Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Preparation and Application of Traditional Lime Mortar

Knowledge about the use and production of lime mortar has been passed on for generations by working together. The building material lime mortar has long been used for many different purposes, e.g. for plastering and grouting, as basis for mosaics and as carrier for lime paintings or decorative wall coatings. Depending on the various fields of application, different mixtures of lime mortar exist.

Facts & figures

Crucial date: all seasons
Inscription: 2016
Domains: knowledge and practice concerning nature and the universe; traditional craftsmanship
Where to find: nationwide (and abroad)


Kalknetzwerk e.V.
Karola König

At first, collected limestones are burned with wood in a pit, quenched with water and finally mixed with sand. The mortar is then refined by the addition of further substances in order to achieve the desired quality. Substances like animal hair, wine, charcoal, ash, straw etc. can be used.

The expansion of transport routes and trade connections led to a lively exchange of different lime regions, whereby the knowledge about lime mortar was constantly expanded. However, in the course of the 20th century, the use of lime mortar was reduced to the area of restoration. User friendliness and cost relevance were of major interest and therefore mainly industrially produced lime mortar was used.

Since the end of the twentieth century, the traditional knowledge about lime mortar is being revived in the course of the building-biologic movement. In connection with new forms of construction, the demand for this traditional craftsmanship is growing. Especially craftsmen who are united in a lime-network, strive to preserve the tradition and knowledge of lime mortar. Thus, workshops are given, e.g. on participatory construction sites, to mediate traditional production and use of lime mortar. In many universities, the topic of lime mortar is elaborated and some training centers are also interested in including classes about lime mortar in their curriculum.


Wissen. Können. Weitergeben..
Deutsche UNESCO-Kommission, 2019