The city of Speyer is one of the oldest in Germany. In 1990, the 50,000 inhabitants of this city on the upper Rhine in Rhineland-Palatinate celebrated its 2,000 year anniversary. For us, the Cathedral immediately springs to mind when anyone hears the name Speyer. But there are also people who do not know about this wonderful and historic Cathedral. For me it difficult to imagine that, but that’s why I am here. I would like to take you on a brief tour of our history, and afterwards, you will certainly understand why we have decided that a model of the Speyer Cathedral should be sent to MANN+HUMMEL’s new technology centre in Ludwigsburg. A time capsule will be exhibited there with donated items representing every MANN+HUMMEL location worldwide to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the company. What could be more typical of our region than the Cathedral of Speyer? Find out for yourself.
The largest Romanesque church in the world
Construction of Speyer Cathedral started almost 1,000 years ago. When it began in 1025 there were just 500 people living in Speyer. The aim of the Salian kings and, later, Emperor Conrad II was to create the largest church in the western world. After the first building phase was completed in 1061, the population of Speyer had increased tenfold. The Cathedral was finally completed in 1106. Subsequent centuries saw restoration work (1689), alterations (1756-1778) and the construction of a new facade (1854-58). Today the Cathedral in Speyer is the oldest surviving Romanesque church in the world.
With a total length of 134 meters (435.5 feet) and a height of 71.20 meters (231.5 feet) (eastern spires), the Cathedral dominates the whole city. I am one of the lucky people who can even enjoy a view of the Speyer Cathedral from home. It is located just 10 minutes by foot from my place. If I look out of my dining room window, I can see this wonderful building; I can see it even better from my bathroom. Who has such a wonderful view from their home? Not all my colleagues enjoy this privilege because the industrial area in which our factory is based is unfortunately a bit too far away.
However, the employees of MANN+HUMMEL have an equally impressive architectural structure on the company site in Speyer; our office building really draws attention to it, and that is not just my personal opinion, but also one held by politicians: “In Speyer there are two outstanding structures – the new MANN+HUMMEL office building and the Speyer Cathedral”. That was said with a twinkle in his eye by the then Rhineland-Palatinate Economics Minister– Rainer Bruederle – during his speech at the inauguration of our tri-cylindrical office building.
Millions of visitors pour annually into Speyer
The comparison is, of course, very flattering, but the Speyer Cathedral has one advantage over our office complex; it has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1981. In addition, it is a protected cultural property under the Hague convention. MANN+HUMMEL and the Cathedral have, however, a decisive similarity: Both institutions are leaders of our city and cannot be separated from Speyer. There are more than one million visitors to the Cathedral annually – some to attend the great concerts which MANN+HUMMEL makes possible through its sponsorship activities. I can only appeal to readers and visitors to visit our beautiful city. Our office building and our cathedral are well worth visiting.
Follow in the footsteps of Pope John Paul II and George Bush Senior
Numerous famous people have been here and were able to view the impressive church. These included state visitors such as former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Margaret Thatcher, George H.W. Bush, Boris Yeltsin, Mikhail Gorbachev and King Juan Carlos. Moreover, Pope John Paul II has been in Speyer in May 1987 during his five-day visit to Germany. Add your name to the famous visitor list. In addition to the classic Cathedral tour, you can safely view the airy heights of the church on ropes. This admittedly demands much courage but you will be rewarded with a magnificent view. If you are in town, come and visit our location. The Cathedral is as much a part of life to Speyer as MANN+HUMMEL to its employees.