Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Minister for Foreign Affairs, presented Olaf Scholz, Mayor of Hamburg Monday (June 27th) with the official deed for the first world heritage listing in Hamburg. On July 5, 2015, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee added Hamburg’s Speicherstadt and the Kontorhaus District with the Chilehaus to its list.
Symbol of social identity
Steinmeier said: “I congratulate Hamburg and Olaf Scholz on receiving the world heritage title. The Speicherstadt and the Kontorhaus District document uniquely Hamburg’s rise to become one of the biggest and most important seaports worldwide”, adding, “At the same time, they symbolise cultural and social identity. World heritage gives people support and a sense of direction. The same applies to Hamburg’s world heritage sites – and that is especially true of endangered world heritage sites like Palmyra in Syria. That’s why foreign, cultural policy is committed to the global protection of cultural heritage.”
Important phases in the history of mankind
During the 39th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee last July in Bonn, Hamburg’s request to have the Speicherstadt and the Kontorhaus District with the Chilehaus added to the UNESCO list was approved, thereby recognising the unusual and universal value of those sites. The committee justified the inclusion of Speicherstadt and the Kontorhaus District as “outstanding examples” of buildings and ensembles “that symbolize one or several important phases in the history of mankind”.
Raises perception of city
Scholz said: “This world heritage title is a great honour for Hamburg and we are well aware of our responsibility for retaining this unusual cultural heritage. The implications of this high distinction abroad have far surpassed our expectations. Hamburg’s long tradition as a port city and distinction as world heritage is already receiving greater attention.”
Impetus for tourism
Commenting on the importance of the title for tourism, Michael Otremba, Managing Director of Hamburg Tourismus GmbH, noted the diverse incentives for tourism in the space of a year. He added: “The UNESCO title and the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg are the main cultural topics for marketing Hamburg abroad and play a significant role in making Hamburg better known and for adding an emotional element to Hamburg’s world image.”
Hamburg lies at heart of the UNESCO exploration tour of north Germany – an exciting route spans through north German, coastal states – from Bremen to the city on the Elbe, Lübeck, Wismar and Stralsund. Otremba added: “The maritime, historic aspects of these old cities help the region to raise especially the number of foreign guests.
Other potential UNESCO candidates in Hamburg
The Jewish Cemetery in Altona has already been added to UNESCO’s Tentative List of German sites for nomination in 2017. And the application is being processed. The Hamburg Observatory in Bergedorf will again be registered for inclusion in the next, updated Tentative List