Return to Europe / Balkan Express. A ten-part documentary

Hop on and let's take a ride across the south-east of Europe. What is so fascinating about this colourful entity called the "Balkans"? History is told on old Roman and Ottoman roads, in young urban centres like Tirana, in the mountainous countryside of Montenegro. With stories written by life - and based on the results of sound scientific research by the European Stability Initiative (ESI).

"These are documentaries all citizens of the European Union should have the opportunity to see!" Giuliano Amato, former prime minister of Italy


Following an initiative by ERSTE Foundation and the scientific research conducted by the European Stability Initiative (ESI), ORF, ORF/3sat and pre tv co-produced Return to Europe, a ten-part TV documentary. Return to Europe gives people who have contributed to the region’s progress since the mid-1990s the opportunity to comment on their present situation: artists, lawyers, journalists, activists, mayors and football players tell their version of the story. With powerful images, these ten 52-minute episodes provide a new perspective on the present and possible future of the region.

To present the changing Balkans to a wider public we have embarked on a journey of discovery. Like many European stories, our trip starts in Rome, the eternal city. From there it leads across South East Europe as far as Istanbul, city of patriarchs and caliphs. We visit Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Turkey. We stop in Kotor on the Adriatic Sea, Novi Sad on the Danube, Tirana in the Albanian coastal plains, and in Thessaloniki on the Aegean Sea. It is a journey of colours: the facades of Tirana, the painted mosques of Travnik, the fabulous old houses of Plovdiv and the spectacular blue of water — dark blue in the Bay of Kotor, emerald in the river valleys of Bosnia, deep blue in Ohrid, twinkling in the Aegean Sea and on the Bosporus. Our journey ends near the Ottoman “Fortress of Europe” (Rumeli Hisari) in Istanbul, the region’s largest city since the 4th century AD.

“This remarkable documentary dismantles all cliches!” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Return to Europe / Balkan Express – The DVD collection
5 CDs/10 films, 10 x 52 minutes.
Availabe in English (Return to Europe) and German (Balkan Express).
A new episode about Moldova will be produced soon!