Since cultural landscapes are very diverse and include a lot of different aspects also projects providing knowledge about the „Maintenance of Cultural Landscapes” are thematically quite diverse.
European Heritage Volunteers organises since two decades projects dealing with one or the other aspect of cultural landscapes – partly linked to the cultural aspects of cultural landscapes as for example the documentation of historical buildings or small architecture typical for a specific landscape, partly linked to the natural environment of cultural heritage sites as historical parks or gardens, partly linked to other environmental topics of cultural landscapes as the maintenance of dry grass meadows or – in other regions – of marsh areas.
It is natural that these projects can usually picture a cultural landscape only in a limited scale. That’s why European Heritage Volunteers aimed to design projects which may illustrate the diversity of a cultural landscape and illustrate – both during the hands-on part and the educational part – different aspects of the maintenance of a heritage site.
The cultural landscape Upper Middle Rhine Valley is an ideal example for this approach: The Upper Middle Rhine Valley is an outstanding organic cultural landscape, the present-day character of which is determined both by its geomorphologic and geological setting and by the human interventions, such as settlements, transport infrastructure, and land use, that it has undergone over two thousand years. The cultural landscape includes a rich diversity of both cultural and environmental aspects and enables so a big variety of interventions by volunteering activities.
In 2015, European Heritage Volunteers had organised the hands-on part of the World Heritage Young Experts Forum at the cultural landscape Upper Middle Rhine Valley. More information including detailed descriptions of the particular workshops you can find here.
As a result of the fruitful experiences of the World Heritage Young Experts Forum European Heritage Volunteers decided to organise regularly volunteering projects at the Upper Middle Rhine Valley.
Also in 2017 a project “Maintenance of a Cultural Landscape” will take place at Upper Middle Rhine Valley, Rhineland-Palatinate.
The project will focus on the diversity of the cultural landscape Upper Middle Rhine Valley and illustrate – both during the hands-on part and the educational part – different aspects of the maintenance of the World Heritage site.
The conservation of the area is partly in a bad state because of the fact that a lot of the former vineyards are out of use, that the maintenance both of the dry stone walls and the biotopes is physically demanding and that the knowledge about traditional techniques is disappearing. Under the professional guidance of experienced masons the volunteers will restore parts of the historical dry stone wall system between the former vineyards.
Another focus will lay on the maintenance of biotopes by cutting long-grass meadows at scopes and in abandoned vineyards with brush cutters. Beside that the traditional way to cut grasses with scythes will be demonstrated. Furthermore, the participants will top trees and cultivate the tree pits at some of the countless meadows with scattered fruit trees which are typical for the region. Finally, during one day the volunteers will carry out maintenance works in a historical landscape garden.
During all these hands-on works the volunteers will have the possibility to get to know well different places of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, to gain practical skills and to learn about biodiversity and the endangered fauna and flora. The study part will give the theoretical background and will bring the project into a wider public. It will include meetings with the press and a presentation held by the participants about World Heritage sites of their home countries.
As previous year, the project will be carried out in the frame of the UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers initiative.
The project will take place from August, 27th, to September, 9th, 2017.
The project is organised by European Heritage Volunteers, in cooperation with Zweckverband Oberes Mittelrheintal (Association Upper Middle Rhine Valley).