UNESCO: Dombauhütten designated as Intangible Cultural Heritage

On Thursday, 17 December, shortly after 4 p.m., the time had come: the intergovernmental committee of UNESCO decided to include the Bauhütten in its "Register of Good Practices for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage".

Former cathedral master builder Jürgen Prigl and the staff of the Bauhütte at St. Maria zur Wiese followed the decision-making in Paris via livestream in the workshop. Birgitta Ringbeck, Ministerial Councillor at the Federal Foreign Office and responsible for the World Heritage Coordination Office, did not miss the opportunity to witness the decision on site. Professor Eva-Maria Seng visited us already in the morning and was then the first to congratulate us by telephone. Birgitta Ringbeck and Professor Seng played an important role in UNESCO's decision. From the beginning, they supported and promoted the initiatives of the Dombauhütte at St. Maria zur Wiese leading to the nomination and finally to the award. The entry in the UNESCO list of "Best Practice Examples" is a high distinction for us and our colleagues from the European Bauhütten. This mentionhas an outstanding significance which is documented by the abundant press, radio and television coverage.

In eager anticipation on the morning of UNESCO's decision: The two cathedral builders at St. Maria zur Wiese, Jürgen Prigl and Gunther Rohrberg with Professor Eva-Maria Seng (4th from left) in the circle of employees of the Dombauhütte, Cathedral Builders' Association and District Church Office.

Live via stream: Birgitta Ringbeck with Jürgen Prigl and the colleagues of the Westphalian Dombauhütte.

The decision has been made and the joy is great: Jürgen Prigl in an interview with WDR, which accompanied the decision live.

Intangible Cultural Heritage

The activities for the entry of the Bauhütten as intangible cultural heritage in the international list of the UNESCO are entering a new round – locally and across Europe:

On October 29, 2020, the Westphalian Dombauhütte took part in the conference of the Reflection Group “EU and Cultural Heritage”. The "Reflection Group" is an international group of experts from the Member States of the European Union and Norway, which mediates the cultural heritage as a resource for European representation. This year's meeting of the Reflection Group took place from October 28th to 30th, 2020 as an online conference governed by the conditions of the corona pandemic. It was held during the German EU Council Presidency by the representative of the federal states in the Reflection Group, Professor Dr. Eva-Maria Seng (University of Paderborn) in partnership with the Conference of Ministers of Education and the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The Westphalian Dombauhütte participated with joy under cathedral master builder a. D. and curator Jürgen Prigl at the conference in order to present the Bauhütte at St. Maria zur Wiese as a concrete place where the intangible cultural heritage becomes tangible. Our contribution with a commented presentation and film met with a keen response. Above all, we were pleased with the recognition for the diverse supporting initiatives and projects that started here from Soest.

Now, in December of this year, we expect the entry in the international list of UNESCO, together with all the active members and colleagues from the construction works in Europe. Together we hope that the international community will recognize the unique cultural achievements of the Bauhütten.

Westphalian Dombauhütte at St. Maria zur Wiese in Soest has been an official Intangible Cultural Heritage Site since 2019

Since 1978, UNESCO has listed objects as World Heritage Sites. An agreement came into force in 2006 for the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which should not be confused with this. At the beginning of 2109, the German UNESCO Commission registered constructions workshops (German "Bauhüttenwesen") as such as an Intangible Cultural Heritage on a national level in accordance with corresponding applications. Thus the construction workshops registered as members in the Dombaumeistervereinigung (Cathedral Master Builder Association) increased as a cohesive group in that organization.

The Federal Republic of Germany did not accede to the Agreement on Intangible Cultural Heritage until 2013, Austria in 2009 and Switzerland in 2008. In the same year, the first ambitious activities took place already, as documented by the accompanying press announcements. Our cathedral master builder's statement is from 2019.

Press Articles

Article in Westfalenpost, 1.11.2008

Article in Soester Anzeiger, 1.11.2008

Article in Naturstein 12/08

Article in Soester Anzeiger 17.12.2020

Article in Soester Anzeiger 18.12.2020

Article in Dolomiten 23.12.2020

Article in "Die Glocke" 05.01.2021