Welcome

“An architectural masterpiece”: the Abbey of Corvey is now a World Cultural Heritage site

27.05.2015 - Article

On 26 May, the former abbey was presented with a UNESCO Certificate confirming its inscription in the World Heritage List.

Foreign Minister Steinmeier giving his speech in front of the former Abbey of Corvey
Foreign Minister Steinmeier giving his speech in front of the former Abbey of Corvey© Photothek/Trutschel

Following a decision reached by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in Doha, Qatar, the Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey in Höxter have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Minister of State Maria Böhmer presented the UNESCO Certificate to the owners on Monday, 26 May, at a ceremony that was also attended by Minister-President of Land North Rhine-Westphalia Hannelore Kraft. In his speech, Steinmeier emphasised that symbols of history such as Corvey are needed in order for us to define our place and get our bearings in the world today.

Foreign Minister Steinmeier hailed the Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey as “a genuine architectural masterpiece in the Frankish Empire” in an interview with the “Neue Westfälische” newspaper.

Presentation of the certificates to the owners Viktor, Duke of Ratibor and Prince of Corvey, and Ludger Eilebrecht, parish dean of the church congregation
Presentation of the certificates to the owners Viktor, Duke of Ratibor and Prince of Corvey, and Ludger Eilebrecht, parish dean of the church congregation© Photothek/Trutschel

Steinmeier himself hails from eastern Westphalia and became acquainted with the Abbey of Corvey while still at primary school. Together with Minister of State Böhmer, he presented the UNESCO Certificate confirming the abbey’s inscription in the World Heritage List on 26 May, thereby making Corvey Germany’s 39th World Heritage site.

Sites of cultural heritage as part of identity

In his speech, the Foreign Minister emphasised that we live in an age in which pictures of the impending destruction of World Heritage sites reach us almost daily – such as from Palmyra in Syria. It is at times like these, Steinmeier said, that the importance of preserving culture is brought home to us ever more strongly. He continued:

Like Palmyra the Abbey of Corvey is one of those sites where we are made aware of where we come from, what has gone before us, and where the decisive developments of humanity that have become part of our identity have taken place.
The UNESCO plaque now adorns the Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey
The UNESCO plaque now adorns the Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey© Photothek/Trutschel

Symbols of history such as these, Steinmeier added, are needed in order for us to define our place and get our bearings in the world today. The Foreign Minister thanked “those who, over many years and with unceasing passion, patience, strong nerves and great persistence, advocated, worked and argued for the site to be recognised”.

Today, he said, all of Germany – and especially eastern Westphalia – can rightfully be proud of the recognition of the Westwork and the Civitas Corvey as a World Cultural Heritage site.

Find out more

Enhancing protection for cultural property: article by Minister of State Maria Böhmer in “Die Welt” newspaper (26 May)

Related content

Keywords

Top of page