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Governance and digitalisation of fortress heritage in the City of Magdeburg

Peer review
By Platform
Fortress in Magdeburg

On 13 and 14 September 2023, the Policy Learning Platform held an onsite peer review for the City of Magdeburg, which requested advice regarding their policy challenge on governance and protection of fortress heritage and to obtain guidance on where to go with this cultural treasure


    The main challenges
    • How to improve cooperation on fortress heritage between administrative bodies and among external stakeholders?
    • How to reach a wider audience and how to make the fortress heritage more tangible through digitalisation?
    Peers from across Europe

    Alongside the Platform thematic experts Magda Michaliková and Astrid Severin, five excellent peers participated in the peer review:


    To date, Magdeburg has carried out a number of initiatives to boost the restoration and use of its fortified heritage. Many interesting projects around the city, often steered by highly motivated volunteers, are already in place and can be built upon.

    Now the city aspires to implement a framework for fortified heritage linking the fortress sites

    • Physically:  through trails and itineraries
    • Digitally: using apps, data, and social media
    • Visually: developing a common branding, signage, certificates, etc.
    • Orally: through storytelling and using a common narrative

    The recommendations of the peer review will be reflected in the Masterplan of Magdeburg:

    • Co-create a vision statement that outlines your long-term goals and aspirations for the future of fortified heritage in Magdeburg
    • Develop clear, specific and measurable objectives
    • Create a common branding and a narrative
    • Establish a unique selling proposition
    • Define the target audiences i.e. public and private organisations involved in heritage and environment, scientists, artists, schools (teachers and pupils), volunteers
    • Enhance visibility of fortified heritage
    • Embrace your local history – Prussians
    • Choose a neutral character (mascot) to tell the story
    • Establish a legal entity with a steering committee (i.e. European economic interest group) to oversee the governance of heritage
    • Build trust (among stakeholders, between volunteers and professionals)
    • Provide a platform for the stakeholders and for public participation
    • Enhance cross-departmental governance, regional cooperation
    • Support volunteers through employment workshops, PR support, professional consultations, formal agreements and grants
    • Invite citizens to co-create, co-design, test ideas and provide feedback
    • Use posters, pitch presentations and an iterative consulting approach
    • Regularly work with researchers, students and artists to have new and fresh ideas
    • Develop a digitalisation strategy – reuse models that were done already
    • Collect metadata and merge them into a wider network
    • Record everything: you can’t value what you don’t know
    • Use of different digital tools – digital reconstruction of lost heritage, 3D models, photogrammetry, 360 virtual visits, projection onto sites, videos, apps, VR, social media plan, etc.
    • Historical reconstruction based on old maps, use of GIS
    • Projections on the walls of the fortifications
    • Use digital tools to create an exhibition/roadshow i.e. for schools

    The host’s policy challenges, and all the peer suggestions will be published shortly in the follow-up report. 

    Host and peer experiences

    The host and peers expressed to be pleased with the outcome of two full days of intense discussions moderated by the Policy Learning Platform. Take a look at their experiences below. 


    I am amazed by the knowledge and ideas that you have shared with us. You really expanded our horizon and boosted our motivation with your passion and energy. We had many different ideas already, but the Peer Review helped to see the red line and provided a clearer focus. That is very important for our work.

    Josephine Kroneberg


    We obtained many good ideas through the peer review and at the same time, it confirmed that we are on the right track. The peer review put the many different ideas and approaches into a system, a framework. We hope to stay in contact with you.

    Stephan Herrmann


    We have all been growing and learning in this peer review process. A big thank you that we have been able to come here and experience the Magdeburg fortresses. It feels like they have become our fortresses as well.

    Irene Ruiz Bazán

    Participate to 3 projects
    People speaking at event

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    Cultural heritage