Chamber of Crafts South Westphalia

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Villa Cosack, today the seat of the Chamber of Crafts

The South Westphalia Chamber of Crafts , based in Arnsberg, is one of 53 chambers of crafts in the Federal Republic of Germany. Until 2007 it was called the Arnsberg Chamber of Crafts


The Chamber of Crafts in South Westphalia was founded as the Arnsberg Chamber of Crafts after a law had been passed in 1897 that was to be formed as public bodies to represent the craft . The law came into force on April 1, 1900. The constituent meeting of the Arnsberg Chamber of Crafts took place on April 25, 1900. Responsibility extended to the then eight districts in South Westphalia. The chamber was subordinate to the district president and until 1929 a state commissioner attended the meetings. In one of the first meetings, membership in compulsory guilds was decided. There were 61 compulsory guilds, 18 free guilds and 21 craftsmen's associations with 5,112 members in the chamber district. In 1901, the first Westphalian Chamber of Crafts was held together with the chambers in Münster and Dortmund . The third event of this kind took place in Arnsberg in 1903. In 1904 a proof of work and a death benefit were established. In 1906, on the occasion of the silver wedding anniversary of the imperial couple, the "Kaiser Wilhelm Augusta Viktoria Foundation", which still exists today, was established for craftsmen in need, their widows and orphans. In 1911 an exhibition for craft, trade and agriculture was held in Arnsberg. A year later, the chamber received the status of an authority.

During the First World War, the chamber participated in the organization of the war economy . She placed military contracts and tried to counteract the labor problem. In 1918, the Chamber's sickness benefit fund was merged with other funds to form a large fund, which later became Signal Insurance . In the post-war period, twelve chambers merged to form the West German Chamber of Crafts and Crafts, based in Düsseldorf . In 1924 the building, which is still in use today, was acquired as a business office. Since 1929, all independent craftsmen had the right to vote for the Chamber of Crafts. At the beginning of Nazi rule , the chamber was brought into line . A new board was installed, which led the chamber according to the leader principle , and the general assembly was no longer called and later abolished. With the dissolution of the German Chamber of Crafts and Commerce in 1942, the Arnsberg Chamber of Crafts was transferred to the Dortmund Gauwirtschaftskammer.

After the end of the Second World War, the Allied military authorities appointed the master craftsman Fritz Fries , later President of the Government, as President of the Arnsberg and Dortmund chambers. In the first post-war period, it was important to supply companies with raw materials. Since the currency reform , vocational training has become a central task of the chamber. In the 1950s a vocational training center was founded in Eslohe with the name "School of Crafts for the Arnsberg Chamber of Crafts". In 1968, the first construction phase of a further education center was opened in Arnsberg. This was expanded more and more in the following decades, as was the case in Eslohe.


The chamber is located in the South Westphalia region and has its seat in Arnsberg . Until June 2007 the official name was "Arnsberg Chamber of Crafts". Since then it has been called the South Westphalia Chamber of Crafts in order to do justice to the extensive chamber area. The chamber district includes the Hochsauerlandkreis , the Märkische Kreis , the Olpe district and the Siegen-Wittgenstein district . There are a total of 12,045 craft and craft-like businesses with around 60,000 employees including 5,111 trainees in 2,763 training centers (as of December 31, 2017). In the chamber district, the craft is organized in three district craft associations Hochsauerland, Märkischer Kreis and Westphalia-Süd for the districts of Olpe and Siegen-Wittgenstein with five branches and 77 guilds.

The South Westphalia Chamber of Crafts is a member of the West German Chamber of Crafts as the umbrella organization of the chambers of crafts in North Rhine-Westphalia and the Central Association of German Crafts. In addition, it belongs to the Central-West region, a joint initiative of ten chambers of industry and commerce from the regional triangle of North Rhine-Westphalia / Hesse / Rhineland-Palatinate and the chambers of craftsmanship in South Westphalia and Kassel. The initiative aims to make the interests of this economic area clear, to bundle them and to represent them more effectively towards the federal states, the federal government and the European Union.


First and foremost is the representation of the interests of the member companies. The Chamber of Crafts actively supports the economic and organizational interests for the benefit of its members and sees itself as a mouthpiece for their concerns. She is effectively involved in the interests of small and medium-sized companies through her work in both municipal and supraregional committees and personal contacts with politics.

As an organ of self-administration, the Chamber of Crafts acts independently. However, it also takes on tasks from the state, such as keeping the handicrafts register and the list of handicraft-like trades (Annex A, B1 and B2 of the law on the regulation of handicrafts HwO). Many requirements would not be able to be met without the voluntary commitment of the members with which they serve the common good, be it in the general assembly, in the vocational training committee or in an examination committee.

Advice offer

Another central task of the Chamber of Crafts is to offer comprehensive advisory services. These services are free of charge for member companies - as are a large number of current information events. The focus is on business advice, technical advice, advice on technology transfer issues and training advice. Since November 2008, the Chamber of Crafts has been offering events under the name Akademie Handwerk Arnsberg (AHA!) With the aim of providing suggestions for innovative developments and discussing trades across the board.

Vocational education

Construction of the vocational training center in 2007

The South Westphalia Chamber of Crafts is of considerable importance for vocational training. It operates a large vocational training center in Arnsberg, which offers inter-company training as part of initial vocational training, qualification as a master craftsman in 14 professions, as well as professional training courses. The school in Arnsberg is of national importance as a central training center (competence center), particularly in the field of automotive engineering. In addition, since 2011 it has been possible to complete the dual course "Industrial Engineering - Building System Technology" at the South Westphalia Chamber of Crafts and since 2012 the dual course "Industrial Engineering - Mechanical Engineering" on a part-time basis. Graduates obtain the title of Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.), Which is awarded by the South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences.


Since 1924 the former villa of the important Arnsberg entrepreneur Josef Cosack has been the seat of the Chamber of Crafts. In 1845 the spacious building in the classical style was completed. In addition to the regional court, the villa was one of the first buildings in the new district of Arnsberg on the other side of the Ruhr. The construction was not without controversy at first. In particular, the neighbor Johann Friedrich Joseph Sommer complained about the unpleasant smell of the vinegar factory Cosacks, which is also located there. In the years 1870, 1905, 1935, 1953 and in the 1980s, major additions and alterations were made, which little changed the original character of the building.


  • facts. Annual report of the South Westphalia Chamber of Crafts. 2009, ZDB ID 2439021-5 .
  • facts. Annual report of the South Westphalia Chamber of Crafts. 2018


  • Uwe Haltaufderheide: The architectural monuments of the city of Arnsberg. Collection period 1980–1990. City of Arnsberg, Arnsberg 1990, ISBN 3-928394-01-0 , p. 56.
  • Gerhard Lohage: Mission and Realization - 100 Years of the Arnsberg Chamber of Crafts. (Chronicle for the 100th anniversary of the Arnsberg Chamber of Crafts). Chamber of Crafts, Arnsberg 2000.
  • Antonius Kentrup: History of the Arnsberg Chamber of Crafts. In: Heimatblätter des Arnsberger Heimatbund 32/2011 pp. 19–29

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