European Heritage Volunteers Save Weimar’s History
Young people from all over the world joined renovation effortsAugust 18th, 2016
The upkeep and renovation project of the building ensembles from the Classic period of the city of Weimar, in Thuringia, Germany. It was developed by the “European Heritage Volunteers” initiative under the sponsorship of the UNESCO World Heritage Volunteer program. It took place between the past 30th of July and the 13th of August, with participating young volunteers from fourteen different countries.
The complex of Classical Weimar has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1998, and it comprises a collection of houses, palaces, parks and gardens projected and built in the period from the late 18th to the early 19th century. At that time, the city experimented a cultural flourishment, attracting cultural creation like that of renowned German literary names Goethe and Schiller which resulted in the Weimar Classicism cultural movement.
Therefore, the present project’s main activities are the maintenance and conservation of those architectural and natural monuments that witnessed this cultural period. In addition, the task of educating the public about significance of the historical sites, which reflects the humanist Romantic and Enlightenment ideas of their inhabitants and creators is also paramount. These have been successfully carried out ever since the project’s instauration in 2012.
This year, volunteers stemming from different corners of the world such as Serbia, Spain, Germany, France, Bulgaria, Belgium and China have become a part of this Heritage awakening and discovery endeavour. They developed their social engagement and teamwork skills within the revitalisation activities framework of four of the total twelve buildings or ensembles that are part of the Weimar site.
These are: the Park on the Ilm with the Roman House; the Belvedere Castle and the Park with Orangery, the Ettersburg Castle and Park, and the Tiefurt Castle and Park. Through the uncovering and restoring of the abandoned and the 19th century paths that disappeared, among other tasks, the volunteers gained, but also raised awareness about the importance of the preservation of the original historical appearance of the site.
Also to this aim, an exhibition and presentation were organized for the volunteers to share and explain their initiative to the local community in addition to their acquired in-depth understanding about the Classical Weimar site. As a result, a cultural diplomatic link was created, as the local community rediscovered their own cultural heritage, while the young people, who hands-on worked on its preservation for two weeks, could share their own cultural perspective on it.
As important as this link is, it is even more significant than the one that will make these young volunteers identify with the importance and beauty of the cultural heritage they were active part. Projects like World Heritage Volunteers create a generalized and intercultural sense of initiative to actively preserve the common heritage that the world shares through the direct involvement with and within it.
Partner organizations to the European Heritage Volunteers project were the Weimar Classic Foundation, the Weimar-Jena Academy and the Thuringian Green League.