Initiation of a partnership

A delegation from the German Association for the Promotion of Art and Culture (VKF) visited Transylvania from 2 to 4 February 2024 to organize a work assignment with around fifty active association members in the spring. The Fortified Churches Foundation of the Evangelical Church A. C. in Romania (EKR) is supporting them.

The VKF was founded in Düsseldorf in 1992 by seven students under the name Verein zur Kunst- und Kulturförderung in den Neuen Ländern e.V. (Association for the Promotion of Art and Culture in the New States). At that time, shortly after reunification, cultural heritage in the new German states was the focus of its activities. Today, the VKF has more than 650 members and has expanded its activities to Eastern and Central Europe. Once a year, on Ascension Day weekend, members of the association go on a four-day work trip to preserve cultural monuments. Jan Engelhard, one of the organizers of the upcoming trip to Transylvania, got to know the fortified churches way back in 2012 during an assignment in Biertan.

With the support of the Fortified Churches Foundation, the friends of European cultural heritage will be touring Viscri this year. This is the result of the exploratory tour that the “location scouts” undertook together with Ruth István at the beginning of February. Identifying a worthwhile object in southern Transylvania did not prove to be a challenge. It was more difficult to find a place that could accommodate fifty people. In conversation with Caroline Fernolend (Mihai-Eminescu-Trust), the decision was finally made in favor of the well-known village. There, the VKF volunteers are to work on a cultural barn for the villagers.

For the Fortified Churches Foundation, the contact with the VFK opens up the potential for a longer-term partnership. In any case, the foundation team’s monument conservationists have no shortage of ideas and suggestions for future work for the VKF.

Text: Stefan Bichler