Municipalities collaborate on Gudenåen

Municipal cooperation on Gudenåen

The Gudenå Cooperation

The 7 Gudenå municipalities collaborate on the Gudenå experiences in GudenåSamarbetet. The 7 municipalities are Hedensted, Horsens, Skanderborg, Silkeborg, Viborg, Favrskov and Randers. GudenåSamarbetet has existed since 2016, when it was separated from the Gudenå Committee to further focus on the development and growth perspective. The Gudenå collaboration is politically anchored in a Mayoral Forum and administratively in the development departments. GudenåSamarbetet stands on the shoulders of the two projects: "Gudenåen - a stream of experiences" anchored in the association VisitGudenaa (the then 6 tourism organizations) and "OplevGudenaa" anchored at Naturstyrelsen Søhøjlandet.
The Gudenå Cooperation
Municipalities collaborate on Gudenåen


The 7 municipalities collaborate on navigation regulations, nature and climate adaptation in the Gudenå Committee. On the recommendation of the Gudenå Committee, the Gudenå municipalities have a common vision for water management in the Gudenå and its catchment area. In concrete terms, the vision means that each municipality's water management must be based on a common understanding of the Gudenås system as a whole. In the period 2022 - 2025, the committee's focus on climate adaptation will be further strengthened with a change in the statutes. This means that climate adaptation is clearly visible, so the committee is now a Voluntary political cooperation between the Gudenå municipalities on climate adaptation, use and protection of the Gudenå.
Gudenå Committee
Foto: Gudenåkomitéen

GudenåSamarbejde’s activities

The Gudenå Cooperation

  • publishes the podcast “Åsteder – fortællinger fra Gudenåen”, which can be found on Itunes, Podbean and at It won the podcast award for Collaboration of the Year in 2020
  • runs the Facebook page“oplevgudenaa
  • has put signs on all bridges and crossing points over the main Gudenåen river and to all campsites – see news article at TVSyd.
  • has collaborated with the previous tourism organizations on upgrading and new descriptions of the regional cycle routes 29, 30, 31 and 33 – see news article from Horsens Folkeblad here
  • has upgraded the digital experience map – now
  • has coordinated and facilitated increased accessibility and visibility of the Gudenå and the surrounding area’s experience opportunities
  • has prepared a supplementary memorandum on the tourism potential of establishing a weir at Tange Lake at the request of the mayors of the 4 northern municipalities.See note on tourism potential
  • is the project secretariat for the project “Gudenåstien – from source to fjord”


The political steering group of the Gudenå collaboration is the mayors of the 7 municipalities, the administrative steering group is a forum consisting of a director from each of the 7 municipalities. The daily work is carried out by a full-time coordinator supported by a professional steering committee consisting of

  • Heidi Baltzer, Hedensted Municipality
  • Jeppe Madsen, Horsens Municipality
  • Hanne Baastrup, Skanderborg Municipality
  • Gregers Pilgaard, Silkeborg Municipality
  • Thomas C. Andersen, Viborg Municipality
  • Tobias Fuglsbjerg Aakjær, Favrskov Municipality
  • Karsten Boddum-Olesen, Randers Municipality

The GudenåSamarbeidet secretariat is currently located in Favrskov municipality. In the period 2016-2018, the secretariat was located in Silkeborg, and from January 1, 2019 the secretariat was located in Skanderborg.

The political basis for GudenåSamarbejde

The Gudenå collaboration: Organization and tasks

Update of “Proposal for updated GudenåSamarbejde: Tasks and organization” prepared by Silkeborg Municipality, Analysis and Development, and politically approved in all 7 Gudenå municipalities in 2015.

Background for the update

In 2015, the 7 Gudenå municipalities (Hedensted, Horsens, Skanderborg, Silkeborg, Viborg, Favrskov and Randers) decided to move the Gudenå Cooperation from the Gudenå Committee to a Mayor Forum supported by a Director Forum with effect from January 1, 2016. The aim was to better utilize the growth potential of Gudenåen and its catchment area, which is summarized in 3 tracks: citizens, tourists and business development.

The purpose of moving GudenåSamarbetet was also to better coordinate and utilize the many initiatives launched in the two major projects OplevGudenaa and VisitGudenaa, as well as the Gudenå Committee’s inter-municipal work on the use and protection of the Gudenå in a boating perspective.

The updated Gudenå Collaboration’s basis was described and approved in all 7 municipalities in the document “Proposal for updated Gudenå Collaboration: Tasks and organization” from 2015. Objectives and initiatives in 2021 are the same as in 2015, but specific conditions have changed – for example, the tourism organization has changed – therefore only editorial corrections have been made to the basis.

It is still the assessment that the Gudenå collaboration provides added value to all 7 Gudenå municipalities. Through the Gudenå collaboration, nature and recreation are better linked to the development potential in tourism, business development and settlement – and across municipal boundaries and geography. The GudenåSamarbetet thus helps to ensure that the Gudenå’s development potential is utilized.

GudenåSamarbejde’s organization and financial framework

The Gudenå collaboration is politically anchored in a Mayors’ Forum consisting of the mayors of the 7 Gudenå municipalities. The Mayors’ Forum is supported by the Directors’ Forum, which consists of one director from each of the 7 Gudenå municipalities. The Mayor’s Forum is responsible for the overall and coordinated development and utilization of the Gudenå’s potentials and the interaction with the Gudenå Committee’s work and other initiatives at the Gudenå and the immediate catchment area.

The day-to-day work is carried out by a full-time employee supported by a professional steering group anchored in the 7 municipalities’ development units.
The 7 Gudenå municipalities contribute annually to the Gudenå Cooperation’s budget according to this key, which takes into account both the municipality’s population and the importance of the Gudenå for the municipality in question. The 7 municipalities are divided into the following 3 categories:

Category 1: “Many inhabitants and the Gudenå is of great importance”: Silkeborg and Randers municipalities with an annual contribution of DKK 250,000 per municipality

Category 2: “Many inhabitants and the Gudenå is less important” or “Fewer inhabitants and the Gudenå is very important”: Horsens, Viborg and Skanderborg municipalities with an annual contribution of DKK 150,000 per municipality.

Category 3: “Fewer inhabitants and the Gudenå is less important”: Favrskov and Hedensted municipalities with an annual contribution of DKK 75,000 per municipality.

GudenåSamarbejde’s tasks

The work with Gudenåens potentials can be described as 3 tracks:

1. Gudenåen and citizens: It must be easy for both current citizens and newcomers to spot and use Gudenåen in their daily lives for recreation, exercise, experiences etc. It calls for:

  • operation of trails and other facilities and a plan for further investments
  • Simple and accessible visibility of opportunities for life, activities and experiences – including uniform, recognizable and simple map material that all players use on existing platforms
  • Involving commercial, cultural and other actors to co-create services, activities, events, etc.

2. Gudenåen and tourism: There must be something for visitors looking for outdoor life, nature experiences, cultural history, etc:

  • Visibility and marketing of trails, facilities, experiences, activities, events, etc. on common platforms where tourists seek information – including simple and uniform maps in multiple languages
  • Packages with services, activities, etc. that connect the opportunities at Gudenåen with other attractions and experiences in the area. The main contributors and stakeholders are relevant business actors

3. Gudenåen and business development: An element of a natural area’s attractiveness both in daily life and in connection with holidays is the opportunities for food, drink, activities, transportation, experiences, etc:

  • Nature as a basis for business – new jobs and business opportunities
  • Gudenåen in the context of other opportunities for experiences and activities in nature

Primary actors in the utilization of this potential are

  • GudenåSamarbetet and
  • VisitAarhus and the coastal country

GudenåSamarbeidet’s task is the overall and coordinated development and utilization of the Gudenå’s potentials and the interaction with the Gudenå Committee’s work and other efforts at the entire Gudenå and the immediate catchment area. The daily work is very much about creating visibility and coherence about activities, offers and opportunities in connection with Gudenåen. When launching new initiatives, mayors will have a special focus on opportunities to apply for funding. The three focus areas recommended by the Gudenå Committee – angling tourism, cultural history and trail systems – are part of the basis for the work on larger projects for which funding can be sought.

GudenåSamarbetet before 2016

From 2012-15, GudenåSamarbetet lived in the Gudenå Committee, which is the same 7 municipalities’ collaboration on boating regulations and the aquatic environment. GudenåSamarbetet emerged partly as a political vision for better “utilization” of the Gudenå region’s experience potential and partly as a dialogue forum for the many Gudenå initiatives – primarily OplevGudenaa and VisitGudenaa.

Read more about the vision process

Read more about GudenåSamarbetet 2013-15

GudenåSamarbejdet version 1 handed over the status and recommendations to GudenåSamarbejdet version 2 in the form of a “Handover Document” that built directly on the Master Plan created during GudenåSamarbejdet 2013-15.

See “Transfer document”

See the master plan for GudenåSamarbejde 2013-15

The idea was always that GudenåSamarbetet should be moved out of the nature administrations and into a more development-oriented organization.

Anchoring the Gudenå collaboration politically in a mayoral forum and administratively in the development and culture and leisure administrations was done with a view to a holistic approach to experience development in and around Gudenåen – across administrations and disciplines and through collaboration with both municipal and non-municipal actors.