Activities of the Foundation Pro Kloster St. Johann in Müstair

Up to the late 1990’s the main focus of the foundation’s activities was on restoration and repair work. This was carried out in stages within an established timetable, bringing about an improvement in the living conditions of the nuns, as well as optimising the agricultural infrastructure, which is one of the convent’s main sources of income. Today restoration focuses on individual projects, which is particularly attractive to those donors who like to know precisely for what purpose their donation is being used.

There were major changes in 1983 when the Convent of St. John, together with the Old City of Berne and the Convent of St. Gall, was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. As a result the appeal of this cultural monument became known to a wider public, bringing about a much-appreciated increase in visitor numbers, but also opening up new horizons for the foundation. Support for the convent must now invevitably extend further afield regionally and even cross-border

In 2008, when the Rhaetian Railway line between Thusis and Tirano was also included in the list of World Heritage sites, efforts were focused on the search for synergies between the convent and touristic development. Greater importance was now given to communication and information. By providing a varied programme to arouse public awareness of the Convent of St. John the current director of communications, Elke Larcher-Gasperi, has established a close collaboration with the media as well as with individuals and institutions interested in the convent’s development.

Since 2010 the Val Müstair has been recognised by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve, providing a buffer zone and transition area to the core zone of the Swiss National Park; this has also increased the foundation’s range of responsibilities. As well as this, new political structures in Val Müstair, plans to alter the road that runs close to the convent and adaptations in the area of agricultural production have all meant that the support activities of the foundation have to increasingly address a broader spectrum. Agricultural policy influences such as the future of milk and cheese production in Val Müstair could have a direct and possibly even negative effect on the convent’s income. In order to establish a basis of evaluation, the foundation has requested an expert opinion.

With the aim of maintaining and developing Müstair as a research site, a corresponding arrangement has been made with the University of Berne’s Institute of Art History.