Everyone needs a place called home

Our building culture and our landscapes are the roots of cultural identity in European regions for generations now. This heritage, however, is getting more and more between the tension of competing interests and new values. Long since, in rural areas and in small towns, people fear that structural and demographic change will harm their future crucially.

Cultural politics cannot be unmoved by the possibility that the before quite successful equalisation of living standards between cities and villages – which was once political credo – might begin to totter due to these changes. Many questions arise: Are the public finances still sufficient to preserve cultural heritage in the future? What are the reasons that could lead citizens prospectively to spent money and dedication on architectural monuments? Is the inheriting generation, whose life plans have to conform to urban centres with a steady economic power, even interested in cultural assets in rural areas? Is this Heritage still something they call “home” like the previous generations? Is cultural Heritage a burden or is it something of distinctive value that gives a region its face and its character in the first place? And is it therefore the only thing that could provide its future? Are there examples on cultural heritage being the catalyst of a successful development?

These are the questions that have been discussed at the EU-HISTCAPE conference 2013 in Koblenz by many top-class experts in the beginning of June at Fortress Ehrenbreitstein.

This documentation is at the same time a report and an introduction into the topic. In regional conferences and workshops with different focal points the topic cultural heritage will be further discussed.

It is the aim of HISTCAPE (Historical assets and related landscapes), to initiate broad and enduring dialogue about how cultural heritage could be an important factor in planning and deciding about a future for rural areas. Examples of Good Practice from all over Europe shall indicate that cultural heritage is a strength.

We are inviting you to help us, so we can find a solution together.To be open minded in discussions, to participate in solution modells and the involvement of comitted people is something we understand perfectly. We explicitly want and look for an exchange between younger people and people of an older generation. Our motto: Everyone needs a place called home.





Koblenz (Rhineland-Palatinate). The Response to the EU-HISTCAPE Conference was highly positive: About 250 representatives of important authorities and institutions, both nationally and internationally, participated in our first international conference and our public evening event.

Attendees included representatives from local governments to state authorities and ministries, from Schools to Universities and experts of monument conservation offices, as well as from rural- and state development authorities. Moreover we welcomed representatives from the fields: agriculture, viticulture, tourism and architecture.

Whilst the main topics of the conference were demographic change and its effects on the rural areas of Europe as well as the protection of the future of monuments, the evening lecture “Further Construction” with Professor Max Dudler focused on a different topic: High quality contemporary architecture. However, both parts followed a similar approach: To convince with examples of “Good Practice”

The keynote speech of the conference “Representing public interest? – Cultural heritage amidst the tension of competing values” was held by Christoph Kraus, head of the Culture Department of the Ministry of Education, Science, Further Education and Culture, Rhineland-Palatinate.

Convincing the Generation of Heirs of the Value of Cultural Heritage.

In respect of demographic change and the massive alteration in age structure of villages, municipalities and towns in rural areas, Christoph Kraus was advocating a broad communication offensive. Especially the inheriting generation needs to be convinced about the value of heritage-protected buildings and the surrounding cultural landscapes. Kraus was referring to a representative study of the German Postbank and the Institution for public opinion research Allensbach. From data of the German State Bank it is visible, that in the year 2011 alone, inheritance worth of about 233 billion Euros was given to heirs. This is about 5 per cent of the total financial assets of all private households in Germany. A significant reason for the drastically growing volume of inheritance is real estates.

“According to the study, the number of testators from places with less than 20.000 inhabitants is way above average” declares Kraus. These are the villages and towns that are the most affected by structural change and the migration of younger people into the larger cities and these are therefore the ones HISTCAPE focuses on.

Christoph Kraus during his keynote speech at the international HISTCAPE-­conference, in the Kuppelsaal at the Fortress Ehrenbreitstein. Picture: U. Pfeuffer, GDKE Rhineland-­Palatinate

Christoph Kraus made clear that by the inclusion of the protection of cultural assets in the constitution, Rhineland-Palatinate determined from its hour of birth in 1947, how precious and valuable cultural assets should be. Furthermore it is determined in the constitution that cultural assets belong to all people, and therefore need to be accessible to them.

Accessibility means to have the chance to visit cultural assets and to learn from them about our history, which implies to be in direct contact with history. But participation also means that in general citizens need to accord with the often immense financial decisions that are being made by the state, local authorities and private monument owners, Christoph Kraus comments.

Through HISTCAPE an added value shall be created on European level. The results of the cooperation will be summarized and published in a guideline for sustainable management on: www.histcape.eu

Europe Presents Itself with Great Success.

The presentation of the HISTCAPE-partners received a throughout positive reaction. In lively short Power Points, they showed the highly interested audience the cultural strength of their respective home regions and thereby formed a kaleidoscope of a mutual cultural heritage. The address of welcome which was held in the respective native language and an individual announcement of the follow up speaker were creating an atmosphere of European solidarity and were welcomed by the conference participants in a positive manner. The fact that some HISTCAPE-partners announced the next contribution even in German was met with great sympathy and joy.

Laura Cueva Ortiz was charmingly presenting the cultural region Castilla y Leon in in the north- west of Spain. The region disposes of the largest land area in comparison to all other autonomous regions of Spain, but has a comparable low population density. The historical heritage consisting of 1.820 heritage sites and eight UNESCO World heritage sites is significant. Picture: I. C. Hoffstadt

Alexandra Kulmer from Styria in Austria, during the presentation of her home region.

She represented her foundation “Landentwicklung Steiermark” with esprit. Its main goal is the usage of the strengths and advantages of regions, to create a balance between economical, ecological and cultural challenges and to preserve cultural heritage and cultural landscapes. Picture: I. C. Hoffstadt

A Need for a Broad Communication-Offensive.

It is important to note that a large majority of the population has, up to today, no doubts about the necessity of representative buildings being preserved by the state, says Christoph Kraus further in his speech. This also concerns for example castles, fortresses or churches that are being preserved with large amounts of money from the States. Doubts – and this maybe the core of the debate – are rather and surprisingly coming up with those buildings that may classify as testimonies of everyday culture. Kraus emphasised, building up an extensive network between all stakeholders from every hierarchical level and from all relevant special fields is a crucial matter to respond to structural change with integrated strategies.

Facing the claims of the Monument Protection Act, to act in respect of the public interest, tasks like communication, mediation and also participation are forming necessary spheres of action for monument preservation authorities. Communication and mediation are becoming more relevant every day. What is important here is to break down tensions, by communicating at the right time. A significant role plays the free advice that is offered to the owners and to the monument preservation offices in towns and municipalities by the state conservation office. 

According to Christoph Kraus: “Values and the understanding of the state have changed fundamentally during the past years and still are within a considerable changing process”. Kraus furthermore stated: “In the eyes of the citizens, politics and administration have to develop into a people-oriented service provider; the state has to face the citizens as partners to begin with. Being a service provider should be its first priority. In the opinion of citizens the encounter between state and citizen should happen on an equal level. Giving advice and support to the development of a better understanding in the fields of monument protection and preservation, as well as for historical heritage in general, are crucial factors here – which cannot be emphasised enough. “I would go even further and say: They are the foundations for citizens to accept special burdens and limitations that are connected to the preservation cultural heritage“, says Kraus.

The Hardenburg in Southern Rhineland-­â€Palatinate, with a new entrance-­â€building, which is serving as centre for tourism. Picture: GDKE Rhineland-­â€Palatinate

We bring history to life:

Motto of the Directorate General Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate

In front of the fully occupied Kuppelsaal of the fortress Ehrenbreitstein in Koblenz, Thomas Metz explained the institutional structures of the Directorate General Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate which was newly erected in 2007/2008. The state conservation office is unifying six directorates and two central departments under one roof. The Kuppelsaal is an often used location for events and is located within the cultural fortress Ehrenbreitstein. Pictures: U. Pfeuffer, GDKE Rhineland-Palatinate

The Kuppelsaal is overarching an archaeological excavation, which vividly shows the 3000 years of settlement of the site within a multimedia-show. The visitors, which may travel in an “”elevator into the past", thus into the lower vaults, are amazed by the multilingual vivid presentation: A new successful way for mediation of historical knowledge. Especially the younger generation can be won over to cultural heritage this way.”

Sonata Dumbliauskiené presented the cultural treasures of her home region Alytus, in Lithuania, convincingly via impressive pictures. She is a representative of the municipal administration, which is responsible for the listing and preservation of historical sites. Alytus has registered 72 archaeological, 395 historical, 144 artistical, 29 architectural and three urban monuments as well as 19 landscapes that content traces of historical settlements.

Picture: I. C. Hoffstadt

Quality through collaboration.

The Directorate General Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate.

The Directorate General Rhineland-Palatinate was presented in vivid graphics and pictures by Thomas Metz. With the directorates of State Archaeology, State Monument Preservation, Castles and Antiquities, as well as three State Museums in Mainz, Trier and Koblenz there are six special field directorates working together unified under the roof of the Directorate General since 2007/2008. Two central departments are working comprehensively for all directorates. This integrated framework is serving the research, documentation, preservation, mediation and profiling of cultural heritage and due to team-work and collaboration it is increasing quality.

Increasing quality through collaboration – a mutual, central and strategical goal of the Directorate General Cultural Heritage Rhineland-­â€Palatinate and of the EU-­â€Project HISTCAPE.

The presentation was leading through all working fields of the Directorate General Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate and was showing it in vivid pictures.

Flagship Projects are promoting regional development.

Flagship projects like the fortress Ehrenbreitstein, which is – with its 500.000 visitors per year – a cultural touristic magnet for the whole region, would not meet the today required quality standards nor be manageable without a close technical cooperation, stated Thomas Metz. This, however, also applies to the numerous projects of the Directorate General in rural regions.

50 billion Euros were invested in refurbishment and development of the cultural fortress, which has now an attractive landscape park and historical rooftop gardens. That way it is possible to explore and experience the fortress indoors and outdoors. The established State Museum Koblenz presents changing exhibitions and the archaeological findings on-site; Castles and antiquities enable visitors to experience the history of the site and the region in various ways. From cultural events over a vinotheque (wine store) up to gastronomy, the fortress Ehrenbreitstein offers a lot of things. This variety is attracting visitors the most, Thomas Metz said.

Trier – Center of the Ancient World in Germany.

Thomas Metz explained the collaboration within the Directorate General Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate using the example of Trier. The cultural heritage of the Roman period, which is presented as „Centre of the Ancient World in Germany“, can be explored at the original sites via various and vivid mediation offers, but also at the Rhenish State Museum Trier, which, in its collaboration with the State Archaeology Trier, made a name for itself internationally as “excavating museum“.

Extracurricular Projects Promote the Awareness- Raising of Young People.

Dr. Susanne Braun, German Foundation of Monument Protection, presents projects from ten years of “denkmal aktiv – Cultural Heritage in Young Hands”.

Picture: I. C. Hoffstadt

The German Foundation of Monument Protection, which was founded in 1985 as an independent private Foundation, is these days one of the biggest citizens’ initiative for monument protection in Germany, stated Dr. Susanne Braun in her speech.

For 25 years now, the foundation is contributing to safeguarding cultural heritage. That she is able to do so, she owes to numerous sponsors and donators and to avariety of voluntaries that are actively engaged in monument protection and committed to protecting churches, manor houses or green areas, historical sections of towns or industry from deterioration.

Next to project promotion the foundation is standing for awareness-raising and communication – with the goal to make monument protection a public task, a task of society. One of the most popular initiatives of hers is the “Tag des offenen Denkmals” (Heritage Day) which is coordinated by the Foundation nationwide. The “Tag des offenen Denkmal” is part of the “European Heritage Days” which were brought to live by the Council of Europe in 1991.

A special concern of the foundation is furthermore to raise awareness of the value and meaning of cultural heritage among younger people and to show them that monument protection could be a topic of interest for them as well. „One of the relevant initiatives is for instance the “Jugendbauhütten” (masons’ lodges for younger people) in which young people within the framework of a “Voluntary Year in Monument Conservation” may participate in measures of restoration and rehabilitation by helping out in craftsmanship and construction companies, in architectural and planning offices or in monument offices and at construction sites respectively. Another relevant initiative is the school program “denkmal aktiv(interactive monument)- Cultural Heritage in Young Hands”, Dr. Susanne Braun stated. With the nationwide program the German Foundation of Monument Protection funds school projects with the topics cultural heritage and monument preservation and furthermore tries to put these topics on the everyday school agenda.

Kaleidoscope of European Cultures.

Kostas Karamarkos presents astonishing images of Western Macedonia, Greece. The resort for Culture and Sports of the administrative region, founded in 1987, is mainly responsible for coordinating the activities of cultural institutions. This also implies the implementation of cultural programs and events, award schemes and the promotion of Education and Arts. The resort is moreover responsible for the evaluation and funding of Associations and other institutions that share the same interest and goals in culture. Picture: I. C. Hoffstadt

Use the Benefits of the Media Age and Search for an Interdisciplinary Exchange Between Experts.

Professor Dr. Przemyslaw Paul Zalewski, European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder, is in charge of the part-time master’s degree program heritage science.

He obtained his doctorate at the Faculty of Architecture, TU-Berlin. From 2000 to 2003 he was an academic assistant at the Chair of architectural monument preservation and at the Faculty of Architecture at the Bauhaus-University of Weimar, from 2004 to 2008 He was junior professor for architectural science and monument preservation at the Faculty of Architecture.

Since 2007 he had several visiting professorships at the master’s degree program “Preservation of European Cultural Assets” at the European University Viadrina; in the winter semester 2008-09 he had a visiting professorship at the same university for Heritage Science and was in charge of the master’s degree program. At the beginning of the summer semester 2009 he was announced Professor for Heritage Science.

“In times of steadily growing technical, organizational, financial and social complexity” Zalewski states, “also the monument protection urgently needs to be open minded towards new strategies and social networks” Acting and Thinking in an interdisciplinary way as well as the development of interdisciplinary management-teams are the orders of the day. According to Zalewski the already scarce “public attention” is drawn away especially by big commercial medial events that have nothing to do with cultural heritage and have a big influence on our society. So if one really wants to preserve historical quarters and “architectural monuments that aren’t as spectacular” in a sustainable way, he needs to measure up with this competition. Therefore new ways for the dissemination and mediation of the relevant contents are needed.

Zalewski, furthermore says: “It is about nothing less but the “social insurance of monument protection” which has not been paid for sufficiently the last decades. The advanced, historical substance-related expertise is a precious accomplishment, but not capable of surviving on its own. This one-sided emphasis means that valuable social finances are lost. Especially mediation products that address the feelings and values of the younger and the very young generation are urgently needed on all levels up to the European Union. Regarding Europe this means the pressure to act and build new networks and it means to invent new – not only commercially motivated – social strategies in dealing with cultural heritage.” Zalewski states, that bearing this in mind his study field at the European University Viadrina was aligned to the public interest of monument protection. Therefore the part-time master’s degree program is not only for art historians, architects or curators, but - with a programmatic aim – open also to people of other special fields.

The Integrating Effects of Culture are a Strong Unfiying Bond.

Address of Welcome of the Mayor of Koblenz.

The Lord Mayor of Koblenz and long-standing Secretary of State for Culture in Rhineland- Palatinate, Professor Dr. Joachim Hofmann-Göttig, was holding a welcoming speech at the international conference. As a Gateway to the UNESCO-World Heritage Site Upper Middle Rhine Valley, Koblenz has proved itself a touristic magnet for visitors nation- and worldwide, due to its variety of cultural offerings – especially after the big event “National Garden Show”.

According to Professor Dr. Joachim Hofmann-Göttig, the high quality cultural tourism is a catalyst for development. It generates jobs for many people and is likewise strengthening the identity of the citizens who live there.

To the cosmopolitan city -which Koblenz is and wants to be- the integrating effects, resulting from a lively cultural scene and the precious cultural heritage, are an important bond for a peaceful and future orientated coexistence of all population groups Koblenz can be proud, that with the new cultural building in the centre of the city it has yet another cultural touristic magnet. The more than 2000 year-old City Koblenz and the cultural fortress Ehrenbreitstein have moved closer together due to the installed cable car. The fortress, which is State Property, is now part of the cultural life of the city and the whole region. With certain proud, Koblenz may call itself secretly “the cultural capital of Rhineland-Palatinate“.

Vincenzo Zenobi, town and country planer, allowed himself a refreshment, after having held an emotional and optical convincing film-presentation of his home region Marche.

Marche (Italy) is known as a “plural region” for its traditions, dialects, historic cities and for its different landscapes ranging from mountains to the sea.

For many years now the regional administration pursues the goal with the aid of a protection plan to safeguard and promote cultural landscapes.

Picture right: I. C. Hoffstadt; Pictures Region Marche: Regional Administration Marche


The next HISTCAPE-meeting takes place in the region Marche in September. Focus of the conference will be the preservation of cultural landscapes.

European Network Creates Real Connections.

Professor Dr. Roko Zarnik (picture, left side) was able to meet and greet an old friend and colleague at the end of his presentation of the University Ljubljana, Slovenia, in Koblenz. He and Jacques Akerboom (Monument Watch Netherlands) know each other from many years of collaboration in European projects. This also made the atmosphere at the conference more friendly and warm: A noticeable lively network of committed people from all parts of Europe, which is creating real connections that are also helping with the preservation of cultural heritage.

The picture shows Roko Zarnik with the historian Barbara Vodopivec during the HISTCAPE- meeting in Lithuania. Barbara is researching amongst other things the Slovenian castle landscapes in the context of European history. Picture: I.C. Hoffstadt

The University of Ljubljana was founded in 1919. It ranks as a very large university, with more than 51.000 graduate and postgraduate students. Approximately 4000 higher education teachers are employed in the three arts academies and 23 faculties. The University implements undergraduate and postgraduate education and research activities from the areas of natural and technical sciences, social sciences and humanities, including cultural heritage preservation field.

Professor Dr. Roko Zarnic presents the University Ljubljana, Slovenia. Picture: Andrea Tackner

Sustainability in Monument Protection – It Is Like Preventive Dental Care.

The tasks of the Monument Watch Netherlands.

Jacques Akerboom, Monument Watch Noord-Brabant in the Netherlands, was presenting 40 successful years of Monument Watch at the international EU- HISTCAPE conference. He compared sustainable monument protection with preventive dental care, a metaphor that was understandable to everyone immediately.

The “Monument-Watch Netherlands” was founded in 1973 with the aim to prevent the deterioration of Monuments, Akerboom stated in his speech. By frequently giving advice on the object it was possible to make owners more aware and committed to safeguarding cultural monuments. This also had positive effects on the condition of most of the historical buildings.

Jacques Akerboom, responsible for international cooperation within the Monument Watch of the Netherlands, inspired with his vivid speech about sustainability in the preservation of cultural heritage. Picture: I.C. Hoffstadt

HISTCAPE is trying to operate against the trend that more and more historical cultural assets in rural areas are under pressure or lost forever. The local responsibilities shall be supported by a range of sustainable management-solutions with a dynamic and future oriented view on cultural heritage.

The Monument Watch offers the owners of historical buildings a special service: “Each team of the Monument Watch is driving with a van full of equipment and material all across the country and is closely observing the constructive and technical condition of Monuments on-the-spot,” Jacques Akerboom explained. If they see any defects during the inspection the team would take care of the minor repairs immediately. The owner will receive a report about the findings; this report is the basis of the maintenance-plan. Each report includes advice on the required maintenance and a list of priorities, Akerboom explained further.

All prior doubts, if the teams’ craftsmen are qualified enough, were wiped out by strong approval. Because the Monument Watch was a success they were able to finance the needed workshops and training for the craftsmen.

Tere päevast. Ma tervitan teid Eestist!

Hello. Greetings from Estonia!korrekturlauf

Saare County comprises Saaremaa, the biggest island of Estonia and another seven inhabited islands. Saaremaa and its islets are famous for the richness of their geological heritage or geotopes. Saaremaa Local Government Association, which Viktoria is a representative of, was founded by the local governments of Saare County in 1993. The Association is the public body in charge of promoting the balanced development of the environment, economy and cultural heritage of the county.

Viktoria Bubukin presented the rich Cultural and natural landscapes of the Island Saaremaa, Estoinia and was therewith inspiring the participants of the conference. Picture: Andrea Tackner

HISTCAPE-Info: Historic towns and their landscapes are a unique part of Europe’s identity. While Europe’s 500 million population is largely concentrated in larger settlements 80% of its territory is rural in character. These rural landscapes are topic of home to a scattered pattern of smaller historic towns and villages.

HISTCAPE focuses on these historical assets – some 4,500 small towns of under 20k population which have traditionally acted as community hubs –a focal point for economic activity and social cohesion.

Documentation of cultural heritage in the publicly available geo-portal of the State Rhineland- Palatinate (www.geoportal.rlp.de).

Mediation of Values.

Balance between Preservation and Development of Cultural Heritage.

In her speech Patricia Alberth was discussing which instruments are available for keeping a balance between preservation and development, in the context of politics and town planning, and for strengthening the strategic meaning of World Heritage, in future orientated town development. It is especially about the mediation of values, the World Heritage expert said. It is furthermore about making cultural heritage more relevant for society and by that ensure the preservation thereof.

Patricia Alberth brought to the fore of her speech the UNESCO-recommendation for Historic Urban Landscapes, recommendations that may also apply to rural areas and towns. In 1972 The UNESCO adopted the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Internationally, it is the most important instrument that the community of nations has ever decided upon for the protection of its cultural and natural heritage.

According to further explanations of Patricia Alberth, the instrument Historic Urban Landscape not only applies to World Heritage, but may be applicable in general also to towns (or also smaller towns). Parts of the instrument are amongst other things: the collection of natural, cultural and human resources; participation in identifying values that require protection and its connected attributes; evaluation of the vulnerability of these attributes; establishment of partnerships and management- strategies for projects that serve preservation and development likewise.

According to Alberth it is important to deal with the question, if there are intersections between preservation and development.

Patricia Alberth, World Heritage expert and long-standing employee at UNESCO in Paris. Picture: I.C. Hoffstadt

Cultural Heritage Defines Our Identity.

High socio-political ambitions like climate change, increasing energy efficiency, reduction of energy consumption, energy production and energy transport have since long caught up with the everyday life of conservators, archaeologists and with culture and nature preservators. This is something Wolfgang Karl Göhner also confirms, chairman of the Heritage Legal Forum (EHLF). The monument lawyer from the Bavarian State Office of Monument Protection and bureau member of the working group “law and taxation law” of the National Committee of Germany for Monument Protection, who thinks of himself with proud as European, also accords with the theses of Zalewski: “Especially the cultural and architectural monuments that are the flagship of our European building culture, have aesthetical and technical qualities, that are indispensible for our local, regional, national and European identity.”

Wolfgang Karl Göhner, Chairman European Heritage Legal Forum.Foto: I. C. Hoffstadt

Museum Sabero. Foto: Verwaltung Castilla y Leon.


HISTCAPE-INFO:Die HISTCAPE-Konferenz im Oktober 2013 in Castilla y Leon (Spanien) thematisiert neue Konzepte der Regionalentwicklung.

Göhner emphasized, that the preservation and redevelopment of monuments and historical quarters require an enormous organizational expert knowledge and need solutions that have been worked out by engineers: “This would promote both the medium-sized craft sector and the tradition and protection of dwindling craft technics. This would furthermore safeguard a number of highly qualified working places.” However, Göhner also sees the need for a cross-sectoral approach between the local and regional monument and cultural landscape authorities as well as between the regional craft sector and the professional management: “Nowadays institutions like the EHLF are essential on an EU- level. We need a strong European network to meet the requirements at all.”

A look at the”road maps“, that Göhner presented during the EU-Conference in Koblenz, emphasizes that: “We need experts as well as interdisciplinary team- players.” Also Göhner goes for the emotional approach, when it comes to the preservation of cultural heritage. In his speech he quotes the producing director Andrea Breth: “I feel that in our times, we lose our humanity, our spirit, our language more and more every day. We are doing that without any sense of responsibility, with a growing loneliness, and a growing gap between rich and poor, with our minds full of nothingness.”

Applied Research for Cultural Heritage.

Rand Eppich represented the international research foundation Tecnalia convincingly. Picture: Alexandra Tackner

The internationally working Foundation Tecnalia is the second HISTCAPE-partner from Spain and one of the leading organisations for applied research in Europe with an international presence in 25 countries.

Within Sustainable Development the Cultural Heritage Team has been working internationally for the past 15 years to work on methodology to protect and conserve the World’s cultural heritage. Tecnalia also works for projects in rural areas.

The American Rand Eppich did not hold back, that he is especially fascinated by European cultural landscapes and regions.

Many small towns and municipalities in rural areas have traditionally acted as community hubs –a focal point for economic activity and social cohesion and a specific cultural Identity. This role has, however, come under serious threat over recent decades with outmigration, particularly of young people as a direct consequence of changing patterns of economic activity – adversely affecting demographic balance and sustainability. The ensuing loss of facilities and services combined with a loss of economic activity has resulted in a lack of investment in these communities. The acceleration of this trend, exacerbated by the recession, directly threatens the existence of much of Europe’s historic assets.


Understanding Europe is more than just communication in a common language or the exchange of expert knowledge. Above all it means wanting to live the European idea.

Natalie Eimertenbrink (on the left) and Carla Cruz.
The picture was taken in Spring 2013 during the HISTCAPE-Meeting in Lithuania in the Region Alytus. Picture: I.C. Hoffstadt

The HISTCAPE-Team is Living the European Idea.

That internationality and multilingualism is selfevident in EU-projects shows the HISTCAPE-Team in many ways. Natalie Eimertenbrink grew up bilingually with German and Dutch and is speaking English just like Carla Cruz. Since graduating in Intercultural Communication and Translation, Natalie is woking in the team of Rhineland-Palatinate. Carla Cruz is an architect specialized in cultural heritage (see picture of previous page).

The social and expert communication in the team is working very well. That was also something Particia Alberth noticed while going with the HISTCAPE-Partners on Study Visits. After the day of the international conference she joined the team, on its all day field-trip through the UNESCO-World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley. The World Heritage expert; who has a lot of experience in projects like these, said, that she was positively surprised about the harmonie within the HISTCAPE-team.

The Culture of the Region North Portugal.

The Cultural Directorate of the Portugese Region North is a state office, which was was founded in 2006. It is responsible for the preservation, maintainance, inspection and funding of the cultural heritage in the region.Its area of responsibility includes among other things the organisation, preservation and development of the 53 monuments and cultural sites of the region that are in state property. An important contribution for a sustainable Development of the economically weak region lies within the preservation and revitalisation of historic towns.

Carla Cruz presented the Region North in Portugal in a competent way. Picture: Andrea Tackner

To Mediate Cultural Heritage as a Strength.

The head of the HISTCAPE-project partner Rhineland-Palatinate, Ingeborg Hoffstadt, was especially delighted in her opening speech to be able to welcome guests from 17 different countries: from Austria, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, the UK, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Turkey, Croatia, Rumania, Malta and Germany.

Many of the people from Rhineland-Palatinate, but also the international guests took the chance, to inform themselves during the international conference and also within the framework of the public lecture of Max Dudler about the INTRREG IVC- PROJEKT HISTCAPE.

Lelde Gavare (picture left) and Anita Savoni (in the front) during the OPEN CONFERENCE in Western Macedonia, Greece.

Vidzeme is the biggest region in Latvia in terms of territory and the smallest one in terms of inhabitants. The Vidzeme Planning Region is a legal public body under the control of the Ministry of the Environment and Regional Development of Latvia. Since 2009 Vidzeme Planning Region is providing a consultancy service to cultural heritage specialists working in the municipalities and compiles information about the cultural products and assets in the region.

The Vidzeme Planning Region's mission is to provide political support for regional development.

Lelde Gavare is working in several EU- Projects. She is – like Viktoria Bubukin (Estonia) und Sonata Dumbliauskiené (Lithuania) – an example for the young committed generation of the Baltic States.Lelde Gavare presented her home region from the heart in Koblenz.Picture: I.C. Hoffstadt

We Need Passion for the Subject.

The Conference was opened with an approx. seven minute-long film about the UNESCO-World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley, which showed in a magnificent way the harmonious interaction of cultural landscapes and historical towns along the River Rhine. The Association (Zweckverband) UNESCO-World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley has made the film available. In the first instance Ingeborg Christine Hoffstadt referred to the Film in her opening speech, â€œMaybe you were wondering why we showed you this image film about the Upper Middle Rhine Valley (link to the film: www.welterbe-oberes-mittelrheintal.de), but no statistics, that make the problems visible, that this conference is dealing with. There are several reasons for that: The film showed us the beauty and strengths of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. It is an important task of HISTCAPE to consider cultural heritage as strength. I may even say: it is the central task.” Hoffstadt explained.

Another reason is: the film shows us what is at risk: It is all about the preservation of cultural substance, that people want to live in historical quarters today and tomorrow and that they want to find a qualified working place there. It is furthermore all about presenting the rural areas in an attractive way to tourists from home and abroad. This is important, because tourism and especially cultural tourism are relevant economic factors all over Europe.” Hoffstadt explained further: If one looks at the Upper Middle Rhine Valley more closely – a region that has developed for centuries into a historical important and economically prosperous area – will not miss what is really at stake in these remote areas: It is about the effects that result from an enormous changing process that is characterized by demographic change, migration of the younger population into the cities and a substantial structural change. Thus it is also especially about working and living in rural areas.”

“It is crucial”, Hoffstadt said further on, “to develop cultural heritage with a holistic approach: We need passion for the subject. Thus we need Emotions.”

Ingeborg C. Hoffstadt during her opening speech at the International HISTCAPE Conference in Koblenz; Fortress Ehrenbreitstein. Picture: U. Pfeuffer, GDKE Rheinland-Pfalz

“Becoming more sensitive towards the cultural diversity of European regions and thereby also towards the own Homeland, that is what I call living in the House of Europe. For that reason alone, HISTCAPE would have been worthwhile. But we have the chance to learn a lot more from and with each other and to turn that into good account for all of us.” emphasized Ingeborg Christine Hoffstadt in her opening speech.

Europe – A Common Heritage.

Heritage Europe was formed as The European Association of Historic Towns and Regions (EAHTR) by the Council of Europe in October 1999 as part of the initiative “Europe – A Common Heritage”. Heritage Europe now represents through its range of membership categories over 1000 historic and heritage towns, cities and regions in 30 European countries.

HISTCAPE Kick-off Meeting 2012 in Bilbao (Spain): Brian Smith (6. from right) is an experienced European networker and was there from the start.

Brian Smith presented the EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION Historic Towns and Regions (UK) in Koblenz and was bringing the international chair members with him to the international EU- HISTCAPE conference.

The Readability of History is not a Value on its own.

Max Dudler, who brought within the framework of an evening event the international EU-HISTCAPE conference to a close, spoke in front of a big audience when he held the lecture with the title “Further Construction”. In advance he explained his topic like this: „It is an odd thing with these monuments. On the one hand a historic monument visualizes the gap between the past and the present day but on the other hand it also reminds us of our duty to deal with our history. That is why the task and topic “Construction in existing buildings” leads me to search for a kind of architecture that continues history without reconstructing or restoring it. This quest of searching for something new, which would not be possible or thinkable without the old, is what I call “Further Construction“.”

Many Listeners, among them a large number of architects from the region, followed the vivid and convincing lecture of Max Dudler, which he held at the end of the International HISTCAPE- Conference. The lecture held the title “Further Construction”.Picture: Office Dudler

Picture: I. C. Hoffstadt

History as Topic of the Architecture Debate

“I think that most of the architects of our time belong to the generation ‘Further Construction’” Max Dudler explained.” In contrast to the generation ‘tabula rasa’ we cannot imagine ourselves intervening with the grown substance without bearing history in mind.”

He said that for architecture this point of view on construction constitutes a fundamental change. “Oswald Mathias Ungers, who was my first mentor when I started as a young architect, introduced – at least in Germany – history again as topic of the architecture debate.” Dudler said: “But even Ungers made room for his ideal projects. In this sense he is standing on the threshold of a new era. A new era which was and is still characterized by monument protection”

Building research and its methods have become some kind of lead discipline to most architects. And as a result of this perspective one also has to discuss problems of shaping. Like for example the topic ‘Joint or Merge? Thus: Shall the new construction be contrasting or shall it be merged to the old? And what about the question of authenticity?

According to him, these are all relevant questions. But they aren’t his priority. “The readability of history is not a value of its own”, stated the multiple awarded architect.

“Further Construction” is not only a question of details to him, but a fundamental attitude. You could also ask differently: If every architect would do “Further Construction”, how could you tell a difference? For our part he wants to give an explanation.

“Because we defined for this topic a few attitudes, which I would like to explain to you” Dudler said further on: “In a first instance we see the history of architecture as continuity. From this point of view the new is developed by transforming, thus transferring and updating concepts: “We want to create something new, which would not be possible or thinkable without the old. At the same time – and this is something the monument teaches you – we have to recognize that we are separated from the past.”

So to create a connection to history, we need to change our perspective. That is why we regard “Further Construction” as an urban-planning problem. And of course the other way around the urban planning as a problem for “Further Construction”. One could also say: Where a building researcher is looking with a loupe, we are operating with binoculars.

The simplicity which results from this change of perspective is – so he thinks – what makes our architecture special.

Max Dudler showed his way of thinking by showing impressive pictures of selected projects.

Communication is the key.

The international EU-HISTCAPE conference, the public lecture and the HISTCAPE- Meeting in the UNESCO-World Heritage Site have shown us, Ingeborg Christine Hoffstadt stated, that the topic preservation of cultural heritage in rural areas was picked up at the right time.

She said that, it is especially important, to raise an awareness by communicating on a broad scale. HISTCAPE has a big chance to reach stakeholders on all levels. All of the speakers of the international conference, she said, had underlined that communication is the key to success. “We cannot knock on doors without preparation and with a patent remedy at hand, we rather have to till the field in advance” Ingeborg Christine Hoffstadt stated. The regional conferences in Rhineland- Palatinate, which shall disseminate the topic in 2013/2014 are serving especially this goal. We need communication, participation and networks at a high level, to strengthen the topic preservation of cultural heritage and bring it into public and into media.

Big response to the topics of HISTCAPE. Picture: I. C. Hoffstadt

The big response to the Conference made clear that HISTCAPE hit the nerve of time. The broad communication of the project is more than half of the project goal, Hoffstadt affirmed at the end of the conference. The participation of Europe-wide highly reknown speakers is success and approval to the INTERREG IVC Project and the European Commission at the same time.

“We were able to establish ourselves within the European community” Hoffstadt stated. Now people speak about the project. This has positive effects on the activities of all HISTCAPE- Partners.

The content of the conference has had an enormously important impact. HISTCAPE is now part of the European Communication concerning questions of the preservation of cultural heritage. It is to be hoped and wished for, that even after the end of the project in 2014, the ignited flame will keep on burning. “We may not stand still in our efforts. I really hope, that the EU – also after 2014 – is going to promote the fundament that has been laid out by HISTCAPE during the project”, so the conclusion of Ingeborg Christine Hoffstadt.

Who would deny, that Cultural Heritage Means Home?

Region Marche in Italy. Picture: Regional Administration Marche

Region Alytus in Lithuania. Picture: Municipal Administration Alytus

Steiermark in Austria. Picture: Landentwicklung Steiermark

Region Western Macedonia in Greece. Foto: Administration Western Macedonia

Castle ruin in Vidzeme Region, Latvia. Picture: Administration Vidzeme

Castilla y Leon, Spain. Picture: Administration Castilla y Leon

Windmills on the Island of Saaremaa, Estonia. Picture: regional administration Saaremaa

Burg Gutenfels with a view on the Zollburg Pfalzgrafenstein, Rhineland-Palatinate. Picture: Directorate General Cultural Heritage

Portugal, Region North. Picture: Directorate General North Portugal

Norwich in Great Britain. Picture: Cultural Heritage Europe

All speeches and Power-Points can be downloaded on: www.gdke-rlp.de/HISTCAPE.

This document was written and created by: Ingeborg Christine Hoffstadt
HISTCAPE- Head of Projectpartner Rheinland-Pfalz
Generaldirektion Kulturelles Erbe Rheinland-Pfalz
Leiterin Zentrale Verwaltung und Marketing
Sprecherin Fachgruppe Öffentlichkeitsarbeit und Kommunikation in der AG Deutsche Schlösserverwaltungen
Erthaler Hof/Schillerstraße 44
55116 Mainz
Phone: +49 (0)6131 2016-113
Mobil: +49 (0)1522 8848320

The English version was written by Natalie Eimertenbrink (same adress). Telefon: +49 (0)6131 – 2016 107