Calmont Region, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

The Calmont Region consists of the villages Bremm, Ediger-Eller, and Neef which are located in the Moselle valley and surrounded by vineyards. These three local communities have 2,257 inhabitants over an area of 3,478 hectares and lie approximately 100 meters above sea level. The Calmont with its rugged cliffs climbs to 378 m above sea level though. The historical town centers of Bremm, Ediger-Eller, and Neef date back to the Middle Ages and are located at the alluvial fans of small river valleys.

The decrease in viniculture and the resulting overgrowing of abandoned vineyards, vacancies within the town centers, as well as out-migration from young families were the Calmont Region’s initial situation 15 years ago. Some concepts for village renewal which were already in place led to the first set of measures. The state of Rhineland-Palatinate introduced the development program “WineCulturalLandscape Moselle” with an integrated incentive program which proved to be crucial in order to strengthen the region.

The municipality of Ediger-Eller is regarded as a pioneer in the matter of internal development. The so-called “Holle Haeisje”, a half-timbered house from the 16th century, acts as a model of monument-related renovation and has become the tourist information center “Calmont Region”. The effort for high-quality design of squares and alleys with local materials is also remarkable. One project that stands out is the exemplary renovation of the monastery ruin “Stubental”. The monastery which was founded in the 12th century functions as a unique location for cultural events. The distinct commitment to the history is further underlined by the reconstruction of a Roman cave sanctuary upon the Calmont.

The recent municipal buildings, such as the community center, the town house, and the kindergarten, do not appear as foreign objects within the historical towns. The realization of the goal to keep young families in the old town centers by offering up-to-date accommodations, has resolved the vacancy issue and minimized the need for the designation of new building sites. The reconstruction of the Calmont forum, a town house with a small village store in the town center of Bremm, has established a contact point for the local community as well as increased the historical center’s attractiveness.

The development association Calmont Region focuses on sustainable development of already existing strengths. The preservation of steep slope winegrowing is a clear commitment to the traditional cultural landscape and therefore to the interconnected high-quality tourism. Furthermore, the promotion of culture is emphasized with the monastery Stuben as the cultural center. The restoration of the synagogue and the conservation of Jewish cultural assets by the citizens’ association “Synagogue Ediger” is also noteworthy.

The program “More green through land consolidation” and the pilot project “Red vineyard peach” have successfully helped the specific cultural landscape features of the Moselle region to experience a renaissance. The installation of a climbing route along the steep positions of the Calmont created a recreational area which attracts (also young) guests and puts the unique landscape into the limelight. The interconnection of all measures as well as clear strategies in order accomplish goals and visions exist to a high degree.

Therefore, the Calmont Region was awarded a European Village Renewal Award for sustainable, holistic and motto-adequate village development of excellent quality.