Balkanfluss Tara, Montenegro und Bosnien

Staudamm an der Save, Slowenien

Call for support for the Vjosa National Park

Europe's last great wild river must be protected

The Foundation Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung supports the preservation of the last natural rivers in Europe. Under the leadership of the partner organizations RiverWatch and Euronatur, the foundation is involved in a campaign that is mainly directed against the immense expansion of planned hydropower plants.


The ‚Blue Heart of Europe‘ lies between Slovenia and Albania on the Balkan Peninsula. Nowhere else on the continent you can find so many different and untouched types of rivers and river species. Of nearly 36,000 kilometres of rivers and streams, 12,000 kilometres have a very good morphological condition and another 18,000 kilometres have a good structure. This is unique on our continent.

What’s more, these rivers are one of the most important hotspots for European biodiversity: 69 of the fish species are endemic. The rivers also host a variety of many threatened as well as endemic molluscs species.

This valuable natural area is under threat: more than 570 medium and large hydroelectric power plants are planned, regardless of nature and people, often with financial support from Western investors. Even national parks are not spared.

The Project 

The campaign „Save the Blue Heart of Europe“ is committed to conserve the ecologically most valuable sections of the river courses, and to initiate an Eco-Masterplan for the development of water power for the entire network of rivers in the Balkan – a kind of land-use plan with „no-go“ routes for the electrical industry. For the first time, it brings together knowledge about biodiversity, the integrity of watercourses and the location of protected areas.


13.06.2022: Albanian Government signs Commitment to establish a Vjosa Wild River National Park

22.03.2021: Activists demand European political support for a Vjosa National Park in Albania

Here you can find more information:

25.09.2020: Albania - The wild river Vjosa may continue to flow!

9.07.2020: Fish populations in the Mediterranean area - New study proves devastating influence of hydropower plants

25.06.2020: Success for Balkan Rivers - Construction freeze for hydropower projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Eco-Masterplan for Balkan Rivers [pdf]

Campaign Brochure [pdf]

„Save the Blue Heart of Europe!“