EN Industrial and Engineering Heritage Committee met in Rhineland-Pfalz and visited sites in the Koblenz area, Germany

On 7-9 July 2023, Europa Nostra’s Industrial and Engineering Heritage Committee (IEHC) had its bi-annual meeting in Rhineland-Pfalz and visited industrial heritage sites in the Koblenz area, Germany. On this occasion, the Committee’s members, some accompanied by their wives, paid a courtesy visit to Europa Nostra’s former Vice-President Alexander Fürst zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn and his wife Fürstin Gabriela in their palatial home in Bendorf-Sayn.

Dieter Soyez, Gabriela and Alexander Fürst zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, Pierre Laconte, Rienko Wilton, Piotr Gerber, Grazyna Gerber, Hildebrand and Birgitt de Boer. Photo: Europa Nostra


The Committee’s study-tour consisted of visits to the Sayner Hütte (Royal Prussian Foundry, once Germany’s largest) of 1830, Koblenz’ famous open-air Railway Museum, the Roman Mine Meurin in Kretz (Europa Nostra Diploma Winner in 2003), the black-basalt Lava-Dome Mine and the Hein’s Watermill in Sayn.

Nine members of the Committee attended – in person or by Zoom – the 26th meeting in Sayn. Apart from the customary business, special attention was given to expanded collaboration with like-minded institutions such as the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH), the International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage (TICCIH) and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). Raising IEHC’s profile and the positive reaction from Europa Nostra’s Board and other Europa Nostra’s bodies was welcomed. The need for continuation of the Committee’s indirect involvement in the 7 Most Endangered Programme – via its Advisory Panel – and in the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards – via the Awards’ Juries – was stressed once more.

Sayner Hütte (Royal Prussian Foundry), Main Hall. Photo: Pierre Laconte


On the ongoing fruitful cooperation between the IEHC and the Austrian Danube University Krems (DUK) in the field of industrial heritage-related academic publications, it was worth noting that the editing process of the book “Europe, the First Industrial Continent” – badly delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic – has now been taken by the Editorial Team consisting of Hildebrand de Boer, Christian Hanus, Paul Smith and Rienko Wilton, firmly by hand.

The visit to the palatial home of the Sayn-family in Bendorf-Sayn was a unique experience: one could say that the Sayn-family, whose roots go back to the 9th century, literarily live in their own history. The hosts personally showed us around in their palace/museum and (butterfly) gardens. It was the first time that a group of Europa Nostra was extended such personal hospitality. On this occasion a copy of the reprinted edition of the book “Industrial and Engineering Heritage in Europe”, signed by IEHC members, was presented to our hosts in Sayn.

The IEHC will meet again in November in Katowice, Poland, and thereafter in the Spring of 2024, most probably in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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