The beauty of the city

In 1987 the old town of Lübeck was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. On the old town island there are more than 1,400 listed buildings, which all have to be maintained and preserved. The Possehl Foundation provides financial support for the historically appropriate refurbishment of many listed buildings. Another of the Foundation’s commitments is the preservation of “Lübeck’s Seven Spires” on the five churches in the old town. From 1950 to the present day the Possehl Foundation has contributed over €60 million to preserving and shaping the architectural diversity of Lübeck’s old town.

7 Spires – 7 Years – 7 million Euros

Lübeck’s silhouette is dominated by the seven spires of the five churches on the old town island. They can be seen from a long way off. Once you get into the town centre, one of these five monumental churches seems to be standing around every corner. St. Mary’s, Lübeck Cathedral, St. James's, St. Peter’s and St. Giles’s all fit onto an area of some 110 hectares, or 272 acres.

The seven spires bear witness to the history of the city, to the time of the Hanse, when self-assured merchants and a powerful clergy tried to outdo each other with the construction of imposing churches. But they are also testimony to the fighting and destruction of the Second World War to which they serve as a memorial to this day. The churches of Lübeck are an attraction for visitors, and for the residents they often form an inseparable part of the town and of their own identity.

Preserving these churches is a task for generations, which goes well beyond the usual maintenance work. The Evangelical Lutheran Church District of Lübeck-Lauenburg, which includes the parishes in the town centre, is responsible for this huge undertaking. It acts not only for its own benefit, but also in the interest of the wider urban community, helping to preserve our cultural heritage. It has to proceed carefully, always consulting with the Listed Buildings and Town Planning Department, with the individual parishes and with municipal and regional politicians. A special foundation, “7 Spires+”, has been established to raise and distribute funds for this purpose.

Restoration of a historic house in Hüxtertorallee

As the owners told us: “The restoration of a historic building in a state of not inconsiderable dilapidation makes great demands of the owner’s nerves, patience, physical capacities and budget, but we are still glad to have undertaken this project and are very proud that our house now contributes to the beauty of the city of Lübeck.”

This charming property was built in 1876 outside the Lübeck city gates and is a perfect example of the joys and tribulations awaiting private owners of listed buildings. The decision to buy and renovate a house like this is generally driven by a fair portion of idealism. At the outset people are often not aware of the stamina it requires. At the same time, the owners are making a contribution to the beauty of the city of Lübeck.

When the owners bought the house in 2016 it was in a terrible condition. After they had carried out the initial preparatory investigations it became clear that there was a lot more work to be done to restore it than had originally been thought. They uncovered and identified the character of the building and restored it to its last integral form.

With great patience and an eye for detail they have created a real jewel in the urban environment, with a new slate roof, the historical garden wall and refurbished ornamental brackets known as modillions under the eaves.


Possehl Foundation Lübeck

Beckergrube 38 – 52
D-23552 Lübeck
E-Mail: possehl-stiftung(at)
Tel.: +49 (0)451 148-200

Find Out More

Our publications

More about the Foundation

Here you can find our annual reports, Emil Possehl’s will, our art catalogues and publications to mark the 100th jubilee of the foundation.


Emil's bequest

Our articles of association

The Foundation only supports non-profit and charitable causes and “promotes all that is good and beautiful in Lübeck”.