The site

Görlitz is the easternmost city in Germany, located in the region of Upper Lusatia and is the sixth largest city in the State of Saxony. When the borders were redrawn after Second World War, the much smaller eastern side of the city became part of Poland and was renamed Zgorzelec.

The so-called "Pearl of Lower Silesia" was spared destruction during Second World War, making it one of the most beautiful cities in Germany for art and history lovers, with some 4,000 carefully restored listed buildings. In Görlitz there are examples from every architectural style period since the Gothic in the 14th century up until the 20th century. Buildings from the Renaissance, the Baroque, Classicism and Historicism through Art Nouveau and the 1920s and 1930s to the present day can be found, creating a “walk-in handbook of architectural history experience” for those who visit it and know what to look for.

Another remarkable aspect of the city which draws the attention of experts of the field of heritage conservation are the exemplary repairs, conservation and restoration interventions that follow distinct guidelines depending on the period when the interventions took place.

This allows for a visual tracing of the changes in the concept of heritage conservation over time. The opportunity to view unrestored monuments, monuments currently undergoing conservation measures and restored heritage sites right next to each other is a special attraction for experts. Accordingly, the participants to the European Heritage Training Course of 2022 will find visual educational stimulants at every turn.

One of the most fascinating heritage sites found within the historic centre of the city is the Waidhaus (Woad House), named so based on the woad that was stored in this building in the 16th century. The house is the oldest secular building of Görlitz, and its origins can be traced back to the 12th century, when the building was part of a courtyard that served the territorial ruler and was probably managed by Bohemian servants. During its rich history it served various purposes and underwent numerous alterations.

In the latter years of this building’s long history, the Woad House served from 1991 onwards the as a Training Centre for Handicraft and Heritage Conservation. Due to a lack of funding and demand the courses stopped in 2016, despite being highlighted as an exemplary educational centre for the qualification of craftsmen for the preservation of Europe’s built heritage by the Council of Europe. Since 2018, the Centre for Handicraft and Heritage Conservation – the association that ran the Training Centre – and the German-Polish Foundation for Cultural Heritage and Heritage Conservation have been collaborating with the political representatives of the Free State of Saxony and the City of Görlitz to develop a concept and the necessary structures for a revival of the Training Centre.


The training course

Since its foundation in 1991 the Training Centre for Handicraft and Heritage Conservation aimed to establish itself as a respected institution for the preservation and transmission of practical handicraft skills and the associated theoretical knowledge. The Training Centre provided comprehensive skills in the field of conservation, renovation, restoration and reconstruction of built heritage to master craftsmen and journeymen, builders, planners, heritage-related institutions and public authorities as well as to interested lay people. 

The Woad House, the seat of the Training Centre is furnished with equipment and specialised spaces where workshops for carpenters, painters, cabinetmakers, stonemasons, plasterers and bricklayers can be held. A rich collection of historical work samples, materials and patterns, high quality tools, a laboratory, as well as the school's own library with about 10,000 titles, guarantee effective and vivid teaching.

With such an impressive ensemble of educational opportunities offered in this facility, the participants of the European Heritage Training Course will have an outstanding opportunity to be one of the first groups to take part in the revival of the Training Centre for Handicraft and Heritage Conservation during the lapse of two very intense weeks of learning.

The training course will provide in a combination of practical work and theoretical education an insight in a variety of topics focusing on woodwork on mobile objects and historic furniture, such as: inventory of mobile objects; furniture style studies; décor of historic fittings; materials and historic tools for woodwork; wood materials and veneers; glues, oils, waxes, lacquers and solvents organic and inorganic substances; wood and surface damages; rules and regulations for conservation of historical buildings, inventories and restoration concepts; restoration implementation; historic wood joints and solid wood constructions; staining of historic surfaces; historic polishes; repair and retouching of wooden surfaces.

The group will take part in practical activities, stimulating workshops and lectures led by highly skilled professionals who have been involved with the Training Centre.

The educational programme of the training course will be complemented by excursions to other heritage sites in Görlitz and the region, providing enriching background knowledge for the participants about the historical development of this remarkable city. At the same time, the participants will have a better understanding of the traditional techniques learned during the training course through the visual experience within the framework of special guided visits. These guided visits will familiarise them with how the crafts in woodwork and other techniques they learn during the training course have been used on the decoration of buildings’ interiors through the centuries in the historical city of Görlitz.


The training course will take place from November, 13th, to November, 25th, 2022, and is organised by European Heritage Volunteers in cooperation with the Centre for Handicraft and Heritage Conservation.


European Heritage Volunteers