

 The ecomuseum concept emerged in Europe as a new approach to presenting and interpreting heritage beyond the walls of traditional museums – a heritage which is at once authentic and accessible. Ecomuseums are designed and developed by professionals with cultural and natural heritage backgrounds working together with local communities.

Tens of ecomuseums have sprung up along our greenways, which has on the one hand added new flavors to the tourist offer, while on the other has done much to uncover and preserve that sense of place which makes a given area unique and special and in so doing builds and reinforces cultural and social identity.


An innovative idea for raising the distinctiveness of rural areas, forging closer cooperation within local communities and delivering interesting tourist packages rich in sensations are thematic villages.

Ashoka Fellow and local leader Wacław Idziak reflects on what the thematic village stands for: "One of ways for residents of rural communities to find their place in a changing economy is to create thematic villages, the growth of which revolves around a central idea/theme. Thanks to this, the rural town or village becomes distinctive and unique in its own right. A village which focuses on a given plan of action and development theme fares much better in economic and social terms than villages with similar starting points. One can also observe a greater sense of optimism in such a village.

The first thematic villages were located in the West Pomeranian Voivodship, but since then new initiatives have appeared all across the country. One of the most active communities on the Amber Trail Greenway are small themed villages located in rhe Lanckorona municipality (e.g. Jastrzębia - The Village of Three Wreaths).

Source:, Wacław Idziak.