Adventure Land Maikammer, Rhineland Palatinate, Germany

The Adventure Land Maikammer is made up of the municipalities of Maikammer, Kirrweiler and St. Martin and has about 8400 inhabitants. Lying on the German wine route the small region stretches over an area of approx. 40 km² and is characterised by a favourable climatic location and a century old wine growing tradition.

The development of the area is characterised by a cooperative strategy of the three villages with different emphases with the motto “Three villages one goal”. Dependent on quality of location and favourable situation a clever division of function and work was arranged. All three municipalities integrate town conservation and monument preservation in their town planning development. The municipality St. Martin focuses on tourism, the municipality Maikammer covers the areas of supply and communal infrastructure and the municipality Kirrweiler concentrates on trade development.

During the World Exhibition EXPO in 2000 the region Maikammer was presented to a world public as an example of sustainable rural development to optimise wine growing by land division as an external project “Village 2000”. The “Adventure Land Maikammer” represents a model for a diligent handling of conservation of nature, for an active encounter with agricultural changes of structure to preserve the sustainability of wine growing and the preservation and improvement of work and living conditions in rural areas.

Radical structural changes in farming and the marketing of wine, the demolition of historical buildings, the wish of the expanding wine growing companies for the construction of large volume halls and the gridlock of traffic at the weekends by day trippers to the local recreation region Pfälzerwald made it necessary to examine the problem areas at issue. The no longer up to date split farmland structure caused by estate partitioning lead to partially awkward lying lots where rational farming was no longer possible.

The village renewal process which was started 25 years ago is characterised by multidisciplinary expert planning and a high degree of citizen participation. The structural changes in wine growing were allowed for by a wine growing development with the clear goal to preserve the typical wine growing landscape with special attention on nature conservation.

Along with the economical and demographic development came a large increase in empty buildings, the upkeep of a great number of wine grower buildings that were typical for the village was endangered. As a successful counter strategy the municipalities abandoned the declaration of new building areas on the outskirts of the villages and focussed all their efforts on a functional and preserving inner development. High priority is given to the revitalisation of and adding value to old buildings of good quality to preserve the picturesque image, taking into consideration the monument preservation aspects. The implemented examples impressively confirm the overriding goal of a qualitative inner development and support the direct marketing of the natural product wine in a historically developed ambience.

The key to the creative conversion of old buildings is the wine growing development with which an additional rear traffic opening axis was opened. The original farm buildings could be given a tourist and restaurant use without functional disadvantages.

The exemplary renovation of the „Alten Kellerei“ in St. Martin deserves great recognition because it was possible to place the valuable historical building in an exciting dialogue between contemporary architecture and function. In this connection also the Edelhof in Kirrweiler should be mentioned which was used as a community centre and very carefully revitalised. The creation of a professional building consultancy supported the high quality requirements also in the private sector. The efforts involved in the design of public streets and places significantly contribute to the positive overall impression.

The Adventure Land Maikammer is aware of its favourable climatic location and its unspoiled nature qualities and makes use of these strengths with targeted measures and projects. The combination of gardening with the creation of theme gardens – e.g. Mediterranean garden and bible garden – and Pfalz enjoyment with the direct marketing of regional products in restaurants and the bunched flower business ideally compliment each other.

Traffic concepts were developed and successfully implemented to deal with the different requirements of stationary and moving traffic. Car parks at the entries to the villages and attractive pedestrian path connections increase the quality of life in the historically developed core zone.

To prevent flooding natural river regulations with retaining zones that serve as additional biotopes were undertaken. The use of alternative energy forms e.g. solar energy, is in its beginnings and can be developed further.

Surprising for a tourist region is the noticeable social cohesion of all generations and the great voluntary commitment of the citizens. The motto “together towards success” to increase the quality of life can be seen especially in the facilities for children, young people and the elderly population.

The Adventure Land Maikammer has in the awareness of its own strengths consequently for 25 years now followed a village renewal process and has done the homework at issue for conserving the sustainable village structures excellently.

Evaluated: 2008