World Heritage Mathildenhöhe is a “mandate and obligation for the future”

Darmstadt can now advertise with a UNESCO World Heritage site. The UN organization for education, science, culture and communication (Unesco) put the Mathildenhöhe artists’ colony on the coveted list on Saturday. The responsible Unesco committee made the decisions on Saturday at its 44th meeting in the Chinese city of Fuzhou. Only cultural and natural sites of outstanding universal value are designated as world heritage. Previously, Baden-Baden, Bad Ems and Bad Kissingen had been recognized among the “Great Baths of Europe”.

“This is a great day for Darmstadt,” said Mayor Jochen Partsch (The Greens). “Over the decades, this place has been a place where many Darmstadters have come together and exchanged ideas. And the Mathildenhöhe is just a beautiful place. There are thousands of people who enjoy the beauty and fascination of this place. ”He also quoted Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig, the initiator of Mathildenhöhe:“ I am in awe of the old and have the courage to dare to try something new. ”Partsch described the award as a“ mission and commitment to the future ”. “We can be proud in all humility.”

“Especially in these difficult times, when we are worried that society will fall apart and the crises, the question arises: How can we live well together,” said the Hessian Science and Culture Minister Angela Dorn (Die Grünen). “The Mathildenhöhe was created in a similar situation of upheaval. The Mathildenhöhe also had its history: up on the heights, somewhat aloof. There was criticism. But it is an inspiration, how we see the holistic with all difficulties. The Mathildenhöhe is unique, not only in Germany, but internationally, ”said Minister of Culture Angela Dorn (Greens) on Saturday. The city of Darmstadt is richer by a great treasure.

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The Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt from the turn of the 20th century consists of the wedding tower, a Russian chapel, buildings, park and sculptures. The artist colony is considered to be the intersection of modern architecture – not just an Art Nouveau ensemble, but a step towards the Bauhaus. Peter Behrens was one of the first artists to later teach the Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius. The intention to build the colony at the end of the 19th century was by no means just of a cultural, but of tangible economic nature.

Due to a lack of natural resources, the Hessian Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig saw an economic upswing only guaranteed by more quality in the factories and brought artists of all stripes to Darmstadt. The World Heritage Committee will meet online and on site until July 31st. It is made up of 21 elected signatory states to the World Heritage Convention. As a rule, it decides annually on the inscription of new cultural and natural sites in the World Heritage List and deals with the condition of the inscribed sites. The conference was postponed last year because of the pandemic.

“Not a museum place”

Mayor Partsch also emphasized the importance for the present. The Mathildenhöhe is a meeting place and, in addition to the Mathildenhöhe Institute, houses four other important cultural institutions. “It is a place that is our mission and obligation. The Mathildenhöhe is not a museum, it is a place of modernity and new beginnings and the conviction of many people that they can continue to develop something beautiful and good and worth preserving.

The President of the German Unesco Commission, Maria Böhmer, welcomed the award of the Mathildenhöhe artists’ colony in Darmstadt as a world heritage site. “The Mathildenhöhe is an outstanding example of visionary design art worldwide,” said Böhmer on Saturday after the decision of the responsible committee of the UN organization for education, science, culture and communication (Unesco).

View of the Russian Chapel, the exhibition building and the wedding tower on Mathildenhöhe (from right).

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World heritage

The artist colony on the Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt

“Artists and architects have done pioneering work here at the interface between Art Nouveau and new building,” said Böhmer. “I am pleased that Unesco has included the former artists’ colony in the circle of the most important cultural monuments in the world.” For 14 years, from 1901 to 1914, Mathildenhöhe was one of the most important centers of modern art and architecture in Europe and the world. During this time, four international exhibitions contributed to leading architecture and design into a new era.

Seventh World Heritage in Hesse

Hessen now has a total of seven World Heritage Sites: Near Darmstadt, the Lorsch Abbey and the Messel Pit have already been selected, the Upper Germanic-Raetian Limes, the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe and the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park and the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, of which Hesse is a small part of the border , complete the list.

There are more than 1,100 cultural and natural sites in 167 countries on the World Heritage List. 51 of them are considered threatened. Germany now has 48 world heritage sites. The agenda includes a total of five applications with German participation: including the Danube Limes on Sunday as part of the Roman border. On Tuesday it will also be about the Jewish cultural heritage in Mainz, Speyer and Worms and the Lower Germanic Limes.


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