"FIRST HURDLE HAS BEEN OVERCOME"
With the official inclusion of the Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt on UNESCO's Tentative List in June 2014, its World Heritage status is within reach. "The Mathildenhöhe was a milestone in the development of the arts and architecture towards the modernity of the 20th century; it is also considered an outstanding example of an architecturally uniform building ensemble", the resolution of the Kultusministerkonferenz states.
To become a World Heritage site, certain criteria set by UNESCO must be fulfilled. The potential World Heritage must have an outstanding universal value (OUV). It must also fill a gap in the list of sites already inscribed as World Heritage. An international advisory board has come to the conclusion that the artists' colony on Mathildenhöhe fully meets these criteria.
“If Darmstadt’s Mathildenhöhe is to become World Heritage, then the city of Darmstadt needs to support this plan. The urban society must be prepared to carefully plan and share the preservation and care of the cultural heritage and its structures as well as its sustainable development together. Darmstadt, ‘the city of science’, is taking up this challenge”, says Lord Mayor Jochen Partsch. “We are prepared to accept a long-term voluntary commitment to the preservation of the Mathildenhöhe and to become financially and civically involved.”
For Darmstadt, the Mathildenhöhe is much more than a hill of muses with an artistic history of international fame. The Mathildenhöhe is also the symbol for the identity of Darmstadt as a city of science. The Wedding Tower is even part of the city's logo. The Mathildenhöhe is called the crown of our city, in whose development the history of Darmstadt is also reflected.
In 2014, an extensive exhibition on Darmstadt's application for World Heritage status was held on the eastern slope of the Mathildenhöhe. This exhibition entitled "Welterbe werden!” (Becoming a World Heritage Site!) is shown every now and then to provide information about the history of the artists' colony and to make the application process transparent.
In the exhibition catalogue you can find out more about the Mathildenhöhe and the artists who shaped this place as well as about the application to become World Heritage.
What ARE the next steps on the way to becoming a World Heritage Site?
In January 2019, Darmstadt, the “city of science”, in cooperation with the Hessian State Office for Monuments and Sites and via the Foreign Office in Berlin, submitted the official application of the area of nomination for inclusion in the World Heritage List to UNESCO in Paris. In summer 2019, a delegation examined the application on site. The World Heritage Committee is expected to decide on the nomination at the end of 2020.
The relevant documents include a nomination dossier describing today’s Mathildenhöhe with all its special features and components worthy of protection. The history and development of the site as well as the authenticity and integrity of the entire ensemble play an important role. The outstanding universal value has been described in detail with regard to criteria set by UNESCO and has been compared internationally. The area of nomination has been re-mapped, and its boundaries have been defined. All buildings, outdoor areas and sculptures in this area are
Furthermore, in addition to a comprehensive photo documentation, a management plan has been developed which describes exactly which sustainable measures Darmstadt, the “city of science”, is planning in the long term to protect the appearance of the Mathildenhöhe and to preserve it responsibly as cultural heritage for future generations. It examines all topics that have or could have an impact on the ensemble in the future. These include, for example, a park maintenance plan that describes how to deal with the plane tree grove and the green areas on Mathildenhöhe, as well as a master plan for the structural development that integrates a new visitor centre on the east side. A tourism concept deals with aspects of communication and a mobility concept looks at the traffic development of the area.
The nomination dossier and the management plan are supplemented by a collection of essays containing all important documents, expert opinions and studies relevant to the application.
You are welcome to download further information (in German):