The projects of Open Houses are based on sustainable principles. Therefore, the activities at Lohra Castle combine aspects of cultural heritage preservation and aspects of natural heritage preservation. The participants of the Workcamps carry out works in the green areas and the forests around the castle, restoration work and collaboration in renovation works.
Kost og logi
All costs linked to the project are covered, including food, accommodation, insurance and transportation during the stay at the project. Travel costs to and from the camp place are not covered. Participants should organise their journey to and from the project place by themselves and on their own expenses. Furthermore, participants should bring their own pocket money.
In most of Open Houses' camps the volunteers will live at the same places they also work on, what means that they live more or less on a building site. In most of the Heritage Volunteers Projects the accommodation is located in a certain distance to the working site. The accommodation is usually very simple; there are shared rooms with simple beds or mattresses at most of the places. Shower, toilet and kitchen are at the place, but sometimes not in the same building. The equipment is simple but fair. After work, when everybody wants to take a shower, there can be a limit of hot water.
The meals will be prepared together as they are part of the community life, what means that every participant will be responsible for the meal at least once during its stay. So it would be very nice if the participants could bring typical recipes from home in order to introduce each other to the preparation of food from all over the world.
Beliggenhed og fritid
Lohra Castle is situated in the heart of Germany in Northern Thuringia. The castle, which is surrounded by a scenic hilly landscape, is located on the edge of a nature reserve area. Being one of the largest castles in Thuringia, the history of the castle Lohra begins in the Middle Age. The castle is more than 1,000 years old. Today, it includes twenty buildings from different times: medieval fortifications, remnants of a tower from the 11th century, a Romanesque chapel, a manor house from the Renaissance period as well as stables and granaries from the 19th and the early 20th centuries. The ensemble is situated in the centre of a beautiful forest. For years Lohra Castle was vacant. In the 1990s Open Houses started to restore the castle and to revive it by cultural activities. Since that time, a large number of Workcamps, Building Weeks, exhibitions, concerts and other activities with international participants took place in the castle.
Open Houses – rooms open for those who come along.
Open Houses – not empty buildings, but places with visible and invisible traces of history, places which have grown and decayed over the centuries, places which were shaped by those people who lived there long ago as well those who left only yesterday – places which will be shaped by those who live there or who come as a guest.
Open Houses – rooms which want to be filled with dreams and ideas, with meetings and exchange, by people of different backgrounds, different cultures, different generations and different ideas and visions.
The history of Open Houses Network dates back to the mid-1980s, when a group of young people started to restore village churches in East Germany in voluntary work to protect them from decay. The engagement for these buildings united people who enjoyed the freedom these activities provided and who filled these rooms with life again in ways which by far exceed the craftsmen's work done – through exhibitions, concerts, making music together or just sitting by the camp fire.
Meanwhile, rooms free of political and ideological pressure are no longer urgently required; however, places have become rare where people can meet without commercial pressure, free of bureaucracy and institutionalism, free of nepotism and the exclusion which it produces. What should be easy – to go somewhere in order to meet people and to work together – has become difficult. The tightrope walk between, on the one hand, public activities in a monetary and functional sense, and the retreat into private life on the other, is very difficult, and it requires a lot of power and permanent efforts to tackle red tape and financial restrictions.
Free spaces are less and less understood as common property, and are permanently being cut back. The idea of public property seems to have gone out of fashion, and places of common responsible work have become rare.
Open Houses Network tries to create and protect such spaces. In this process, we do not want to be the doers, but be people who have a vision, who want to initiate something, but who also are aware of depending on the co-operation of others. We understand our projects and events as offers – as offers to create space for commitment, for changes, for meetings.
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