The former Vogelsang military training grounds with an area of 4,200 ha lies in the Schleiden municipal area.
With the exception of an area of approx. 200 ha (developed area and a corridor along the access road), the entire area lies within the Eifel National Park, the first national park in North Rhine-Westphalia. The area was under Belgian administration since 1950. With the withdrawal of the Belgian military forces from Germany, military us of the Vogelsang training grounds at ended at the end of 2005. This presented a situation that was unique within the Federal Republic of Germany: The conversion of a historically significant monument is performed in conjunction with the planning of a national park.
The possibilities resulting from the concept of a national park in conjunction with the conversion of the protected Ordensburg Vogelsang, will represent an increase in the value of the entire region.
The steering group "conversion of the Vogelsang military training grounds", under the direction of district president, Günter Rosenke, coordinated the planning of the conversion of the protected castle complex from April 2002 until the founding of the Standortentwicklungsgesellschaft Vogelsang mbH in May of 2005. The goals of the conversion process include the preservation and creation of jobs and the research and reevaluation of the history of the Nazi-Ordensburg Vogelsang.
A feasibility study that was presented in autumn of 2003 was the initial foundation for concrete planning measures. This study shows future utilization options of the vacated military areas and makes statements about the marketing situation of the area and financing possibilities. During the course of the conversion process, various projects were initiated at Vogelsang and some of them were implemented, such as the visitor information center.
Milestones on the way to the conversion of Vogelsang
April 2002 – conversion conference and granting control of the conversion process to the district president of the district of Euskirchen
Summer 2002 - Setup of the steering group on conversion and convening of the advisory council on history
Autumn 2002 - Founding of the round table "The future of civilian employees"
Spring 2003 - Presentation of the residual pollution assessment
Autumn 2003 - Presentation of the feasibility study for subsequent civilian use
Summer 2004 - Presentation of the assessment for legal evaluation of possible sponsoring models
Herbstakademie 2004 - Specification of the components and the integrated overall concept
March 2005 - Commissioning of BLB NRW to perform a real estate comparison of the core uses of Vogelsang
05/09/2005 - Founding of Standortentwicklungsgesellschaft Vogelsang mbH
August 2005 - Commissioning of Aixplan, Aachen, to set up a visitor guidance and information center at Vogelsang
November 2005 - Presentation of an initial intermediate report regarding the real estate comparison for Vogelsang
November and December 2005 – Training of 25 Vogelsang experts
December 13, 2005 – Transfer of ownership from the federal government to the Standortentwicklungsgesellschaft Vogelsang mbH
December 20, 2005 - Unanimous resolutions in the supervisory board and partners’ meeting of the Standortentwicklungsgesellschaft Vogelsang (SEV) and within the scope of the Vogelsang steering group together with the official of EuRegionale 2008 regarding the integrated Vogelsang name and exhibit concept of the Planungsbüro Müller-Rieger GbR, Munich.
01/01/2006 - Vogelsang open
Vogelsang opened for visitors on Sunday, 01/01/2006. A special new year’s program, including expert tours with inspections of buildings on the grounds and Ranger tours of the deserted settlement of Wollseiffen, gave a taste of what will be seen at Vogelsang in the future.
Projects at Vogelsang
Here, you will find detailed information about the individual projects in conjunction with the conversion of the Vogelsang military training grounds:
- Exhibits for Vogelsang
- Vogelsang experts
- Vogelsang visitor information center
Exhibits for Vogelsang
The Nazi documentation center will focus on the portrayal of the education system and indoctrination in the Nazi state. The planned exhibit will portray the history of the so-called Ordensburg and illuminate its backgrounds. Nature, which was formed in the spirit of the hegemonic architecture, is also subjected to critical reflection.
The Vogelsang National Park Center will be the central greeting and information point for the entire Eifel National Park. The history of this physical region, its special characteristics, and the exciting future of the natural environment that will be primarily left alone, will be portrayed, commented on, and taught in the future exhibit. The planned Eifel - Icon Exhibit illustrates development of the broader region in a special manner. It relates the varied history of the Eifel as an area that was formed by the Celts and the Romans, that was a part of the core area of the first European empire since the fall of Rome that was founded by Charlemagne, and that later became a border area and a forgotten region, but has also produced world-famous personalities. The exhibit is intended to inspire visitors to explore the Eifel region more closely and to visit the icon locations.
In cooperation with the Förderverein Eifel National Park and the Catholic Forum for Adult and Family Education in the Eifel, the Vogelsang service agency has trained a total of 25 Vogelsang experts. The task of the certified Vogelsang experts is to guide visitors through the protected historical complex, starting in 01/01/2006. In four training blocks under the tutelage of expert lecturers, the Vogelsang experts were prepared for their task. Here, emphasis was also placed on the fact that the complex planned by the national socialists will still have a palpable effect on visitors. You can find more information about the spectrum of services and the booking of tours with Vogelsang experts from the Vogelsang service agency at Tel.: +49 (0)700 9300 2006 or on the homepage.
Vogelsang visitor information
Vogelsang has been open to visitors since 01/01/2006. This made the establishment of a visitor information center and a visitor guidance center absolutely necessary. For this reason, Aixplan, which had already conducted the feasibility study for Vogelsang, was commissioned with creating a basic concept in August 2005. 80 % of the financing of the project is provided by the state. Co-financing is provided by the district of Euskirchen, Eifeltouristikagentur NRW. e.V., and Touristik Schleidener Tal e.V..
The following results have been achieved to date:
The temporary visitor greeting center of Vogelsang is located in the forum at Adlerhof. Since 01/01/2006, visitors can find information about Vogelsang, the national park, and the surrounding region at the counter. A bookshop is also available. At the same time, catering is provided with beverages and snacks. From the starting point in the visitors’ parking lot, visitors can explore the protected historical complex on two marked tours of the grounds. The basic tour is about 1.3 km long and leads from the central visitors’ parking lot to the prominent features at Vogelsang with no barriers. The approx. 1.2 km long slope tour requires about 30 minutes of pure walking time due to steep inclines and stairs. At the lowest point of the sports fields, the complete facility can be toured by moving upwards. After 01/21/2006, a preliminary exhibit about the future of Vogelsang will be displayed in the forum. Until spring, the forum will then successively be equipped with a seminar and event room as well as additional services.