VII. 50 Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin (Germany)
It was recalled that the Committee during its nineteenth session invited the German authorities to provide a full state of conservation report on the site, including statements concerning legal protection, current planning and development of Potsdam, as well as information on possible extensions of the site and/or buffer zones adjacent to the site.
Furthermore, during its twentieth session in June 1996, the Bureau expressed its serious concern about urban development plans in Potsdam, particularly the "Potsdam Centre" project, that could directly or indirectly affect the values of the World Heritage site.
The Secretariat informed the Committee that on 22 November 1996, a substantive report was received fr9m the Minister for Science, Research and Cultural Affairs of Land Brandenburg, on the state of conservation of the World Heritage site of the Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin. The report was made available to the Committee members as Information Document WHC-96/CONF.201/INF.23.
The Representative of ICOMOS informed the Committee that an ICOMOS mission was undertaken from 4 to 8 November1996 and expressed its concern about the state of conservation of this World Heritage site and offered its continuous support.
Having examined the state of conservation report on the World Heritage Site "The Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin" the Committee commended the German authorities and the "Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg" for their conservation and reconstruction efforts, notably with regard to the very specific situation of the World Heritage site in the years following the reunification of Germany.
The Committee noted with satisfaction that with the adoption of the "Statute for Protection of the Operative Area of the Monument of Berlin-Potsdam Cultural Landscape, in accordance with its inscription on the World Heritage List on 1 January 1991, Potsdam Area", steps for a comprehensive legal protection of the World Heritage Site and its immediate surroundings had been taken.
Nevertheless, the Committee welcomed the fact that the State Party had taken up the Committee's previous proposal for an extension of the World Heritage site, which is to include the following:
- Pfingstberg, Alexandrovka Colony, the «Städtchen» between the Pfingstberg and the New Garden, Lindstedt Palace and Park, all of which were not part of the original application to the Committee for political and/or administrative reasons;
- Wooden areas ("Jagen"), mainly in the Sacrow region, which were not fully included in the initial inscription due to legal uncertainties;
- Areas historically and geographically linked to the World Heritage site, which include in particular parts of the entrance to Sanssouci Park (for example the avenue leading to Sanssouci and the adjacent buildings), the extension to the main axis of the Park (i.e. the Lindenallee with an appropriate strip of land on both sides), the unused field north of the Orangery in the Sanssouci Park up to the Teufelsgraben, remnants of the old village of Bornstedt royal domain as well as the Voltaireweg and its extension, the historical link between Sanssouci and the New Garden.
The Committee encouraged the state Party to make a concrete application to that end in accordance with the Convention and the Operational Guidelines in the near future.
The Committee expressed its concern that, although different planning concepts on various levels exist, an overarching master plan for the development of the City of Potsdam which would reflect an overall approach towards the values of the Potsdam Cui tural Landscape was still missing. Furthermore, coordination between the different planning concepts on the one hand and between the builders, authorities and experts on the other should be considerably strengthened in order to avoid that developments like the construction proj ect on the «Glienicker Horn» which already led to serious damage to the Potsdam urban and cultural landscape, will not be repeated in the future. According to information available to the Committee, other critical uncoordinated projects pose potential threats to the Potsdam urban and cultural landscape, including:
- the new theatre at the Zimmerstrasse;
- "city villas" at the Katharinenholzstrasse;
- the so-called «Lennéstadt»/Bornstedter Feld;
- new buildings at the Heiliger See;
- new buildings at Babelsberg: «Potsdam Fenster», Gewoba-building and film studio Alt-Nowawes;
- housing and business buildings at the Ribbeckstrasse, Bornstedt.
The Committee took note of the information provided by the State Party on the so-called "Potsdam Centre" and on the "German Unity Transport Project No.17".
As regards the «Potsdam Centre» the Committee asked the State Party to ensure that the special competition, which will be organized for a large part of the planned overall project, with the participation of independent experts, will lead to a harmonious integration of the project into the Historic City of Potsdam and the cultural landscape. The Committee welcomed that the «Alter Markt» will be included in that competition. In addition, as regards the parts of the project which will apparently not be subject to such competitions (The Hotel Project and the Railway Station), the Committee urged the German authorities to undertake every effort to ensure that the planning of those buildings be substantially changed.
As regards the "German Unity Transport Project No.17" the Committee specifically took note of the understanding between the German authorities and the Foundation that the World Heritage site must not be adversely affected by that Project. The Committee was of the opinion that no alteration should be made to the Glienicker Bridge, that only one shipping lane should be foreseen from the Glienicker Lake towards the Teltow Channel and that no dredging work should be carried out within Babelsberg Park.
The Committee appealed to the German authorities to ensure that the World Heritage site, which constitutes an integral part of the City of Potsdam and the Potsdam Cultural Landscape, will not be affected by these specific projects mentioned in the state of conservation report.
The Committee concluded that:
- its concerns were not diminished by the state of conservation report, submitted by the Land Brandenburg;
- in its opinion, the report demonstrated that the World Heritage site continues to be seriously threatened by various urban development projects;
- the Potsdam World Heritage site is in danger. Therefore, it would have liked to inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger. However, the German authorities have urged the Committee not to do so. The Committee was convinced by the explanations given by the German Delegation that high ranking German authorities are and will be undertaking all efforts to reduce the threats mainly deriving from the planned "Potsdam Centre" and the "German Unity Transport Project No. 17".
The Committee asked the state Party to provide a full state of conservation report by 15 April 1997 in time for the twenty-first session of the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee. If, at the time of the twenty-first session of the World Heritage Committee the threats to the World Heritage site as mentioned above still persist, the Committee will consider the inscription of the World Heritage Site of Potsdam on the List of World Heritage in Danger.