Matevž Straus: From things of the past towards a resource for the future

Matevž Straus, director of the ID20 Institute in Idrija, which organises the Betrib Festival, is a sociologist and a doctor of urban studies and strategic marketing communication. Straus works on new approaches to cultural heritage and is the creator of several award-winning projects in the field of cultural heritage development.


The Betrib Festival, which is part of the official programme of the European Capital of Culture 2025 Nova Gorica – Gorizia, will take place in Idrija on 29 and 30 September, and this year’s theme, ‘Odsluženi’ (‘out-of-use’), will highlight the issue of used, abandoned and reused objects. The festival revitalises cultural heritage, especially industrial heritage, abandoned in disused buildings; to this end, the former mercury smelting plant has been activated and content placed there. Three floors of content to visit from top to bottom. Exhibition, installation, virtual, conference, talk, concert, party.


“We look for a combination of audiences and mix genres; those who come to listen to electronic music, for example, will also see lace and industrial machinery, and vice versa. The first edition of the festival in 2021 was well received, so we are continuing in this direction.”


ID20 was created to transform heritage from a thing of the past to a resource for the future. “Personally, I am interested in how to look at heritage in an innovative way. We are linking industrial heritage with other spheres such as art, architecture, town planning, handicrafts, volunteering, etc.,’ Matevž explains, adding that he has four axes of action: the Betrib Festival, the Idrija Žlikrofi Festival, a programme in the Inzagi pit and the revitalisation of the Giser mining house. The Institute operates in Idrija, which once housed the second largest mercury mine in the world and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its rich mining heritage. The combination of heritage and innovation has created ideal conditions for further development in the creative, commercial and service sectors.