The Deutsche Manufakturenstraße


Deutsche Manu­fak­turen­straße was founded in 2017 to demon­strate the cultural diver­sity of artisan produc­tion in Germany.

The fact that the work of the clas­sical manu­fac­to­ries largely belongs to our cultural heritage — such as, for example, the “inven­tion” of Euro­pean porce­lain in Meissen — who would doubt that. But precisely for this reason it is surprising that although “trom­bone choirs”, midwifery or “playing the skat” have been included by the German UNESCO Commis­sion in the nation­wide list of tradi­tions, customs and cultural sites, so far hardly any hand­i­crafts of manu­fac­to­ries have been included. In the 68 items on the national list, there are just two sites that refer to manu­fac­to­ries: the blue­print prac­tised in Upper Lusatia and, only since last year, porce­lain painting. Porce­lain painting is a centuries-old craft in Germany.

Frank Leder, Look­book, ‘Walz’

The passing on and preser­va­tion of this complex knowl­edge still takes place at isolated loca­tions. In the 18th century, three of the most impor­tant manu­fac­to­ries in Germany were founded and are still active today: The Porzel­lan­man­u­faktur in Meißen, the Porzel­lan­man­u­faktur des Bayerischen Königshauses in Nymphen­burg and the Königliche Porzellan-Manu­faktur Berlin (KPM). These tradi­tional lines, in which a specific craft tech­nique is region­ally rooted, culti­vated for a long time and further devel­oped to this day, can also be found else­where. The knowl­edge of manu­fac­to­ries must be protected and “lived”; for this reason, the Deutsche Manu­fak­turen­straße, a member of the network, is currently collecting prac­tical exam­ples of poten­tially protectable hand­i­crafts in order to repre­sent the contri­bu­tion of manu­fac­to­ries to our intan­gible cultural heritage more strongly at UNESCO.

Vick­er­mann & Stoya, Maßar­beit an Schuhen

Manu­fak­turen­straße as a living archive

Deutsche Manu­fak­turen­straße is an almost 2500 km long adven­ture road, which leads along four routes to the most impor­tant manu­fac­to­ries in Germany. The routes stretch from the Baltic Sea to Lake Constance and touch all 16 federal states. Such manu­fac­to­ries, their activ­i­ties and their role in the region have so far received too little atten­tion in Germany. The things that surround us are impor­tant. Espe­cially today, in the digital era, we are even more consciously aware of the concrete envi­ron­ment that surrounds us — the house, the table, the flower vase. We realize how much objects shape our quality of life. Today, we suffer not from a lack, but from too much. In this respect, the choice of what surrounds us is consti­tu­tive. As a counter-model to the uniform, and above all effi­cient, produc­tion methods of indus­trial mass produc­tion, manu­fac­to­ries do not produce for the throw­away society, but for the “small batch”. Special prod­ucts of excep­tional quality. Careful crafts­man­ship that is diffi­cult to copy and can hardly be produced in large series at a compa­rable level. These high-quality prod­ucts are not luxury in the sense of wasteful opulence. Rather, their value and beauty should be under­stood as a natural alter­na­tive to mass produc­tion. They enrich our lives in which their use goes beyond their imme­diate func­tion.


The prod­ucts of manu­fac­to­ries are the result of human knowl­edge and skill, an expres­sion of inven­tive­ness and tradi­tional crafts­man­ship. They convey iden­tity. The knowl­edge of manu­fac­tory produc­tion is passed on from gener­a­tion to gener­a­tion and contin­u­ously redesigned. The Deutsche Manu­fak­turen­straße was founded to preserve the cultural forms of expres­sion of the manu­fac­tory system that exist in Germany.

André von Martens

Deutsche Manu­fak­turen­straße shows German crafts­man­ship as one of the most impor­tant compo­nents of Germany’s cultural heritage. The country has numerous outstanding manu­fac­to­ries that produce at the highest level. The reason for this lies in the histor­ical tradi­tion of German crafts­man­ship. The training from appren­tice to jour­neyman to master craftsman is unique in the world, so that a broad access to tradi­tional knowl­edge and a great depth of focus are achieved, making the craft one of the most inno­v­a­tive economic sectors in the country. The Deutsche Manu­fak­turen­straße is committed to ensuring that manu­fac­to­ries in Germany are recog­nised, protected and promoted as impor­tant imma­te­rial cultural assets. It has set itself the task of main­taining and keeping alive a tech­ni­cally and aesthet­i­cally high quality produc­tion. Through events, initia­tives and projects such as the “Ark of Things” — an archive of prod­ucts and produc­tion methods threat­ened with disap­pear­ance — the Deutsche Manu­fak­turen­straße works to preserve the cultural heritage of the manu­fac­to­ries. It also promotes respon­sible produc­tion in the sense of ecolog­ical, economic and social sustain­ability, in which tradi­tional crafts­man­ship and the possi­bil­i­ties of the present and future are combined.

Kunst­gießerei Lauch­hammer

Deutsche Manu­fak­turen­straße is an initia­tive that works to ensure that manu­fac­to­ries in Germany are recog­nised, protected and promoted as impor­tant imma­te­rial cultural assets. These imma­te­rial cultural assets include human knowl­edge and ability, inven­tive­ness and tradi­tional crafts­man­ship. These are often region­ally shaped and rooted and are passed on and further devel­oped from gener­a­tion to gener­a­tion. They are thus a source of iden­tity.

Look­book Look, Frank Leder

In today’s age of indus­trial mass produc­tion and constant digital devel­op­ment, tradi­tional craft busi­nesses and manu­fac­to­ries look like dinosaurs: outdated and threat­ened with extinc­tion. At the same time, there is a longing for high-quality prod­ucts that are produced region­ally and under econom­i­cally, ecolog­i­cally and socially fair condi­tions. Deutsche Manu­fak­turen­straße uses this trend to stand up for the manu­fac­to­ries. Through tourism, events and publi­ca­tions, it supports selected German manu­fac­to­ries and makes them acces­sible to a wider public.

Weingut Mueller-Catoir

At the same time, Deutsche Manu­fak­turen­straße is a commu­nity of inter­ests and ensures greater networking between the manu­fac­to­ries. It researches the needs of its members and repre­sents them to poli­tics and the public.