The former park surrounding the manor house had been unused and abandoned for decades. Year by year, Open Houses brings back to life another part of the huge garden area. Also this year the gardening and cleaning works at the historical park will be continued. The participants will mow the lawn, cut bushes and trees and reconstruct paths. In the back part of the park that is still an inaccessible wilderness they will sort out stones to use them later for walls or paths and level the ground. In addition they will replace the old, broken fence by a new one.
Beside that the volunteers will carry out small handcraft works as repair a storage house for fire wood, paint fences and similar tasks.
common sleeping room with mattresses,
warm shower and 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.
Dammerow Manor is located between Berlin and the Baltic Sea and surrounded by nature reserves with many fields, woods, ponds and rivers. The Manor is a very interesting brick building from 1892/93 with a beautiful interior. The walls are covered with clay and painted with lime casein paint. The historical wooden floor planks are revealed and renovated. Most of the rooms are equipped with historical furniture, what gives the house a magnificent attraction.
The manor house is surrounded by a huge former park with old trees. A stone-oven invites to experience conventional bakery and the fireplace assures nice evenings in the nature. The sports area with a football-ground and volleyball-net is just beside. The participants can also enjoy their leisure time discovering the Mecklenburg Lake District. This place is ideal for having a great summer.
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.