Altes Land

The Old Country is part of the Elbe marshes south of the Elbe in Hamburg and Lower Saxony. It includes the town Jork Liihe the Municipality and the New Wulmstorfer Rübke district in Lower Saxony and Hamburg districts Neuenfelde, Cranz and Francop.

In 2012, the state of Lower Saxony nominated the cultural landscape Altes Land for German Tentative List for future UNESCO World Heritage applications. Further decisions about the success of the application fall 2013 by the Standing Conference and the earliest from 2017 by UNESCO.


The name Old country has nothing " old " to do with, but points to the settlement history. In Low German the area Olland means ( hochd. " Altland "). This name dates back to the colonization by Dutch colonists 1130-1230. The name of the municipality Altländer Hollern goes back to the Dutch. The old country had since the Middle Ages through a self-management, most recently in 1885 in the form of the Prussian administrative district of York, who is also the town of Buxtehude and the community included new territory next to the Old Country. The resolution of the county in 1932 meant the end of self-government; the west part of Este was the district of Stade, which connected the east the district of Harburg. Through the Greater Hamburg Act 1937 Cranz communities, Neuenfelde Francop and Hamburg were annexed and incorporated in 1938. 1972 Places Hove and Moor End from the district of Harburg were connected the town Jork and since then belong to the district of Stade. As the only part of the Altes Land remained the village Rübke - now part of the municipality of New Wulmstorf - the district of Harburg.

Since 1993, a monument reminiscent of the St. Martini et Nicolai Church in stone churches in the in the first colonization deed of Dutch settlers in the Elbe -Weser Triangle called to 1113 priest Heinrich.


The Old Country is divided into three miles, the First, Second and Third Mile. These miles represent zones along the banks of the Elbe represents the first mile, between the rivers rocker and Liihe was first diked and settled ( in 1140 ). The Second Mile comprises the east of this area located between Liihe and Este, the embankment was completed by the end of the 12th century. The reclamation of the Third Mile between Este and Southern Elbe was not completed until the late 15th century, since the area was particularly vulnerable and affected by storm surges.

Focus of the settlement are the elbnahen areas. They include the most fertile marsh ground while followed by a Moor Geest belt to go. Due to the fertility of the soil, a special rural culture trained. The villages are marching hooves villages where the farms are located on the road and begins the land just behind the courts. Characteristic are richly decorated farmhouses and in particular the typical ceremonial gates.


The first mention in writing of the fruit growing on the lower Elbe in the town book of Stade, where on March 25, 1312 by a Pomarium located within the city ( orchard ) of the men of the monastery of Saint George is mentioned. In the 17th century has been grown on 200 ha of orchards. In the second half of the 19th century, the fruit-growing developed the dominant use in space and thus dominated for more than 150 years the area. Today mature on 10,700 ha of apples, cherries, pears and other fruits. 77 percent of the fruit trees in the fruit-growing area Old Country are apples and cherries 12.7 percent.

Throughout the Old Country is a custom spread: In order to protect the widespread cherry trees from predatory birds, mainly before starlings ( in Low German " Spreen " ), provide farmers in the summer months with propane -powered blast equipment (also called " cherry firecracker ", " Spree cannon " or the " Spree guardian " ) in the fruit farms. This replaced since the late 1980s gradually until then mainly used " rattle mills " (small windmills on long poles, the loud rattling noises give ) and the Spree hats with hand clappers and shouting ( spread were, for example, the calls " Hoi hoi hoi "and" Shu shu "). This canon cameras similar cause explosions that are long miles to hear every day up to 15 hours depending on the wind direction. Today this technology is more and more displaced by bird protection nets that are pulled shortly before the start of the cherry season on the rows of trees.

Apple growing in Rübke in the Old Country overlooking Neuenfelde

Apple harvest in Rübke in the Old Country

Application for Tentative List as a World Heritage Site

The Old Country has been nominated as a cultural landscape for the German Tentative List for future UNESCO World Heritage applications in 2012 by the state of Lower Saxony. On June 18, 2012, the Lower Saxony Ministry for Science and Culture announced his decision after a selection process started in 2011. The Standing Conference in 2013 decided against the motion to put the old country to the German Tentativste.

The candidature of the Altes Land reason given was that the landscape is an outstanding example of a high medieval colonization by drainage of the marsh by Dutch settlers. The time -scale linear features of the landscape are well preserved and the associated settlement patterns are complemented by a rich and dense rural buildings. Even today the predominant fruit growing has a continuity from the late Middle Ages. Chances of success in the candidacy hopes the state of Lower Saxony by the fact that the old land belonged to the under-represented categories of cultural landscapes and the rural architecture within the world heritage.