The Western part of the ground is characterised by a historical wall from natural field stones. Because of long-time lack of maintenance the upper part of the wall is damaged. Its rebuilding started in 2018 and, under the guidance of an experiences bricklayer, the volunteers will continue to restore the wall.
Since the manor’s park was long time out of use it is partly still abandoned. The volunteers will continue some of the ren works that had been started during Workcamps in the previous years – they will cut bushes, level the ground, repair fences and construct new paths.
At Gantikow Manor stove heating is used for the cold seasons. Therefore another task for the volunteers will be to cut, split and store fire wood for winter time.
Finally, the participants will support the restoration works from the previous Buidling Week by transporting materials where they are needed – as for example to transport bricks to the roof level to repair chimneys.
shared rooms with beds, warm shower, toilets
The meals will be prepared together as they are part of the community life, what means that every participant will be responsible for the meal at least once during its stay. So it would be very nice if the participants could bring typical recipes from home in order to introduce each other to the preparation of food from all over the world.
Gantikow Manor is situated 100 kilometres north of Berlin. The house is surrounded by a nice village with a medieval church and a lake. The manor is a picturing example of a former baroque building, changed in the late 19th century in neo-baroque style. Over centuries, the houses belonged to the Earls von Platen, which sold it in 1872 to a civil family which started soon, in 1877, with the modernisation of the house and kept it in their ownership till 1945. After World War II, the house was first used as a refugee shelter and after that the community used the house as a village centre, hosting the community office, the local store, the school, the kindergarten, the doctor’s room, the kitchen of the agricultural cooperative and several apartments. With its many rooms the large building is perfect to be used as a Youth Accommodation House.
The house is surrounded by a beautiful park with old trees which reached originally up to the lake.
The camp places are mostly situated in small villages in rural areas, so the participants should not expect busy places and normal city activities for the leisure time during the working days. Small trips in walking distance are possible in the afternoon. On the weekends it is possible to organise an excursion to nearby cities or to have other leisure activities.
The history of Open Houses Network dates back to the mid-1980s, when a group of young people started to restore village churches in East Germany in voluntary work to protect them from decay. The engagement for these buildings united people who enjoyed the freedom these activities provided and who filled these rooms with life again in ways which by far exceed the craftsmen’s work done – through exhibitions, concerts, making music together or just sitting by the camp fire.
Meanwhile, rooms free of political and ideological pressure are no longer urgently required; however, places have become rare where people can meet without commercial pressure, free of bureaucracy and institutionalism, free of nepotism and the exclusion which it produces. What should be easy – to go somewhere in order to meet people and to work together – has become difficult. The tightrope walk between, on the one hand, public activities in a monetary and functional sense, and the retreat into private life on the other, is very difficult, and it requires a lot of power and permanent efforts to tackle red tape and financial restrictions.
Free spaces are less and less understood as common property, and are permanently being cut back. The idea of public property seems to have gone out of fashion, and places of common responsible work have become rare.
Open Houses Network tries to create and protect such spaces. In this process, we do not want to be the do-ers, but be people who have a vision, who want to initiate something, but who also are aware of depending on the co-operation of others. We understand our projects and events as offers – as offers to create space for commitment, for changes, for meetings.