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The Rural Culture Heritage Database


Since 2000 the Gesellschaft für Agrargeschichte e. V. (GfA) - the German Rural History Society - has intensified its involvement with the topic of rural culture.

At the suggestion of the chairman of the German Rural History Society (GfA), Dr. Dietrich Rieger, and Dr. Klaus Hermann, director of the German Museum of Agriculture in Hohenheim, Prof. Helmut Ottenjann was invited to speak before the assembled members of the society in July of 2000. The lecture, entitled 'Registering, Recording, Developing, and Preserving Rural Culture in Regional Germany, was later published in the Zeitschrift für Agrargeschichte und Agrarsoziologie (Journal for Rural History and Rural Sociology) Issue 1/2001, pg.1-12. In his paper, Ottenjann makes an impassioned plea to take vigorous measures in order to save and preserve a rural culture in Germany that is already partially in decay.

Thus the "Rural Culture Heritage Initiative" was created as a project under the auspices of the German Rural History Society. Dr. Rieger, who up until the end of 2003 was the chief executive officer of the Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft (DLG) - the German Association for Agriculture -has outlined four major tasks for the initiative:

  1. to establish an overview of the existing body of objects and monuments
  2. to aid communication between all the involved parties within the initiative
  3. with professional expertise, to identify the specific problems of particular significance
  4. to inform and interest the public of the impressive and multifaceted nature of rural culture.

The shared basis for the aforementioned is The Rural Culture Heritage Data Bank, that will include all institutions and individuals in Germany concerned with rural cultural heritage. These may be museums, museum villages, archives, libraries, research institutes, local heritage and history societies, landscape preservation societies, administrations of historic sites, rural communities and cultural regions, curators and restaurators of historic monuments as well as private collectors.

The initiative is supported by generous benefactors. Dr. Andreas Dornheim, head of the Institut für Kultur-, Unternehmens - und Sozialgeschichte (ifkus) - the Institute for Cultural, Corporate and Social History in Bamberg, is in charge of developing and sustaining the data bank. Ifkus is effectively supported by many volunteer specialists, regional advisors and special area consultants. This data bank, which is still being developed, will eventually include all of the guardians of rural culture heritage. At present, 7686 organisations have been registered and recorded.

Porsche-Diesel (Bj. 1959), Deutsches Landwirtschaftsmuseum H.

The development of the data bank, however, is only a first step. Since the fall of 2004, the Wissenschaftlicher Rat - an advisory board consisting of eminent scholars from universities and other research institutions as well as other specialists such as leading museum experts have been very active. This Advisory Council as expertise committee acts on the behalf of the initiative as a kind of "fire brigade and conscience". To put it more concretely, it sensitizes the public as well as the involved institutions and professionals for the problems of preserving a rural cultural heritage. It will develop suggestions for the inauguration of research projects and argue for more adequate research concepts and refocused concentrations of research. It will to draw attention especially to critical examples of the decay and dilapidation of historic monuments of rural cultural heritage. An annual prize, awarded in special recognition of outstanding engagement for the preservation of the rural culture heritage is being considered as well.

The Rural Culture Heritage Initiative applies a very broad concept of rural culture encompassing altogether 30 subject areas. For more detailed information please contact one of the contact addresses listed below.

Gerd Sonnleitner, the President of the Deutscher Bauernverband (the Central German Farmer's Organization), Manfred Nüssel the President of the Deutsche Raiffeisenverband (the Central Farmer's Co-operative Financial Organization) and Philipp Freiherr von dem Bussche President of the Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft in 2004 have generously agreed to act as patrons of The Initiative for Rural Culture Heritage.

[ Benefactors | Account for Donations | Guardians of Rural Culture Heritage | The Advisory Council | Society for Rural History e. V. | Journal for Rural History and Rural Sociology | Institute for Cutural, Corporate and Social History (ifkus) ]



   [Account for Donations]

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gestartet am 27.11.2004