Lübeck's old town was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987. On the old town island there are more than 1,400 registered monuments that must be preserved and protected. From 1950 to the present day, the Possehl Foundation has contributed well over fifty million euros to the preservation and shaping of the architectural diversity of Lübeck's old town.
Characteristic for the Lübeck city image are what are called the Rippenstraßen, the slightly curving streets that run from the center of the old town to the waterside forming the old town island leading around the market place, the town hall and St. Mary's church. They are arranged in a parallel pattern, like ribs. Their names are centuries old and often refer to the artisans who had settled there in the Middle Ages, such as Fleischhauerstraße [Butcher’s Street] or Glockengießerstraße [Bell Founders' Street]. Most of the houses on these streets are under monument preservation orders. And yet, there is no museum atmosphere here. On the contrary: the unique architecture attracts both business owners and visitors. Here, the life of the city vibrates with many small attractive shops and cafés – a lively counterweight to the interchangeable image of many city centers with their endless chain stores. The preservation of these streets is costly, and the Possehl Foundation supports the restoration of historic building fabric in accordance with the guidelines for historical monuments. The preservation of "Lübeck's Seven Spires", Lübeck’s five old town churches, is a further commitment of the Foundation.
Lübeck’s social welfare institutions include charitable courtyard housing, poorhouses and homes for the afflicted, whose origins date back to the Middle Ages. They were all financed by the charitable foundations of wealthy citizens.
Lübeck’s most magnificent and biggest charitable courtyard housing is the Füchtingshof: Councillor Johann Füchting donated it in 1639. The garden-like courtyard with its two- and three-storey houses offered these people a place of their own in the middle of the city center. The houses in this estate are still to this day rented to single women in need of help in accordance with the Charter. For statutory reasons, the level of rent is kept below the rates for social housing.
The Possehl Foundation has funded the restoration of the historically significant estate.
Lübeck's old town architecture is usually associated with medieval brick Gothic. In the following centuries, however, the owners of the houses "transformed" the majority of the buildings to fit contemporary tastes. At Fleischhauerstraße 16, the Biedermeier era characterizes the interior and exterior of the house at the present time. In around 1780, the two-storey eaves house was plastered with an attractive late Rococo style façade. The Possehl Foundation has provided support for a color scheme in keeping with the requirements of historical monuments with plastering and stucco work as well as the installation of new windows.