State of Conservation (SOC)
Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee
The Committee at its twentieth session (Merida, 1996) examined in detail the state of conservation of the cultural landscape of Potsdam and urban development projects in its surroundings. The Committee requested the State Party to provide a full state of conservation report by 15 April 1997 for examination by the Bureau at its twenty-first session, and decided that if, at the time of the twenty-first session of the Committee the threats to the World Heritage site as mentioned in the report of its session persist, the Committee will consider the inscription of the World Heritage site of Potsdam on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The Minister for Science, Research and Culture of Land Brandenburg has provided a 'Second Report on the state of conservation of the World Heritage Site Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin'. This report will be made available to the Bureau as an information document. The report deals with the following:
In response to the World Heritage Committee's concerns and recommendations the German authorities will present a proposal to the World Heritage Centre for the extension of the World Heritage site "Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin" by the middle of 1997.
Furthermore, the Ministry in Brandenburg has initiated a comprehensive 'Urban Devleopment Master Plan for the Development of the Potsdam Cultural Landscape' (Leitplanung zur Entwicklung der Potsdamer Kulturlandschaft im Rahmen der Stadtentwicklung). This plan aims at a better coordination of all development projects for the area surrounding the World Heritage site and a harmonious town planning and management. The first phase of this plan will be determined in the second half of 1997 and completed and put into operation in 1998.
In response to the Committee's recommendation, development guidelines for the Quartier am Bahnhof/Alter Markt/Lustgarten have been drawn up which are to serve as the basis for three competitions. The competition for the Quartier am Bahnhof (Railway Station area inlcuding the site of the Hotel Project) was launched and the jury for this competition will meet on 30 September 1997.Parallel to this, a competition is under way for the Alte Markt/Lustgarten; the jury will meet on 29 August 1997. A third competition will be held for the Alter Markt.
As regards the "German Unity Transport Project No.17" an analysis of the impact is being prepared. However, there will be no dredging work along the river sides of the Babelsberg, Neuen Garten, castle parks of Glienicke and Sacrow. The Glienicke Bridge will not be changed. There will be no negative impact on the World Heritage Site.
With regards to several other individual construction projects in the vicinity of the World Heritage site, 'the aim of the city and the Land is to retain the historic structure of the area and to allow new building and resulting greater density only in so far as it is not harmful to the World Heritage Site's appearance'. The proposed master plan mentioned above will contribute to the development of more reliable criteria and reaching agreements at an early stage in the planning process. Several projects have been reviewed already in the light of their impact on the World Heritage site.
The Bureau may wish to examine the report submitted by the German authorities and review whether threats identified by the World Heritage Committee still persist and whether additional measures have to be taken.
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
International Assistance granted to the property
Requests Approved: 0
Total Amount Ap proved: 0USD
1993: World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS joint mission
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Urban pressure
- Current traffic planning
- Need to review the legal protection of the site
Current conservation issues
The Bureau at its twenty-first session requested the German authorities to provide a detailed report on Potsdam by 15 October 1997. At the time of the preparation of the document no report had been received.
Analysis and Conclusion
The Bureau is requested to examine the expected report on Potsdam and to take the appropriate decision thereupon.
Link to the decision
The Bureau commended the Minister for Science, Research and Culture of the Land Brandenburg for the detailed report on the state of conservation of the site and the actions that have been taken to preserve the Potsdam cultural landscape.
The Bureau particularly welcomed the openness of the German authorities for dialogue and their commitment to seek compromise solutions. In particular, the Bureau took note of the commitments of the German authorities to:
- proceed with the extension of the World Heritage site as recommended by the World Heritage Committee at its twentieth session;
- initiate the preparation of a comprehensive 'Urban Development Master Plan for the Development of the Potsdam Cultural Landscape';
- launch three architectural/urban competitions for the Quartier am Bahnhof, Alter Markt/Lustgarten and the Alter Markt/Palais Barberini.
- cancel previous plans for the hotel in the Quartier am Bahnhof building area number 2, so as to include this area in the architectural/urban competition;
- not to implement the results of the earlier competition for building areas 9-12 for any construction above the zero ground level until the competition for the entire Quartier am Bahnhof will be completed and thus to allow for the competitors to develop their proposals for the entire site and for the German authorities to review the plans for building areas 9-12 in the light of their compatibility with the results of the competition and the feasibility of the project.
Furthermore, the Bureau noted with satisfaction that the 'German Unity Transport Project No 17' will not have any negative impact on the World Heritage site and that no dredging along the river sides of the castle park of Babelsberg, Neuen Garten and castle parks of Glienicke and Sacrow will be undertaken and that the Glienicke Bridge will not be changed.
Having examined in detail the report provided by the Minister for Science, Research and Culture of Land Brandenburg, the Bureau requested the German authorities to provide by 15 October 1997 a report for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its twenty-first session which should address in particular:
- the progress made in the preparation of the proposal for the extension of the World Heritage site;
- the progress made in the preparation of a comprehensive 'Urban Development Master Plan for the Development of the Potsdam Cultural Landscape';
- the results of the architectural/urban competitions for the Quartier am Bahnhof, Alter Markt/Lustgarten and the Alter Markt/Palais Barberini;
- an assessment of the impact of individual building projects, as mentioned in the report submitted by the German authorities as well as other projects, on the values of the Potsdam cultural landscape;
- the results of the impact assessment of the 'German Unity Transport Project No 17'.
The Bureau recommended that, on the basis of this new report, the Committee during its twenty-first session, examines if the threats to the World Heritage site still persist and if it still considers it necessary to inscribe the World Heritage site of Potsdam on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Link to the decision
VII.47 Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin (Germany)
The Committee examined in detail the third report on the state of conservation of Potsdam submitted by the Minister for Science, Research and Culture of the Land Brandenburg.
The Committee also listened to the observations made by the UNESCO expert who undertook various missions to Potsdam for extensive discussions with German authorities on the Federal, Land and local levels. The expert informed the Committee that when he started the discussions, the planning for the so-called 'Postdam Center' was already concluded. The expert considered the concept agreed upon by the City of Potsdam, responsible authorities and investors to be contradictory to the main features of the Potsdam cultural landscape. After extensive discussions, the German authorities accepted to tender an international competition for the area (with the exception of the building areas 9-12 where construction was halted at ground zero level) to elaborate a new and more adequate concept. The winning project respects in a better way the characteristics of the Potsdam topography and history. The expert analysed the effectiveness of different means of protecting a vast zone, e.g. through monument protection or through a planning mechanism such as a master plan. He concluded that a master plan for the City of Potsdam including the protected areas, would be the most effective and should be elaborated in a constructive dialogue between the German authorities and the World Heritage Committee. The expert stressed the effectiveness of the involvement of the World Heritage Committee and the Centre in planning processes such as for Potsdam, particularly if they would be involved in the early planning phases as stated in the Operational Guidelines.
The Committee made the following observations on the various issues addressed in the reports.
1. Extension of the World Heritage site
The Committee noted with satisfaction that the German authorities would proceed with the application for the extension of the site and that, as informed by the Observer of Germany, this would be submitted at the beginning of next year. The Committee regretted, however, that, contrary to the original proposal (as submitted in the first report on Potsdam to the Committee at its twentieth session) this extension would include only a small part of the « Städtchen » between the Pfingstberg and the New Garden in the World Heritage site. The Committee urged the authorities to reconsider this matter. The Committee welcomed the inclusion of the village of Bornstedt as an integral part of the World Heritage site, but was concerned that the rural character might further be affected pending the extension and the adoption of a master plan. The Committee strongly recommended that measures be taken to avoid further negative developments.
2. Elaboration of a master plan for the Potsdam cultural landscape
The Committee commended the commitment of the city of Potsdam to elaborate a master plan for the Potsdam cultural landscape and expressed the hope that it will provide an adequate mechanism and provisions for the protection of the World Heritage site and the Potsdam cultural landscape. It understood that a certain time will be required for the preparation of a master plan if it is to reflect a proper urban vision. In the meantime, the Committee requested that a first phase of such a plan be submitted to the Bureau at its twenty-second session. The Committee invited the authorities not to take any irreversible measures which could have a damaging impact on the Potsdam cultural landscape until the entry in force of the master plan.
3. Results of the urban development competition «Grüne Mitte-Alter Markt/Lustgarten»
The Committee welcomed the competition and its outcome. However, it considered that further steps be taken to rebuild the historic centre and to define its role. The Committee encouraged the City of Potsdam to continue this process.
4. Results of the urban development competition for the « Quartier am Bahnhof »
The Committee commended the German authorities and investors for having reversed the decisions concerning the so-called « Potsdam-Center », which would have had a severe impact on the Potsdam World Heritage site. The Committee considered the winning design of the urban competition for this area, which is now called « Quartier am Bahnhof », to be an acceptable compromise that will allow for the project to be better integrated into the cultural landscape of Potsdam. It expected that the plans for the building areas 9-12 will be reviewed in the light of their compatibility with the results of the competition.
5. Other building projects
The Committee reiterated its concern that other building projects pose potential threats to the Potsdam urban and cultural landscape, especially new buildings in Babelsberg (« Potsdam Fenster »), Gewoba-Buildings (Alt-Nowawes), and housing and business buildings at the Ribbeckstrasse, Bornstedt.
According to the recommendation of the Bureau made at its twenty-first session, the Committee examined if the threats to the World Heritage site still persist. The Committee concluded that although considerable improvements have been made, threats were still persisting. Therefore, the Committee decided to defer the discussion whether or not Potsdam should be inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger until its next session. The Committee requested the German authorities to submit a new report on the above issues by 15 September 1998 for examination by the Committee at its twenty-second session.
Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin
- Effects arising from use of transportation infrastructure
- Legal framework
- Management systems/ management plan
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).