In 1997, the idea arose to found a "Weinviertel Museum Association". From the beginning, this was to be linked to the Amber Road. Even then, the long-term goal was to revive the entire route - from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic Sea - as a cultural route.
In order to realise the project in the Weinviertel, a committee of proponents consisting of museum representatives, municipal representatives and cultural workers was formed under the chairmanship of Herbert Nowohradsky, member of the regional parliament, and the Regional Management Weinviertel took over the project sponsorship.
In 1998, Ulrike Vitovec of the Volkskultur Niederösterreich (Lower Austrian folk culture) and the spatial planner Richard Resch, Graz, surveyed the cultural tourism potential of the region and developed approaches for an implementation strategy based on this in a feasibility study. Through the Amber Road, projected as a cross-border initiative, the offers in the neighbouring regions of Southern Moravia and Western Slovakia were also taken into account.
In 2000, a supplementary study was carried out to deepen the tourism aspects and to strengthen the links to the tourism model of the Weinviertel and the course book Tourism Lower Austria. Prepared by Edinger Tourismus Beratung and DI Resch, this study also took into account other tourism focal points of the region such as cycling or wine tourism. The Lower Austrian regional development company Eco Plus agreed to fund project management for the implementation of the strategies developed in the two studies for three years.
On 16 March 2001, the museum representatives, who had previously only been loosely organised as a proponents' committee, constituted the association "The Austrian Amber Road" with 10 members at that time. The members of the association are mainly museum or cultural associations, represented by their chairpersons or board members. On the same day, the project manager funded by Eco Plus was appointed as the managing director of the association, and on 2 April of the same year he took up his duties.
In 2014, the association had more than 30 members (museums, cultural initiatives and municipalities) from the Weinviertel and the Auland-Carnuntum region, the areas through which the historic route of the Amber Road runs.
Numerous projects have been carried out, marketing activities have been set up, many museums have been made more attractive, hikes along the historic Amber Road have been supported, book and film projects have been presented, and the tourist offer has been developed.
Eco Plus and the Cultural Department of the Province of Lower Austria have supported this initiative from the very beginning. Betty Bernstein thus succeeded in setting standards in the area of family and children's offers.
In the meantime, the Amber Road Association has become firmly established in the tourist fabric of Lower Austria and especially of the Weinviertel. The experience and contacts gained in the years of its existence have enabled the association to participate in transnational projects. From 2004 to 2007, the Bernsteinstraße Association was in charge of the INTERREG project ROME on behalf of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour and Eco Plus. Since 2008, measures such as expansion, exhibitions and international networking activities have been funded through LEADER projects.
Chairwoman of the association
Management of the association
Since February 2018, Sophie Doppler has taken over the management of the association ``The Austrian Amber Road``. In addition, she is responsible for the project ``Digitalisation and Demographic Change`` at Weinviertel Tourismus GmbH.