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20 C O N T E X T 1 5 7 : N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 8 level authority dealing with appeals). •• Offices for monument care ( Denkmalpflege ) are government agencies in each of the 16 states, staffed with experts who advise owners and authorities on conservation. In Germany, with over a million listed monu- ments representing 2,000 years of architecture, the range of approaches to conservation can be as diverse as the organisation of conservation is complex. The belated reunion of the divided Germany in 1990 has led to debates and projects of a nature and size not seen since the post-war years. As in other European countries, the rebuilding of bombed cities after the second world war had seen large areas of ruins and rub- ble being replaced by modernist settlements laid out in the spirit of the Athens Charter. A more heritage-friendly approach to urban develop- ment did not gain ground until the 1970s, but some towns and cities had chosen different ways. Münster, the former capital of the Prussian province of Westphalia, for example, had started rebuilding its centre in 1945. In the 1990s, such an approach seemed anachronistic to some, so it was the subject of endless discussions about German and East German identity as to whether the removal of post-war structures and the rebuilding of the centre of Dresden or of the royal palace in Berlin’s city were justified after an interval of more than 50 years.The rebuilding of the Frauenkirche in Dresden by means of re-using salvaged masonry from the ruin in its original position has been widely acclaimed, but the additional reconstruction of the surrounding neighbourhood by private investors has attracted consent as well as criticism. At first glance, the organisation of conserva- tion in Germany may seem confusing, almost exotic to a British observer, but the systems in both countries are not entirely different. Think of the UK as the equivalent of the Federal Republic and you may find that its constituents England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their Historic England, Cadw, Historic Environment Scotland, Historic Environment Division, Northern Ireland, just as each of the German states has its own conservation agency. Just as the heads of conservation of each German state collaborate at the meetings of the VDL, so their British counterparts collaborate at the Home Countries Heritage Agencies Chief Executive (HACE) meetings. The efficient work carried out by professionals in private practice as well as by government agencies and departments, charged with the implementation of regional, national, European and international policy, clearly demonstrates one thing: that it is possible to be, at the same time, Saxon, German, European and passionate about heritage just as it is possible to be, at the same time, English, British, European and pas- sionate about heritage. Michael Asselmeyer, a chartered architect and historian in Birkenhead, has been a scholar in Bologna, a research assistant in Münster and Berlin, a conservation architect and head of conservation and design in London, and a university lecturer in Dundee and Preston. Porta Nigra, Trier, started in 170 AD under Emperor Marcus Aurelius as the northern city gate, converted after 1040 into St Simeon’s church, restored in 1804 to its Roman core under Napoleon (Photo: Berthold Werner, Wikimedia Commons)

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