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.
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.
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.