Heritage Open Day to Focus on Use of Wood in Monuments, Historic Sites
Enlarge image A historic Fachwerk House in Oberursel (© Hermann Birkenfeld 2011) The theme for this year’s German Heritage Open Day on Sunday, September 9, part of a Council of Europe initiative that offers visitors the opportunity to visit buildings, monuments and sites which may not usually be accessible to the public, is wood and its use as a building material. This is the first time that a building material will be the core theme for the heritage day, according to the Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz (German Foundation for Monument Protection) in Bonn. Of the more than 7,500 historical sites that are to be opened to the public across Germany, more than half will center around the concept of the use of wood in construction.
Organizers in German states and towns are expecting large numbers of visitors. “No other initiative in Europe is attracting as much growing interest as the Heritage Open Day,” said Gerd Weiß, chairman of the Vereinigung der Landesdenkmalpfleger (Union of Regional Monument Conservationists), speaking to the news agency dapd. Last year 4.5 million people took the opportunity to visit monuments that would otherwise either be inaccessible or only partly accessible to the public.
Enlarge image Thuringian Farm House Window (© Ulrich Fischer, Stadt Rudolstadt) This year, visitors have the chance to gain an insight into the importance and variety of uses of wood, with a series of guided tours. Half-timbered buildings, utility objects and church interiors are among the things that will be on display. The Foundation for Monument Protection said there would also be a range of woodwork installations for visitors to view.
The Museum of Ancient Seafaring in the North Rhine-Westphalia capital of Mainz is exploring how archaeological findings of wood can be conserved. In Gießen, in the state of Hessen, visitors to the Schiffenberg cloister basilica can observe an original roof truss from 1142 – a real rarity in Germany.
Many other heritage sites that have less to do with wooden material – whether it be historical buildings or parkways – are also to open their doors to visitors. “The Heritage Open Day is always based on a particular theme, but all those responsible for historical sites are requested to open their doors,” said Weiß.
Enlarge image The historic townhall of Bremen (left) is open to visitiors. (© picture alliance / dpa) In Bremen for example, where the heritage day is to be opened by Minister of State Bernd Neumann, Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, guests can view the normally inaccessible Bremen cotton exchange or the former central post office.
The Luther Memorial Foundation in Saxony-Anhalt will invite guests to visit the house where the Protestant Reformation figure Martin Luther died, in the town of Eisleben. According to the foundation, guests will be granted a first glance at the refurbished house. The building will then be closed to the public to allow final preparatory work for a permanent exhibition to be carried out.
Enlarge image Martin Luther's house in Eisleben. (© DZT/Jochen Keute) According to Wolfgang Illert, managing director of the German Foundation for Monument Protection, it is above all else those events that provide information on works-in-progress, that are of particular interest to visitors. “We get the greatest interest when we guide guests around sites that are in construction”, said Illert to the news agency dapd. “People are simply interested in the construction process.”