Prime Minister Horst Seehofer and Cardinal Marx at the miners' festival in Berchtesgaden on Whit Monday
In 1517, the great history of Germany's oldest still active salt mine began.The traditional miners' festival on 5 June was the highlight of the 500th anniversary celebrations of the Berchtesgaden salt mine.6,000 visitors lined the streets of Berchtesgaden and cheered the colourful parade of the seven processions with over 2,300 participants.Drummers, horse-drawn carriages, shooting clubs, the Berchtesgaden market band, horse-drawn carriages, the Südwestdeutsche Salzwerke mountain band, the Dürrnberg miners' band, the Maria Gern music band, the Maria Alm traditional music band, the Königssee music band and the Marktschellenberg music band paraded through Berchtesgaden market to the Kur- and Kongresshaus after the church service on the stage in front of the collegiate church, passing good-humoured visitors and residents alike.Beforehand, an open-air festival service of a special kind took place in front of the imposing backdrop of the castle and collegiate church.A diverse picture of processions, flag delegations, a large guild candelabrum, the processional flag, the candle for the jubilee year 2017 and an open-air altar decorated with mining tools in the heart of Berchtesgaden presented itself to the many guests and visitors.In keeping with the 500th anniversary, Reinhard Cardinal Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising, celebrated the praise and thanksgiving service together with Berchtesgaden's parish priest Dr Thomas Frauenlob.In his subsequent greetings to his miners, mining engineer Wolfgang Rüther, technical director of Südwestdeutsche Salzwerke AG, to which the salt mine belongs, emphasised “that today, for the first time, female employees of the mine are also taking part in the pageant in their miners’ clothes”.Afterwards, Prince Leopold of Bavaria, representing the Wittelsbach dynasty, addressed his greetings to the many miners and visitors.After all, in 1810, under his great-great-great-grandfather Maximilian I Joseph, the first Bavarian king, Berchtesgaden was successfully incorporated into the Kingdom of Bavaria and, alongside Reichenhall, Berchtesgaden was created as a second Bavarian salt production site.Prince Leopold thus congratulated the Berchtesgaden Salt Mine on this significant anniversary, its special traditions and its technical excellence.He particularly emphasised the hard work of the miners, “without whom all these many years would not have been possible at all”.The destination of the subsequent one-hour procession was the Kur- und Kongresshaus.In his opening speech at the ceremony, Ulrich Fluck, Spokesman of the Executive Board of Südwestdeutsche Salzwerke AG, emphasised above all the close link with the saltworks in Bad Reichenhall, whereby “the success of our Bad Reichenhaller table salt brand is thus also a guarantee for the continued existence of the mine”.The highlight in the festival hall, which was packed with more than 2,500 guests, was the marching in of Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer with the obligatory Defilier march followed by a speech.In it, he made clear the importance of the salt mine for the entire region.Also that 500 years of uninterrupted salt mining would not have been possible without excellent leadership with the greatest possible appreciation for the employees.Seehofer would not be Seehofer without clearly pointing out the economic power of Bavaria and thus also the Berchtesgaden region as a popular holiday region.Finally, the Bavarian Minister President emphasised the valuable contribution of Berchtesgaden and salt to Bavaria's prosperity.The whole event was charmingly presented by BR veteran Markus Othmer and musically accompanied by the Dürrnberg miners’ music band led by bandmaster Hans Ebner and the Berchtesgaden music band led by Michael Kunz.
Guests of honour at the ceremony, among others:
- Prime Minister Horst Seehofer with his wife
- Minister of State Dr. Marcel Huber with his wife
- S.Prince Leopold of Bavaria
- Andrea Degl Vice President of the Government of Upper Bavaria
- Dr.Peter Ramsauer
- MP Michaela Kaniber
- District Administrator Georg Grabner
- Mayor Franz Rasp
- Mayors from the region
- Company representatives and Supervisory Board of the Südwestdeutsche Salzwerke AG like Lord Mayor of Heilbronn Harry Mergel (to which the Berchtesgaden salt mine belongs)
- Prominent figures from sport and society such as Hackl Schorsch
Group picture released From left to right:Raimund Bartl (Operations Manager Salt Mine), Wolfgang Rüther (Executive Board Südwestdeutsche Salzwerke AG), Pastor Dr Thomas Frauenlob, Ulrich Fluck (Spokesman of the Executive Board Südwestdeutsche Salzwerke AG), Dr Marcel Huber, Prince Leopold of Bavaria
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