In this year and the next, the county of Vorpommern-Rügen has the chairmanship of the B7 Baltic Islands Network. For this reason, the Steering Committee of the seven large Baltic Sea islands has been meeting in the Baltic Sea resort Binz for its annual consultation on 15 and 16 June 2017. The political representatives of the islands discussed the opportunities of their future cooperation and got informed about the upcoming projects.
"The 6th artist symposium of the B7 will take place in Rügen in 2018," says Martina Schwinkendorf, B7 coordinator of the district of Vorpommern-Rügen. Under the title "Out of the Comfort Zone", project leader Ellen Kock will work with artists from all the member islands in the Gallery of the Landkreis - in the Orangerie Putbus - and in Lohme. At the same time, the (then completed) photo documentation of the previous artists' symposia will be shown in the Orangerie Putbus. Furthermore, Martina Schwinkendorf informed that in the beginning of August 2018 the B7 games will be held on Rügen, the fourth time after 1997, 1998 and 2010. Organizer of this sporting event is the Kreissportbund Vorpommern-Rügen, which before had successfully organized the participation of the Rügen athletes in the B7 Games 2016 on Saaremaa.
"Everyone did like the meeting in Binz," says Martina Schwinkendorf. Most of the participants are for the first time on Rügen. "Our guests were impressed by Binz, the spa architecture, the beautiful hotel rooms, the good food and the very good service." The B7 network mentioned also the good cooperation with the Spa management of Binz. Everything at the conference venue was perfectly prepared by Ralf Müller.
In the meeting participated from the Åland Islands (Niclas Karlsson), from Hiiumaa Riho Rahuoja (Governor of Hiiumaa Island), Piret Sedrik (Counselor of the Hiiumaa Governor) and Ermo Mäeots (B7 Coordinator), from Saaremaa Jaan Leivategija (Acting governor), from Rügen: Uwe Ahlers (member of the county council, B7 representative of the International Working Group of the county council Vorpommern-Rügen) and Martina Schwinkendorf (B7 coordinator). Unfortunately, Gotland representatives had to cancel their participation due to urgent appointments on Gotland.
On the 15th of September 2015 at the B7 Biannual Conference on Saaremaa the Steering Committee decided to hand over the chairmanship to the island of Rügen. Kaido Kaasik, governor of the island of Saaremaa, reviewed the past two chairmanship years, highlighted by two international conferences on tourism and the challenges for maritime countries in Europe, by the art project DISSONANCES and the B7 Games for young athletes from the member islands Saaremaa hosted in 2016.
After two successful years of Baltic Sea co-operation he handed over the chairmanship hammer to Uwe Ahlers, representative of Vorpommern-Rügen county council. For the years 2017 and 2018 it will be Rügens turn to lead the co-operation of the Baltic Sea Islands.