On 17 December 2020, the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage inscribed the practices of construction workshops (Bauhütten) on its Register of Good Safeguarding Practices. The nomination was submitted by 18 construction workshops from five European countries.

Intangible cultural heritage: the practices of construction workshops (Bauhütten) added to the UNESCO Register of Good Safeguarding Practices

The full title of the nomination was 'The craft techniques and customary practices of cathedral workshops, or Bauhütten, in Europe: know-how, transmission, development of knowledge and innovation.'

A total of 18 workshops in Austria, France, Germany, Norway, and Switzerland came together to nominate the work of construction workshops for inscription on the UNESCO Register of Good Safeguarding Practices. 'The biggest advantage of construction workshops is that restoration work is continually carried out by a team that has a very close bond with the building in question that knows its sensitive points inside out,' said Andreas Hindemann, chief architect at Basel Minster. 'We are absolutely thrilled by this positive outcome and the associated recognition of our work,' he added.

The nomination was submitted by Aachen Cathedral Workshop, the State Cathedral Workshop in Bamberg, the Basel Minster Workshop Foundation, Dresden Zwinger Workshop (the only secular workshop in the group), Freiburg Minster Workshop, Cologne Cathedral Workshop, New Cathedral Workshop Linz an der Donau, Church Workshop Lübeck, Mainz Cathedral Workshop, State Cathedral Workshop Passau, State Cathedral Workshop Regensburg, Holy Cross Minster Workshop in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Westphalian Cathedral Workshop at St Maria zur Wiese in Soest, Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg Workshop Foundation, Nidaros Cathedral Workshop in Trondheim, Ulm Minster Workshop, St Stephen's Cathedral Workshop in Vienna, and Xanten Cathedral Workshop.

Criteria for recognition by UNESCO as good safeguarding practices include these practices being recognised by the community as being an active part of its cultural heritage and providing the community with a sense of identity, the development of measures to keep the practice alive, and exemplary, potentially cross-border co-operation.


The nomination process began in 2015 when Ulm Minster Workshop submitted an application to be included on the German Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg Workshop Foundation applied for inclusion on the Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in France. In June 2017, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg Workshop Foundation was included on the French National List of Traditional Cultural Expression. The corresponding German application (which had subsequently been joined by Cologne and Freiburg) was approved in March 2018 when the three were included in the German Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The international nomination process was kick-started by the so-called 'Declaration of Erfurt' in September 2017:

Delegates at the annual conference of the europäische Vereinigung der Dombaumeister, Münsterbaumeister und Hüttenmeister e. V. (European Association of Cathedral Architects, Minster Architects, and Workshop Masters) agreed to support an international nomination. 'We are very well connected within the association, and we wanted to use these connections in a worthwhile way, to publicise them, and to raise awareness of what makes our workshops so special,' says Yvonne Faller, chief minster architect in Freiburg and deputy chair of the association.

Starting in November 2017, a number of meetings were held to prepare the nomination, which was eventually submitted in Paris by a 15-strong delegation on 6 February 2019. Some 18 months later, the process has now ended with the inscription of these special construction workshops on the UNESCO Register of Good Safeguarding Practices.



Cathedral and minster workshops (Bauhütten) are multidisciplinary in nature: such workshops employ a wide variety of people ranging from apprentices and journeypersons to workshop masters, minster architects, and cathedral architects. They transmit the knowledge and skills of a wide variety of trades, train people who are just starting out in these trades, keep festivals and rituals alive, document their work, and are ambassadors to the outside world. Some workshops also include archivists, art historians, communication officers, and commercial staff.

Construction workshops essentially see themselves as centres of expertise for all things to do with stone.

'We have such a diverse team: the art historian works closely with the stonemason, the restorer works hand in hand with the geologist in order to study and understand the stone structure and come up with optimum ways to conserve it,' explains Eric Fischer, director of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg Workshop Foundation.

Moreover, in recent decades, public relations has become a considerable part of the workshop's remit in order to keep patrons and the public in general informed of the importance of conserving the buildings in question and to strengthen the bond between the public and the workshop. At institutional level, a variety of different bodies are responsible for the workshops: some are managed by municipalities, others by Church bodies, states, foundations, or associations.


Since the Middle Ages, construction workshops have been set up on the construction sites of cathedrals and major churches in Europe. Then and now, these workshops are situated directly alongside their respective church buildings and bring together people from a wide variety of trades who work closely on the building and preserve their knowledge by handing it down from generation to generation.

In addition, since the Late Middle Ages, there have been close links between the various workshops across the continent, allowing for the emergence of a network that spanned not only regions, but also countries, and empires.

Two cathedral workshops (Strasbourg and Freiburg) have existed continuously since the Middle Ages, while others were closed down and re-established in the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (e.g. Basel) or were set up for the first time (e.g. Dresden). The motivation to set up each and every one of these workshops was to conserve, develop, or build (in the case of Linz) cathedrals, large churches, or major buildings.

To this day, these workshops together constitute a lively, international network of communication and people who are devoted to the research, documentation, and transmission of knowledge and, above all, the conservation of cathedrals and major buildings. 'International exchange between these workshops has long been par for the course. We work closely with each other and openly share our expertise and experience. We have no professional secrets from each other and do not see each other as competitors, but as colleagues from whom we can learn,' says Peter Füssenich, chief architect at Cologne Cathedral.

Cathedral Workshops

An initiative of the European
construction workshops from:

  • Aachen
  • Dombauhütte Aachen
    Dombauhütte Aachen
    (Aachen Cathedral Workshop)

    Administrative body: Domkapitel Aachen
    (Aachen Cathedral Chapter)

    The nucleus of Aachen Cathedral is Emperor Charlemagne's palatine chapel, which was built between 793 and 813. Construction of the cathedral's Gothic choir began in 1355 and was completed in 1414. A ring of radiating chapels was added between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries. Aachen Cathedral was the first German structure to be added to the World Heritage List in 1978. A cathedral workshop was founded in the middle of the nineteenth century and continued its work until 1893. It was revived in 1952 in order to repair damage caused during the Second World War, but closed down once again in 1969. The Aachen Cathedral Workshop in its present form was set up in the year 2000 and is responsible for the structural maintenance and conservation of Aachen Cathedral and all the buildings in the cathedral close.

    Dombauhütte Aachen
    Klosterplatz 2
    52062 Aachen

  • Bamberg
  • Staatliche Dombauhütte Bamberg
    Bamberg (D)
    Staatliche Dombauhütte Bamberg
    (State Cathedral Workshop in Bamberg)

    Administrative body: Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wohnen, Bau und Verkehr
    (Bavarian State Ministry for Housing, Building and Transport)

    The history of Bamberg Cathedral begins in 1007 with the establishment of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bamberg by Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor, and his wife, Cunigunde. Construction of the present cathedral began in the 1190s and ended in 1237. The earliest documentary evidence of a medieval cathedral workshop – also known as the Cunigunde Works – dates from the fifteenth century. The workshop continued to operate until the secularisation of the Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg in the early nineteenth century. The cathedral workshop in Bamberg, which was established in 1929 by the state of Bavaria, is responsible for the structural maintenance and conservation of the cathedral and the buildings annexed to it.

    Staatliche Dombauhütte Bamberg
    Domplatz 7
    96049 Bamberg


  • Basel
  • Basler Münsterbauhütte
    Basel (CH)
    Basler Münsterbauhütte
    (Basel Minster Workshop)

    Administrative bodies: Kanton Basel-Stadt, Evangelisch-reformierte Kirche Basel-Stadt, Christoph Merian Stiftung
    (Canton of Basel-Stadt, Reformed Protestant Church of Basel-Stadt, Christoph Merian Foundation)

    Basel Minster, which was built between 1170 and 1220/30, is the third church building on this site. A plaque dating from some time around 1200 depicting two male figures, one of which is likely to be a master builder, mentions the existence of a minster workshop on the site at that time. An earthquake in 1356 damaged large parts of the Late Romanesque minster, including its five towers, vault, choir, and crypt. Reconstruction began immediately and was completed on 23 July 1500. The last documentary evidence of the medieval minster workshop dates from 1538. In January 1986, the newly established minster workshop, which takes the form of a foundation, began operations again with a view to maintaining and conserving Basel Minster.

    Stiftung Basler Münsterbauhütte
    St. Alban-Tal 43
    4052 Basel

  • Dresden
  • Zwingerbauhütte Dresden
    Dresden (D)
    Zwingerbauhütte Dresden
    (Dresden Zwinger Workshop)

    Administrative body: Sächsisches Staatsministerium der Finanzen, vertreten durch: Staatsbetrieb Sächsisches Immobilien- und Baumanagement (SIB) Niederlassung Dresden I
    (Saxon State Ministry of Finance, represented by the Saxon State Enterprise for Property and Construction Management (SIB), Dresden I branch)

    The Dresden Zwinger complex was built during the reign of Frederick Augustus I, Elector of Saxony (also known as Augustus the Strong), between 1709 and 1728. It was intended to be used as a garden and a place for court festivities. The quality of the decorative façades of the Zwinger's Baroque structures is second to none. The Dresden Zwinger Workshop was set up in 1924. At this time, the State Construction Administration set up a group of contractually bound companies that was managed by a master builder. Up until 1964, this group reconstructed the Zwinger, which had suffered extensive damage during the Second World War. Re-established in 1991, the Dresden Zwinger Workshop is now part of the Saxon State Structural Engineering Administration. It is responsible for the conservation of the fabric of the complex and retaining its authentic appearance.

    Kleine Packhofstraße 2
    01067 Dresden

  • Freiburg
  • Freiburger Münsterbauhütte
    Freiburg i. Br. (D)
    Freiburger Münsterbauhütte
    (Freiburg Minster Workshop)

    Administrative body: Freiburger Münsterbauverein e. V.
    (Friends of Freiburg Minster Association)

    The Freiburg Minster Workshop has been in existence for 800 years without interruption, making it one of the oldest, longest-running cathedral workshops in existence. Construction of Freiburg Minster began sometime around 1200. There is documentary evidence of a 'frouwen werchütten ze Friburg an dem kilchhove' (Our Lady's Workshop at the Churchyard in Freiburg) dating from 1318. The nave and the western tower of the minster were completed some time around 1330. Construction of the choir began in 1354 and ended in 1536. The administrative body responsible for the workshop has changed several times down through the centuries. Since 1890, it has been managed by the Freiburger Münsterbauverein e.V., which is responsible for overseeing all construction and maintenance work on the exterior stonework. All other work is the responsibility of the Archdiocesan Construction Office, which was established in 1863.

    Freiburger Münsterbauverein e. V.
    Schoferstraße 4
    79098 Freiburg

  • Köln
  • Kölner Dombauhütte
    Köln (D)
    Kölner Dombauhütte
    (Cologne Cathedral Workshop)

    Administrative body: Metropolitankapitel der Hohen Domkirche Köln
    (Metropolitan Chapter of Cologne Cathedral)

    The first cathedral workshop in Cologne came into being with the start of work on the Gothic cathedral on 15 August 1248. The first part of the cathedral to be consecrated was the choir in 1322. Sometime around 1520, construction stopped for 300 years. The Cathedral Works, which included the cathedral workshop, remained responsible for conserving the building right into the eighteenth century. The cathedral workshop was re-established in 1823/24. It was responsible for completing the cathedral from 1842 to 1880. Since, then it has been responsible for the conservation of the building. The focus of work in the decades after 1945 was on the restoration of the cathedral, which had been severely damaged during the Second World War.

    Kölner Dombauhütte
    Roncalliplatz 2
    50667 Köln


  • Linz
  • Dombauhütte Mariendom Linz an der Donau
    Dombauhütte Mariendom Linz an der Donau
    (New Cathedral Workshop Linz an der Donau)

    Administrative body: Bischof-Rudigier-Stiftung zur Erhaltung des Mariä-Empfängnis-Domes in Linz
    (Bishop Rudigier Foundation for the Conservation of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Linz)

    The Mariendom (also known as the New Cathedral or the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception) is the largest church in Austria. Construction of the cathedral, which was designed by Cologne cathedral architect and Diocesan Master Builder Vincenz Statz, began in 1862 and was completed in 1925. Inspired by cathedral workshops of the Middle Ages, the association responsible for raising funds for the construction of the cathedral funded the establishment of a cathedral workshop, which has been tasked with all conservation, repair, and restoration work on the building since 1925

    Dombauhütte Mariendom Linz an der Donau
    Hafnerstraße 3
    4020 Linz/Donau

  • Lübeck
  • Kirchenbauhütte Lübeck
    Kirchenbauhütte Lübeck
    (Church Workshop Lübeck)

    Administrative body: Evangelisch-Lutherischer Kirchenkreis Lübeck-Lauenburg
    (Evangelical Lutheran Church District of Lübeck-Lauenburg)

    The Church Workshop Lübeck is the only traditional church workshop in northern Germany. It was established at St Mary's Church in Lübeck in 1951 in response to the overwhelming need to repair churches in the city after World War II. Eight years later, it also began repairing other medieval churches in Lübeck, doing all the necessary stonemasonry and carpentry work. In 2009, the workshop extended its remit to include all 88 churches and chapels in the city of Lübeck and the district of Herzogtum Lauenburg.

    Kirchenbauhütte Lübeck
    Petrikirchhof 1A
    23552 Lübeck

  • Mainz
  • Dombauhütte Mainz
    Mainz (D)
    Dombauhütte Mainz
    (Mainz Cathedral Workshop)

    Administrative body: Bistum Mainz
    (Diocese of Mainz)

    The original cathedral workshop in Mainz was founded in the Middle Ages. Although the interior of the Romanesque cathedral made it through the Second World War unscathed, all of its roofs were burned down and all windows destroyed during hostilities. In 1950, the workshop was re-established. Thirteen years later, it was turned into an official institution. Since the last of the war damage was repaired, the workshop has focused on the conservation and upkeep of the cathedral.

    Dombauhütte Mainz
    Grebenstraße 9
    53116 Mainz

  • Passau
  • Staatliche Dombauhütte Passau
    Passau (D)
    Staatliche Dombauhütte Passau
    (State Cathedral Workshop Passau)

    Administrative body: Staatliches Bauamt Passau
    (State Building Authority Passau)

    It is likely that the origins of St Stephen's Cathedral in Passau date back to the eighth century. In 1407, the foundation stone for the construction of the present choir structure was laid. The master builder in charge of construction was Hans Krumenauer. The Late Gothic cathedral was completed in 1593 with the vaulting of the nave. Following a devastating fire that consumed most of the city, Carlo Lurago began rebuilding the cathedral in the Baroque style in 1668. Having established that parts of the Gothic exterior were a ruinous state, the state of Bavaria set up a cathedral workshop within what was then the Bavarian State Building Office in Passau in 1928. Since then, the State Cathedral Workshop Passau has been responsible for the maintenance and conservation of the cathedral.

    Staatliche Dombauhütte Passau
    Residenzplatz 9
    94032 Passau

  • Regensburg
  • Staatliche Dombauhütte Regensburg
    Regensburg (D)
    Staatliche Dombauhütte Regensburg
    (State Cathedral Workshop Regensburg)

    Administrative body: Staatliches Bauamt Regensburg
    (State Building Authority Regensburg)

    Construction of the Gothic Cathedral of St Peter began in 1273. When work was interrupted in 1524, both towers remained incomplete. Work on the cathedral was finally completed between 1859 and 1872. In order to put a stop to the damage being caused to the stonework by rising air pollution, a cathedral workshop based on the medieval model was set up in 1923. The objective was to train specialist craftsmen and to research and document medieval crafts and techniques and the history of the cathedral. To this day, the cathedral workshop plans and carries out all work on the cathedral in this spirit.

    Staatliche Dombauhütte Regensburg
    Domgarten 4
    93047 Regensburg

  • Schwäbisch-Gmünd
  • Münsterbauhütte Heilig Kreuz in Schwäbisch Gmünd
    Schwäbisch Gmünd (D)
    Münsterbauhütte Heilig Kreuz in Schwäbisch Gmünd
    (Holy Cross Minster Workshop in Schwäbisch Gmünd)

    Administrative body: Katholische Kirchengemeinde Heilig-Kreuz-Münster, Schwäbisch Gmünd
    (Catholic Parish of Holy Cross Minster, Schwäbisch Gmünd)

    Construction of Holy Cross Minster lasted from 1321 to 1377. It was the first and largest High Gothic hall church in southern Germany. The sons and descendents of the minster's master builder Heinrich Parler, became master builders in Prague, Ulm, Freiburg, Basel, Konstanz, and Strasbourg. The vaults on the choir were completed between 1492 and 1497. Following the collapse of both towers of the preceding building on Good Friday 1497, the structure was repaired and the sacristy, baptismal chapel, and stair towers were constructed. The vaulting in the nave was completed in 1521. A minster workshop was set up for the purpose of renovating the choir and the nave in 1848 and 1887 respectively. The workshop in its current location was established in 1923. During a major period of renovation lasting from 1975 to 2005, the vaults in the nave and the buttress piers in the choir area were repaired.

    Münsterbauhütte Schwäbisch Gmünd
    Münsterplatz 3
    73525 Schwäbisch Gmünd

  • Soest
  • Westfälische Dombauhütte an St. Maria zur Wiese in Soest
    Soest (D)
    Westfälische Dombauhütte an St. Maria zur Wiese in Soest
    (Westphalian Cathedral Workshop at St Maria zur Wiese in Soest)

    Administrative body: Westfälischer Dombauverein St. Maria zur Wiese, Soest e. V.
    (Friends of the Westphalian Cathedral St Maria zur Wiese, Soest Association)

    In 1313, the medieval cathedral workshop began construction of the choir and nave in the French High Gothic style. When construction stopped again in 1529, the towers remained incomplete. The imposing façade with its two towers was finally completed between 1846 and 1882. Today's cathedral workshop – the third on this site – was established in 1990 on the initiative of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and with the expert advice and support of Cologne Cathedral Workshop. The administrative body behind the workshop is the Westfälischer Dombauverein St. Maria zur Wiese, Soest e. V. Today, the workshop is responsible for the conservation of the cathedral. A school for master stonemasons and stone sculptors was established in 1997. In 2003, an international organisation for building crafts and design in Europe followed. Three years later, the Soest Green Sandstone Museum was opened. In 2018, the Children's Workshop South Westphalia opened its doors.

    Westfälische Dombauhütte an St. Maria zur Wiese, Soest
    Walburgerstraße 56
    59494 Soest

  • Strassburg
  • Straßburger Münsterbauhütte Das Werk Unserer Lieben Frau	(Fondation de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame)
    Straßburg (F)
    Fondation de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame
    (Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg Workshop Foundation)

    Administrative body: Ville de Strasbourg
    (City of Strasbourg)

    The workshop of the Cathedral of Our Lady in Strasbourg, which was founded in the early thirteenth century, has existed continuously for 800 years. Together with the minster workshop in Freiburg, it is one of the very few cathedral workshops in Europe to have never been closed down since its establishment. In the late thirteenth century, it passed from Church to municipal ownership. Today, its primary task is to work hand in hand with the French state to conserve Strasbourg Cathedral. Other tasks include the administration of its comprehensive portfolio of property and the organisation of tourist access to the cathedral's viewing platform.

    Fondation de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame
    3 place du Château
    67000 Strasbourg

  • Trondheim
  • Bauhütte des Nidarosdoms in Trondheim (Nidaros Domkirkes Restaureringsarbeider)
    Trondheim (NOR)
    Nidaros Domkirkes Restaureringsarbeider
    (Nidaros Cathedral Workshop)

    Nidaros Cathedral – where all Norwegian monarchs are crowned – was built over the grave of the Viking king St Olav. The current structure stands on a foundation dating from the eleventh century. The transept dates from the twelfth century and was completed in the fourteenth century. After a major fire in 1537, the nave lay in ruins for almost 400 years. In 1869, a restoration workshop was set up in order to repair and reconstruct the cathedral. This workshop has since developed into a national centre of expertise for the maintenance and repair of medieval stone structures.

    Nidaros Domkirkes Restaureringsarbeider
    Bispegaten 11
    7012 Trondheim

  • Ulm
  • Ulmer Münsterbauhütte
    Ulm (D)
    Ulmer Münsterbauhütte
    (Ulm Minster Workshop)

    Administrative body: Evangelische Gesamtkirchengemeinde Ulm
    (Evangelical General Parish Ulm)

    Ulm Minster Workshop was established when the foundation stone for Ulm Minster was laid under the supervision of master builder Heinrich Parler II in June 1377. In 1543, construction stopped for about 300 years. In 1844, construction began again under chief municipal architect Ferdinand Thrän, who was later appointed minster master builder. August von Beyer was master builder when Ulm Minster was completed in 1890. At the time, it was the largest Evangelical church in Germany and boasted the tallest spire in the world (161.53 m). Today, the minster workshop is responsible for conserving and restoring the stone structure of the building.

    Münsterbauamt Ulm / Münsterbauhütte
    Münsterplatz 1A
    89073 Ulm

  • Wien
  • Dombauhütte zu St. Stephan in Wien
    Vienna (A)
    Dombauhütte zu St. Stephan in Wien
    (St Stephen's Cathedral Workshop in Vienna)

    Administrative body: Domkapitel an der Metropolitankirche zu St. Stephan, Wien (Cathedral Chapter of St Stephen's Metropolitan Church, Vienna)

    Construction of St Stephen's in Vienna began in 1137. There is archaeological evidence that a workshop was established to this end around this time. Over time, it became one of the four main cathedral workshops of the Holy Roman Empire. The 137-m-high south tower was completed in 1433. Work on the north tower, however, stopped in 1513. The workshop was revived to repair the cathedral and has been active throughout all the various style periods of the modern age. As a result of the reconstruction of this famous Austrian landmark after World War II, the cathedral workshop became a well-known institution in Austria. To this day, it is responsible for the upkeep of the cathedral.

    Dombauhütte zu St. Stephan in Wien
    Stephansplatz 3
    1010 Wien

  • Xanten
  • Dombauhütte Xanten
    Xanten (D)
    Dombauhütte Xanten
    (Xanten Cathedral Workshop)

    Administrative body: Verein zur Erhaltung des Xantener Domes e. V.
    (Association for the Conservation of Xanten Cathedral)

    The oldest part of Xanten Cathedral is the west end, which was built between 1185 and 1220. There is documentary evidence of the early existence of a cathedral workshop under a Master Bertold. The foundation stone for the choir was laid in 1263 when Master Jakob was master builder. The medieval period of construction ended with the completion of the north tower sometime around 1530. The first association for raising funds for the construction/repair of the cathedral was established in 1849. After comprehensive restoration work was completed between 1857 and 1868, it was closed down again. At the end of the Second World War, however, both the fund-raising association and the cathedral workshop were re-established in 1946 to repair the damage caused by hostilities. Since the 1990s, the main focus of the workshop's activities has been on conservation.

    Dombauhütte Xanten – Verein zur Erhaltung des Xantener Domes e.V.
    Kapitel 20
    46509 Xanten

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