There is one very special distinction that is awarded in the life of a miner: the traditional "Ledersprung", which signifies official acceptance into the miners' ranks. This initiation ceremony has its origins in the medieval guilds and is said to have spread from the Schemnitz Mining Academy (the present-day Banská Štiavnica) throughout the German-speaking world following the revolution of 1848/49. Today, the tradition continues to attract great attention within the mining community.
One essential part of it is the aforementioned "Ledersprung": all candidates must first answer four questions, then down a glass of beer and finish off by jumping from the beer keg over the "Arschleder", or breech leather. This used to form part of the miners' everyday work clothing and served to protect the seats of their trousers from wear and the miners themselves from the cold, wet ground. Today, it has become part of the traditional costume and a symbol of honour among miners.
This tradition plays an important role at PORR as well. Karl-Heinz Strauss, CEO of the PORR Group, passed the initiation ceremony with flying colours.