Megalithic Routes began in 2004. The project was conceived during a meeting between local historian Klaus de Laak, the director of the Osnabrück planetarium, the directors of tourism associations in north-west Lower Saxony, and the director of the Osnabrück municipal and regional archaeological heritage authority. Their vision was to create the “Straße der Megalithkultur”, a modern route that linked together many of the exciting and instructive megalithic tombs between Osnabrück and Oldenburg. The focus would connect the protection and conservation of these spectacular historic monuments with activities, events and opportunities for tourism. Direction of the project was entrusted to the representatives of tourism and archaeology in Osnabrück; Europe’s first megalithic route built in modern times opened on 15 May 2009.
In parallel with the activities in north-western Germany, a network was established and the first international meeting took place in Copenhagen at the beginning of 2011. The partners from the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden signalled their agreement with the objectives formulated in Germany and promised their own contributions on the subject of megalithic culture.
At the Copenhagen meeting, it was decided to jointly develop and implement an international plan providing for tourism activities related to “megalithic cultures”. Articles of Association (Charter) were adopted at the inaugural meeting on 24 August 2012. To this end, the international network “Megalithic Routes” was founded and recognised as an international not-for-profit association under German law on 19 November 2012. Please see Certificate of registration for more details.
On 21 December 2012, Dr. Hans-Gert Pöttering, the 12th President of the European Parliament agreed to accept the patronage of the network “Megalithic Routes” and in April 2013 “The European Route of Megalithic Culture” was incorporated into the wider programme Cultural Routes by the Council of Europe.