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Within just a few years the German Foundation for Monument Protection has grown into the largest private historical-preservation initiative in Germany. The German Foundation for Monument Protection has thus set itself two goals: to preserve endangered cultural monuments and promote all aspects of monument protection. We hope to animate as many citizens as possible to become involved in this task. Since its foundation in 1985 the German Foundation for Monument Protection has helped to preserve over 3,000 monuments nationwide, investing 390 million Euros.
Contributions have been raised from more than 180,000 private sponsors and companies, fine allocations and proceeds from the GlücksSpirale lottery. Our patron is the Federal President, Horst Köhler.The Foundation becomes active where state funds are either not available or are proving insufficient. In times when public budgets continue to shrink, this goal is more than ever a challenge for all. The Foundation’s funds benefit an array of historical monuments: burgher houses, village, town and cloister churches, industrial monuments, palaces, castles and manor houses, parks, town walls and archaeological excavations.
To encourage young people to become more involved with our cultural heritage is of particular concern to the Foundation. In 2002 for example we initiated the schools project “denkmal aktiv * Kulturerbe macht Schule” (Cultural Heritage in Young Hands). Over a thousand pupils belong to the nationwide network. During the school year they work on and study cultural monuments on site, taking part in restoring and documenting the monument, and so getting to know monument protection first hand. The “Jugendbauhütte” projects (Youth Masonry Guilds) running in nine towns are also proving to be a successful model. Over the course of a year of voluntary civic service young adults gain insight into old
crafts and historical buildings. Practical activities introduce the participants to the basic know-how and skill demanded by protecting historical monuments and offers a platform for their future vocational
Another aspect of our mission is of no less importance: to raise public awareness for monument protection and the tasks this entails. In this vein the Foundation coordinates the nationwide European Heritage Day, held annually in September. This contribution to the European Heritage Days has meanwhile advanced to one the largest cultural events in Germany, highlighting 7,000 monument sites open to the public and attracting over four million.