Under the motto "Allotment gardens: Diversity that inspires!" many allotment gardeners all over Germany again celebrated the Day of the Garden on 11 June 2023 with open gardens, festivities and activities for young and old and with guests from politics and administration.
Apart from a great biological diversity, it is above all the social and cultural diversity that characterises allotment gardening in Germany. Many millions of people of different generations, social backgrounds and countries of origin get involved year after year. In the 13,500 or so allotment garden associations organised under the umbrella of the BDG, they ensure that these green oases remain places that are hard to beat in terms of diversity.
At the suggestion of the BDG, the day has been celebrated since 1984, always on the second Sunday in June. Traditionally, each year one of the 20 regional associations organised in the BDG takes over the organisation of the central nationwide kick-off event for the green holiday weekend. This year there were even two: the Rhineland federation of allotment gardeners and the Westphalia and Lippe federation of allotment gardeners. Special occasion: Both federations additionally celebrated their 100th federation anniversary!
In the "Bunten Garten" in Mönchengladbach the two chairmen of the regional federations, Rolf Rosendahl (LV Westphalia and Lippe) and Michael Franssen (LV Rhineland) opened the festive event. The Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Hendrik Wüst gave his video greeting and his appreciation for the allotment garden movement: "The allotment garden movement in North Rhine-Westphalia has constitutional status. This position is unique in the whole federal state." Dirk Sielmann, president of the BDG, underlined the important role of allotment gardens for urban development and the mayor of the city of Mönchengladbach, Josephine Gauselmann, in turn emphasized the interactive power of allotment gardens in her greeting.
The numerous guests from all over Germany were offered a colourful programme for young and old with specialist information, a "market of opportunities" with partners of the organised allotment garden movement, musical entertainment and various hands-on activities. A special highlight: the donation of a red maple for the colourful garden by the two regional federations and the joint planting of the tree with guests from the federation and from regional and local politics.
An extremely successful celebration of the diversity and continuing invaluable value of allotment gardening!
Eva Foos, BDG
Pictures: Hans-Peter Reichartz
The BDG as the umbrella organisation of allotment garden associations in Germany is getting a new federal centre in Berlin. This federal centre will be an open house with event rooms and an exhibition on the future development of allotment gardens in the light of climate change. After its completion all interested allotment garden associations are invited to visit the house and the exhibition.
It was foreseeable that the BDG would have to move out of its current premises. Either way, a new location had to be found, which ideally should also go hand in hand with new possibilities for the political representation of interests. The concept that the BDG then developed fell on receptive ears in the budget committee of the Bundestag and could be perfectly combined with the goal of the federal government to establish and promote an innovative timber construction method in Germany with concrete projects. The new Federal Centre has already become an important reference project for other future buildings made of wood, including the planned new construction of parts of the Federal Ministry of Finance.
After the topping-out ceremony on 11 November 2022, the new federal centre of the German allotment garden associations is now entering the decisive phase. If everything goes according to plan, the opening of the new house will take place in autumn this year and in 2024 the exhibition will gradually be ready and the federal centre will be open to the public. The outdoor area will be used by the German Schreber Youth as a "green classroom" for cooperation with schools, for example. All in all, this will open up completely new possibilities for the allotment garden movement in Germany to represent its political interests in the federal capital. In view of climate change and species extinction, it is all the more important to show the contribution of the 900,000 allotment gardens to the preservation of the green infrastructure.
Thomas Stölting, BDG
Image copyright: BDG, Gelhaar
The Federal Allotment Garden Law (BKleingG), as the foundation of the nationwide allotment garden movement, has laid down the uniform framework conditions for allotment gardens in Germany since it came into force on 1 April 1983.
The regulations for allotment gardening in Germany have now been in place for 40 years. In particular, the protection against dismissal ensures green cities in the sense of environmental justice. And social justice is reflected in the favourable conditions for leasing an allotment garden. The rent for an allotment garden is also moderate, based on the local rent for commercial fruit and vegetable cultivation. This makes allotment gardening a comparatively inexpensive hobby. In addition, the BKleingG guarantees that allotment gardeners receive permanent leases that cannot simply be terminated.
In addition to all these advantages for tenants, they are also required to observe a few rules when managing their allotment gardens. These rules are not the strictest and they are not difficult to observe. They include, among other things, the cultivation of fruit and vegetables, which is a must for the use of an allotment garden in the sense of allotment gardening. As a rule, you also have to keep to the maximum area of 24m² that can be built over and simple equipment for the arbour - because permanent living is not allowed here, as the focus is clearly on gardening.
The sum of the provisions of the BKleingG and the rules made locally in federations and associations fulfil their purposes and are ultimately to the benefit of all. About 13,500 non-profit allotment garden associations, 500 city, district, county and regional federations and 20 regional federations ensure that allotment garden sites are a permanent part of the public green space system. They give the allotment gardening community the good feeling of having found in their allotment gardens a safe place of permanent existence where people can feel free and fully enjoy and live out the benefits of one of the most popular hobbies nationwide. Thus, with a great deal of commitment and heart and soul, fruit and vegetables of all kinds are grown in hundreds of thousands of allotment gardens to provide for themselves. The protection of the BKleingG also makes it possible for the large allotment community to make a lasting contribution to climate resilience and biodiversity on more than 44,000 ha of land in the country, both in urban and rural areas. Ultimately, each individual contributes to the preservation and continuation of allotment gardens in our towns and cities despite increasing competition for land use. So use and enjoy the freedoms that the federal allotment garden law has offered you for over 40 years.
Sandra von Rekowski, BDG