At the beginning stands the vision of what could be called a real citizen of central Europe: thanks to the engagement of the Austrian diplomatic and politician Theodor von Hornbostel there was already since 1953 in Salzburg a „Research Institute for Issues of the Danube Region". As an Austrian scientific institution, it was dedicated specifically to research on the Danube region.
As the founder and the first chairman, Hornbostel recognized „the importance of a scientific research about this region, in order to contribute to a peaceful and united Europe through a better knowledge of the immanent political, cultural and economic powers of the Danube Region.“
But until a united Europe there was still a long way to go: the iron curtain was dividing people and states in the Danube Region, built henceforth after the war on totally different political and economic premises.
For over thirty years the institute was the only Austrian organisation dedicating itself exclusively to this research on the region – within and out of its borders.
Starting from 1956, the research topic of the Danube Region has been researched and documented in the scientific journal of the institute „Der Donauraum“ and in the same year the institute relocated to Vienna.
In 1995 Erhard Busek became the chairman of the institute after Norbert Leser, and gave a new impulse to the institute through its consolidation and at the same time cooperation with other institutions. The new name „Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe“ included in its research area the whole Central and Southeastern Europe, and expanded partly until the Black Sea Region. Today, the IDM is an extramural research institution based on an association – constituted by individual and corporate members.
Since 1st April 2011 the IDM became a strategic partner of the University for Applied Science (BOKU) in Vienna.
Our areas of responsibility are constantly evolving, and the European Union itself has recognized the fundamental meaning of the development of the region for the peace and stability of the whole Europe – keyword EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR). There are daily challenges at the institute, principally because our financial plan is really strict, and that is the reason why our network is particularly important: a network made up of cooperation partners, friends and supporters!
The institute is funded by the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, the Federal Ministry of Education, the Federal Ministry of Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, by Wien Kultur as well as by individual provinces, cities, the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, the Federation of Austrian Industry, the Austrian Central Bank and private sponsors.