1st European Smart Villages Pilot Observatory


The main purpose of the 1st European Smart Villages Pilot Observatory meeting is to present the concept & operation of the Pilot Smart Villages Observatory. The meeting aims at discussing the specific needs of stakeholders from all levels – including possible support by the Observatory – to implement the Smart Villages concept efficiently within and beyond the Common Agricultural Policy. Furthermore, the meeting will focus on the smart topic of sustainable energy and renewable energy communities, which is the topic of the 1st Knowledge Cluster of Rural Communities within the Smart Villages Observatory. The event is organised by Smart Rural 27 Project (supported by DG AGRI) in collaboration with the Styrian Regional Authority and the Austrian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management.

Target audience: The meeting is targeted at Managing Authorities of CAP Strategic Plans and other relevant EU Programmes (especially Ministries of Climate & Environment), CAP Networks, regional authorities, LEADER LAGs and rural communities/ villages, in particular those with an interest in the renewable energy topic.

Targeted invitations are sent out for the face-to-face event. Priority will be given to members of the Smart Rural 27 taskforces, national and regional authorities with an interest in Smart Villages, ministries of climate and environment (beside ministries of agriculture & rural development) and member communities of the SR27 Renewable Energy Knowledge Cluster.

Observatory Meeting Report

Event venue and livestreaming

1st European Smart Villages Pilot Observatory, will be held in Hotel Weitzer (Graz, Austria).

Selected sessions will be livestreamed on the Smart Rural 27 Youtube channel.

Please note that the worshop sessions (11:45-13:15) and the Worls Café session (16:30-17:45) won’t be livestreamed.

Agenda – Day 1

Day 1, 11 May 2023, 8.30 – 18.00
TimingAgenda item
8:30 - 9:30
Welcome by the
Who is in the room? Ice-breaker
9:30 - 10:30
The Role & Structure of the European Smart Villages Pilot Observatory, presentation by Edina Ocsko (E40, Project Coordinator)
Overview of taskforces, Katrina Idu (E40)
Interventions from Taskforce representatives (Poland, Latvia, tbc)
10:30 - 11:00Coffee Break
10:30 - 11:30Introduction to the workshops
11:30 - 13:15 Parallel workshops with different groups of stakeholders to discuss Smart Village implementation issues, needs and how the Smart Village Observatory can respond to these:
13:15 - 14:15Lunch
14:15 - 14:45
Quick feedback on workshop outcomes
14:45 - 15:15
Panel discussion with Michael Fischer (SR27 National Expert - AT), Jaana Oikarinen (LAG Mansikaa, FI), Paweł Krzeczunowicz (Polish National Rural Network), Peter Plant (Torup & LAG Halsnæs-Gribskov)
15:15 - 16:00
Observatory Knowledge Cluster Work: Renewable Energy Communities

16:00 - 16:30Coffee
16:30 - 17:45Workshops on ‘How to engage community members in local smart actions / social innovations on renewable energy and beyond’. Interventions & hosts of discussion tables:
17:45 - 18:00
Closure of the Day

Agenda – Day 2 (Field visit to Stanz)

On the 12 May, a 1-day study visit will be organised by Stanz.

Transfer will be organised to Stanz (approx. 1 hour drive from Graz). Buses will leave at 8:30 am from Hotel Weitzer. After the field visit transfer will be organised from Stanz to Graz. Buses are foreseen to leave at 16:00 pm.

Day 2: Field visit to Stanz 8.30 – 16.00, 12 May 2023
TimingAgenda item
8:30Departure from Hotel Weitzer Graz
9:30Arrival to Stanz im Mürztal
9:45 - 10:30Smart Village Stanz: The Stanz Way (Fritz Pichler)
An innovative, energy-flexible plus-energy quarter - the village centre of Stanz (Armin Knotzer)
Token System & Blockchain Pilot Project on the energy community (Kai Sievert, Riddle & Code)
10:30 - 11:30Discussion tables around the presentation topics
11:30 - 12:00Coffee Break
12:00 - 13:00Tour around the village
13:00 - 14:00Lunch
14:00 - 15:00Discussion with cluster members on next steps of cluster work
Networking session for others
Feedback from both sessions
15:00 - 13:15Introduction by Fritz Pichler – Flood Management Tool
13:15 - 16:00Visit to the local water plant (Departure straight to Gratz by bus)
15:30Departure from Stanz
17:00Arrival to Graz (arrival to Graz Airport expected at around 17.30)


Recommended hotels by the organisers:

  1. Hotel Weitzer (Graz, Austria)

    Hotel Weitzer is the event venue. The 4-star hotel is located in the Old Town of Graz, Das
    Weitzer, the stylish rooms at Das Weitzer are equipped with a flat-screen TV, a minibar, and air-conditioning. Free WiFi is available in all areas. Address: Grieskai 12-14, Graz, 8020, Austria

  2. Motel One (Graz, Austria) (10-minute walk from Hotel Weitzer)
    Motel One is a 3-star hotel situated directly in the immediate vicinity of the main square of the provincial capital. Public transportation can be found a few minutes from the main train station in Graz. Graz Thalerhof Airport can be reached by public transport in half an hour. Address: Motel One Graz, Jakominiplatz 7, AT – 8010 Graz

  3. Hotel Mariahilf (Graz, Austria) (10-minute walk from Hotel Weitzer)
    The 3-star Hotel is situated in the city centre and located on a quiet, pedestrian zone in the heart of the city. Address: Mariahilfer Str. 9, 8020 Graz, Österreich

    We will provide further information on the booking process together with the confirmation of your participation (do not book prior to receiving the confirmation of your registration).

How to get there

Arrival to Austria:

  • Getting to Graz by train: Graz Hauptbahnhof is one of Austria’s major railway stations. It is located near the city centre, which can be reached in only a few minutes by public transport. There are direct trains and buses from Vienna, Salzburg, Linz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Munich, Stuttgart and Frankfurt. There are night trains from Berlin, Zurich and Warsaw See: ÖBB Ticket Shop.

  • Getting to Graz by bus: Long-distance coaches are a popular and cost-efficient way of travelling to Graz. There are connections to and from many cities in Austria, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. The following bus service providers offer connections to Graz: Flixbus, Eurolines.

  • Getting to Graz by car: Many roads lead to Graz. From the north and south, the city can be reached via the A9 motorway. Coming from the west or east, you can take the A2 motorway. Once you have reached Graz, you can either take exit Graz-Nord, Graz-West or Graz-Ost. Good to know: Tolls are payable when using Austrian motorways and expressways. All vehicles with a maximum weight of up to 3.5 tons – cars, motorcycles and light caravans – need a toll sticker. The “Vignette” is available at service stations, for instance near border crossings.

  • Getting to Graz plane: Graz Airport is very close to the City of Graz and it has excellent transport connections. Find out about the current flight plan and all connections to and from Graz. See here: Graz Airport.

Arrival to the event’s venue (Hotel Weitzer):

  • Arriving by car: Motorway A2 or A9, exit Graz-Zentrum. Follow the signs to “Zentrum” or Google Maps. (You can park your car as a direct booker in our Citygarage Weitzer for € 18,- per day. If you have not booked directly with them, the rate for the short-term parking ticket (up to 9 h) is €3.50 / h and the day ticket €31.50 / 24 h. The fee for the e- charging station is € 0.075 / min.)

  • Arrival by train: From Graz main train station take taxi or tram line 1, 4, 6 or 7 to the stop “Südtiroler Platz/ Kunsthaus”. From there, turn right along the Mur, past the Grand Hôtel Wiesler, and continue for about 70 meters to the hotel “Das Weitzer”.
    Tip: With the Graz Card you can travel comfortably by public transport. Train timetables can be found at www.oebb.at.

  • Arrival from the airport: From Graz Airport take the S-Bahn directly to the S Bahn stop “Flughafen Graz-Feldkirchen” and get off at Graz main station, from there (see above). There is also an airport shuttle service of the Grazer Verkehrsbetriebe from the airport to the stop “Griesplatz”. The hotel is just a few minutes walk along Griesgasse. Price: € 2.70 per person / trip. For more information, see www.flughafen-graz.at.