Peter Ambatiello/Lorenz Lenz:
175 Years of Bavarian-Austrian Saltworks Convention
Versions of 18 March 1829 and 25 March 1957
Salt, often described as "white gold", has always been of fundamental importance to mankind. Even in prehistory it played a prominent role. It is irrelevant whether salt is initially available in liquid form as brine or in solid form as rock salt. This inconspicuous "white mineral" is, now as then, an indispensable part of human and animal life. Reichenhall, Salzburg, Berchtesgaden and Hallein have always been linked culturally, economically and politically as a region. Salt-related interests were the common bond at all times. They shaped the region to a great extent, making it rich, powerful and influential. This was not altered by the many disputes over mining rights, marketing or energy supplies for the saltworks.
The saltworks convention signed between Bavaria and Austria, extending over 175 years, reflects the long tradition of salt mining on both sides of the divisive national border. The convention of 1829, created in the wake of many incomplete and imprecise accords and arrangements reached over centuries, served to combine all the previous provisions in a very precise form under international law. In 1957, it was adapted in line with the new conditions. The convention provided those responsible in administration and business on each side of the border, both then and today, with a means of settling amicably, fairly and competently any administrative, technical or legal problems arising.