Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Schloss Hohenkammer: sustainability in practice
Restoration work on the Schloss Hohenkammer castle in Freising, Germany, and construction of the new reception and guest house were completed in autumn 2008. As the complex’s proprietor, Munich Re’s commitment to quality set the standard. The authentic character of the restoration work and the ideal combination of the new structure’s materials (natural stone, wood, and plaster) create a harmonious architectural ensemble. Following its restoration, Schloss Hohenkammer has become a world-class seminar center.
Schloss Hohenkammer’s location is a contributing factor to the “exceptional” situation in which visitors find themselves. The farmland surrounding the seminar center has been part of the castle for centuries. The farm is organic and operates according to the principle of sustainability, and one can literally taste the difference. Ask about Gut Eichethof’s spirits and cooking oils.
Sustainability is the motto for the entire Hohenkammer estate. This is proven by the complex’s solidity. Guests sense this atmosphere of absolute composure. The seminar center radiates authenticity and tradition. Even “fleeting” visitors do not leave without a lasting impression, regardless of how quickly they may return to the city or airport. Schloss Hohenkammer lies off the beaten track, yet is still easy to reach by train, car, or plane.
Once the site of the “Eichet” Forest, today this area is home to Gut Eichethof, an agricultural estate that has been an integral part of Schloss Hohenkammer for centuries. Back then the term sustainability still lay in the distant future and farmers instead relied on their common sense; it was this reasoning that determined how land was cultivated so that it could sustain people in both the present and future. Today Helmut Steber, master farmer and director of Gut Eichethof, would like to achieve two kinds of sustainability at once: ecological preservation and economic success.
The farm’s productivity attests to his success. Gut Eichethof boasts modern management practices and is a highly profitable enterprise, in which close attention to detail and quality can be sensed in every facet.
In 2002, the farm was recognizes as being part of the “Okoland Offensive” (Organic Land Offensive) by the Federal Department of Trade and Industry. It also received the distinction of practicing “sustainable agriculture fit for the future” from the DLG (German Agricultural Society). Since 1992, Gut Eichethof has belonged to a network of organic farms called “Naturland.”
Until the 1980s, the forests on Gut Eichethof were planted with conifers – monocultures that could not hold their own against major storms, such as Vivian and Wiebke. In 1990 those in charge started to “rebuild” the forests. In the future they are to be populated by a resistant mixture of trees rather than by vulnerable conifers. The fifteen different tree varieties used here are well-suited to the various soil types and sites on the estate.
A mixed forest also produces valuable wood that enjoys a greater market demand and fetches higher prices; additionally, a mixed forest also provides the ideal place to relax and get away from it all. There will be no shortage of Schloss Hohenkammer seminar visitors wandering through our woods. In fact, when the guest house at Schloss Hohenkammer was restored, the new entrance hall and 65 hotel rooms were built with the lovely oak wood from our own forests.
From Koniginstrasse in Munich it is only 30 minutes by car. With regard to quiet and tranquility, however, it is very far away from everyday stress and tiresome routines. Schloss Hohenkammer is independent of external energy supplies. The raw materials from Gut Eichethof’s forests and fields supply the complex with enough fuel and substrate for the biogas plant.
For more information, visit www.schlosshohenkammer.de
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