Twenty years of Federal Foreign Office support for the preservation of the Angkor temple complex

Working on a relief

Working on a relief, © Hans Leisen

12.12.2017 - Press release

The largest temple complex in the world from the period of the Great Khmer Empire has been a World Cultural Heritage site for 25 years. This significant piece of humanity’s cultural heritage is under threat from weather damage. Germany has been supporting efforts to preserve the temple complex in Angkor for 20 years, providing 4 million euros to date through conservation measures by TH Köln/University of Applied Sciences.
Maria Böhmer, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement:

With this, the Cultural Preservation Programme’s most comprehensive and longest running project, the Federal Foreign Office, in cooperation with its Cambodian partners, is helping to preserve one of the most important World Cultural Heritage sites, the Angkor temple complex in Cambodia.

Through its worldwide involvement in the protection and maintenance of significant cultural heritage sites, Germany is making a crucial contribution to preserving cultural identities, promoting knowledge transfer and fostering intercultural dialogue.

Background information:

Angkor Wat is a prominent symbol of Cambodia’s cultural identity, depicted on the Cambodian national flag and comprising one of the country’s most important attractions.
Valuable reliefs as well as sandstone, tile and stucco decorations in the complex are under threat from weather damage. Since 1997, German conservation experts Professor Hans Leisen and Dr Esther von Plehwe-Leisen from TH Köln/University of Applied Sciences, in cooperation with the Cambodian heritage protection authority Apsara, have been taking steps to document and investigate the weather damage as well as conducting conservation work based on scientific methods on the temples. Measures to conserve sandstone, tile and stucco reliefs are being undertaken by local restoration workers. To this end, the two German experts are training Cambodian staff in conservation techniques and scientific working methods.
Through its Cultural Preservation Programme, the Federal Foreign Office has supported some 2800 projects in 144 countries since 1981. These include work to preserve historical cultural property as well as German cultural heritage abroad. Experts, local residents and partners are involved in implementation and, where possible, trained in the fields of conservation, restoration and digitalisation.
Germany’s 20-year engagement is to be acknowledged during the annual meeting of the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) in Angkor on 13 and 14 December 2017 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between TH Köln/University of Applied Sciences and the Cambodian heritage protection authority Apsara, and with a symposium on the German Apsara Conservation Project (GACP) established by the two experts Professor Leisen and Dr von Plehwe-Leisen on 15 December.
More information is available at www.diplo.de  as well as through the social media channels of the Federal Foreign Office.

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