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Decision : 34 COM 8B.34
Cultural Properties - Røros Mining Town and the Circumference (Norway)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-10/34.COM/8B and WHC-10/34.COM/INF.8B1,

2. Approves the extension of Røros Mining Town to include the Circumference and to become Røros Mining Town and the Circumference, Norway, on the basis of criteria (iii), (iv), and (v);

3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value: 

Brief synthesis

Røros Mining Town and the Circumference consist of three sites within the Circumference, i.e. the area of privileges awarded by the Danish-Norwegian King to Røros Copper Works in 1646.

The town and the cultural landscapes cover a large continuous area which includes the landscape surrounding the mining town, the urban agricultural areas, and the most important mining landscapes where agricultural practices and copper work operations were carried out.

Femundshytta is a largely relict landscape which includes the industrial cultural landscape with the remains of a smelter, water management systems, and the community that grew up around them. The Winter Transport Route is made up of a sequence of lakes, rivers, and creeks in an almost untouched landscape. It was used from November to May.

Røros Mining Town, established in 1646, is unique. It is built entirely of wood, and interlinked with a cultural landscape that shows in an outstanding and almost complete manner how mining operations, transportation, and the way of life had to be adapted to the requirements of the natural environment - the mountain plains, the cold climate, the remote location without roads and with marginal growth conditions for forests and agriculture. On this basis a unique culture developed that has partly disappeared, but an outstanding testimony of the existence of which has been preserved.

Criterion (iii): From the time copper ore was found in the mountains at Røros in 1644 until the copper works went bankrupt in 1977, with German mining technology as a starting point, employing German, Danish, Swedish immigrants, and Norwegian nationals,, a unique culture developed to extract the valuable copper in a remote and sparsely inhabited area. Today there is no mining in the area, but Røros Mining Town and the traces of mining, smelters, transport, and water management systems bear unique witness to the adaptation of technology to the requirements of the natural environment and the remoteness of the situation.

Criterion (iv): Røros townscape and its related industrial and rural landscapes, with their interlinked industrial activity and domestic and agricultural accommodation within an urban environment, illustrate in an outstanding manner how people adapted to the extreme circumstances in which they had to live and how they used the available indigenous resources to provide shelter, produce food for their sustenance, and contribute to the national wealth of the country. Technologically, their buildings and installations evolved through the use of available indigenous materials to functionally satisfy the combined approach of mining and agrarian practices whilst at the same time accommodating the consequences of dealing with extreme climatic conditions.

Criterion (v): Røros Mining Town and the Circumference constitute a totality that is an outstanding example of traditional settlement and land-use. The various activities that have been carried out in the area constitute a coherent and interdependent unit. These activities have shaped a cultural landscape that provides a unique picture of how the mines and the mining town functioned as a complex and at times vulnerable system that verged on the limits of what was possible in an inhospitable environment with a harsh climate.

Integrity and authenticity

The nominated property contains all elements that convey the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and its most relevant features present a high or good level of integrity. The mining landscape is relict in nature, but almost no transformations or encroachment occurred after the closure of the copper works.

The authenticity of the property is expressed in almost all its aspects and features. All the remains bear credible witness to the history and development of the site. This is also reinforced by the rich archive documenting the copper company's history.

Protection and management requirements

The most important legislative instruments that help to protect and manage Røros Mining Town and the Circumference are the Cultural Heritage Act (1978) and the Planning and Building Act (1985).

The management framework for Røros Mining Town and the Circumference is embodied in a Statement of Intent which has been signed by all responsible bodies for the nominated property.

The basis for management relies on the existing Norwegian legal framework, the planning instruments in force, the administrative and private bodies responsible for the property and sources of funding for heritage conservation, agricultural activities in heritage areas, productive and marketing activities based on cultural and natural heritage, and sustainable tourism. The management framework contains an action programme including short- and long-term actions.

4. Recommends that the State Party:

a) Provide the World Heritage Centre with updated information about any progress made in the process under way for strengthening the legal protection of Femundshytta;

b) Respect the proposed timetable for the development of the regional plan for Hedmark and Sør-Trøndelag counties and for the management plan for the proposed extension and its buffer zone, and provide the World Heritage Centre with updated information on any progress made in this direction;

c) Continue to implement the measures undertaken to maintain and preserve the industrial and the historic agricultural landscape, especially those areas that are closest to the town and therefore more subject to development pressure, and to guarantee control over building permits in order to retain the character and the historic features reflecting the role of farming activity in sustaining the way of life of mine workers;

d) Monitor the development of the tourism industry within the boundaries of the nominated property;

e) Extend the assessment of the natural disaster threats to the entire proposed extension;

f) Collect and provide further information on the nature and consequences of pollution in the mining sites and on future measures that may be undertaken to reduce pollution;

g) Ensure the protection of a wider area surrounding the Winter Transport Route for purpose of research and possible future extension of the Route path;

h) Develop measures to ensure prevention and prompt reaction in case of fire in uninhabited areas;

i) Keep the World Heritage Committee informed about the enlargement of the airport, should these plans be put into effect, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

Themes: Inscriptions on the World Heritage List
States Parties: Norway
Year: 2010
Decision Code: 34 COM 8B.34